Jon Meade Huntsman, Jr. was born on March 26, 1960 in Palo Alto, California to Karen and Jon Huntsman, Sr., the philanthropist and billionaire businessman who founded the Huntsman Corporation. He grew up in Utah, and is a seventh-generation Utahan. He is one of nine children.
His grandfather was David B. Haight, an apostle with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS), and his great-great grandfather was Parley P. Pratt, the early LDS Church leader. He is also a third cousin, once-removed of Mitt Romney.
John Huntsman, Jr. is married to Mary Kaye and they have seven children- 5 are biological children, and 2 are adopted. They currently live in Washington, D.C.
Mr. Huntsman is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Served as a missionary in Taiwan after graduating from college
Dropped out of high school
Later received his GED
Attended University of Utah
Graduated from University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor’s degree in International Politics
Has been awarded six honorary doctorate degrees
Fluent in Standard Mandarin Chinese
Fluent in Taiwanese Hokkien (Minnan)
Avid Keyboardist- has played with the bands Dream Theater and REO Speedwagon (not as a career)
Musician- After dropping out of high school he was the keyboardist for the rock band Wizard
Executive for Huntsman Corporation
Executive for the Huntsman Cancer Foundation
CEO of Huntsman Family Holding Company
The Coalition for Utah’s Future
KSL-TV’s Family Now campaign
Reagan Administration- White House staff assistant
George H.W. Bush Administration- Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce
George H.W. Bush Administration- United States Ambassador to Singapore
George H.W. Bush Administration- Deputy United States Trade Representative
2005 to 2009- Governor of Utah- after serving his his first term he ran for re-election where he won with 77.7% of the votes
2009- Appointed by President Barack Obama as United States Ambassador to China
Resigned his appointment as Ambassador to China, effective April 30, 2011
A potential candidate for President in 2012- the speculation for his potential run for office was fueled when he resigned his appointment as Ambassador to China
The youngest United States Ambassador to serve in over 100 years
Had a very high approval rating while in office as Governor of Utah. He was known to hit 90% approval ratings more than once. When he left office his approval rating was more than 80%.
Utah was named the best managed state by the Pew Center of States under Governor Huntsman.
2008- Delivered a nominating speech for Sarah Palin as the Vice Presidential candidate at the Republican National Convention
Board Member- Asia Society in New York
Member- Brookings Institute Asia Policy Board
Board Member- Center for Strategic and International Studies Pacific Forum
Board Member- National Bureau of Asian Research
Founding Director- Pacific Council on International Policy
Former Branch Director- San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank Board
Member, Board of Trustees- University of Pennsylvania
Advisory Board Member- University of Utah School of Business
Former Vice Chair- Coalition for Utah’s Future
Former Chair- Envision Utah
Former Board Member- Juvenile Diabetes Foundation
Former Chair- KSL’s Family Now Campaign
Former Chair- Utah Opera
Former Chair/Vice Chair- Western Governors Association
Former Executive Committee Member- National Governors Association
Former Member- Natural Resources Committee- National Governors Association
Former Member- International Advisory Council, Singapore Economic Development Board
Statistician Nate Silver says,
“ Huntsman faces some significant hurdles – his name recognition is not terribly high outside Washington and his home state, and if he cannot begin to concentrate on his campaign until May, he may not be able to put together a strong campaign team or raise enough money. Also, his having served in Barack Obama’s administration could make his positioning awkward on a number of levels.”
Mr. Silver’s stated first hurdle for Mr. Huntsman is one of the main categories, I believe. I, myself, fall into that group.
When I first heard that “Jon Huntsman was considering a run for the Presidency” I initially got very excited. I wondered about a couple of things- namely, his age. It was my impression that it was the senior Mr. Jon Huntsman that was considering putting his hat into the ring for President. I admire Jon Huntsman, Sr. becoming the self-made man that he is.
It wasn’t until later that I realize it was his son. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until I began preparing for this article that I found out anything more about him. He is definitely not what I would call one of the “front runners” in this potential race he is supposedly considering.
Though he had a considerably high approval rating as governor of Utah, he does not seem to have the “oomph” that is required to be President of the United States. The “oomph” right now would be name recognition above anything else.
There are still other candidates that do not yet have as much name recognition as others, but to be one of the top rumored possibilities as a candidate and not be a household name could definitely be a hurdle.
On The Issues
A combination of Conservative/Centrist/Liberal on social issues
Civil Rights- Supports gay civil unions
Education- Supports School Choice and believes competition is healthy in school
Energy- Supports alternative sources for energy and efficiency
Environment- As Governor of Utah, he signed up with the Western Regional Climate Action Initiative, “which is nothing more than a regional cap-and-trade system”
Free Trade- Supports free trade
Israel- Strong supporter of Israel
Tax Reform- Supports reforming the tax system to be more business friendly
As a colleague of mine stated in a previous article on Jon Huntsman, Jr., Mr. Huntsman seems to have “forgotten conservatism.” There are a few issues that stand out positively for Mr. Huntsman, but overall I would personally classify him as a RINO.
According to a May 31 Washington Post article, Mr. Huntsman kicked of a fund-raising trip last week in California. I find it quite intriguing that Mr. Huntsman chose California, of all places, to start his fundraising. California is the polar opposite of the definition of conservatism and the exact definition of liberalism. I know that there are many conservatives in California. But if Mr. Huntsman is serious about being a true Conservative candidate, he does not have a lot going for him.
For all my excitement of thinking that it was Jon Huntsman, Sr. that was possibly running for office, there is just as equally the same amount of dread at the possibility of his son running. Mr. Huntsman appears to be lacking quite a lot that his father embodies- all of which are factors I am searching for as my President.
He Thinks Obama Is A “Remarkable Leader”
In an article by Holly Bailey, it appears as though Mr. Huntsman has absolutely no problem at all with our current leadership. In fact, he is so pleased with the way things are going that he sent a note to President Obama in August of 2009. An excerpt from that note says:
“You are a remarkable leader. It has been a great honor getting to know you.”
As you can see, I underlined the word “remarkable”. That is because Mr. Huntsman also underlined the word “remarkable” for emphasis. So it does not seem as though it was an obligatory act of kindness, but rather a heartfelt, genuine note of appreciation.
If nothing else set my radar off on Mr. Huntsman ability to be President of the United States this one thing alone would!
And my next question is… if he thinks Mr. Obama is doing such a “remarkable” job, why is he running against him?
On The Web
Jon Huntsman, Jr. Official Campaign Website
Jon Huntsman, Jr. on Facebook
In The News
June 21, 2011: Jon Huntsman, Jr. made his official announcement that he was running for President.