Ernest James Istook
Ernest James Istook Jr. was a U.S. representative for the state of Oklahoma and held his congressional seat from January 3, 1993 to January 3, 2007.
Istook was born on February 11, 1950, in Fort Worth, Texas. He earned his bachelor's degree from Baylor University and his juris doctor degree from Oklahoma City University. While attending law school, he worked as a radio news reporter and after receiving his degree, he practiced law for fifteen years. He was director of the Oklahoma State Alcoholic and Beverage Control Board from 1977 to 1978, legal counsel to Oklahoma governor David L. Boren in 1978, member of the Oklahoma County metropolitan library system from 1982 to 1986, and chairman of the Warr Acres city council from 1982 to 1986. He was also director of the Warr Acres Chamber of Commerce. In 2006, he ran for governor of the state of Oklahoma.
After his service in the House of Representatives, Istook became a Distinguished Fellow at The Heritage Foundation and host of the conservative think tank's radio show, "Istook Live". He also contributed opinion columns to such news outlets as The Washington Times, The Daily Caller, Human Events, The Huffington Post, and Newsmax. He hosts a talk radio show and has daily radio commentaries broadcast on the Bott Radio Network stations. He has appeared frequently on national radio programs as a guest host and has filled-in for talk radio hosts such as Mark Levin and Jerry Doyle. Istook has also been a guest analyst on national television including appearances on most major news programs.
He was principal author of Constitutional amendments to protect religious freedom and to balance the federal budget. His proposal to end court encroachments against religious freedom received approval from a majority in the House of Representatives but not the required two-thirds margin. Istook authored the Children's Internet Protection Act, requiring federally-funded computers to block minors' access to pornography. The U.S. Supreme Court approved the constitutionality of the measure in a landmark 6-3 ruling.
Istook also became a Fellow for the Institute of Politics at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government in early 2010, during which he taught a study group on Propaganda in American Politics. In 2014, he joined the Board of Advisors of the National Federation of Republican Assemblies. He was a member of the Council for National Policy.
He now teaches history and political science classes at Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah. He and his wife, Judy, have five children. He grew up as a Southern Baptist but converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.