Jon Huntsman, Jr.

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Mormon Jon Hunstman Jr
Jon Hunstman Jr.

Jon Meade Huntsman Jr. (born March 26, 1960, in Redwood City, California) is an American diplomat, politician, and businessman. He was the governor of the State of Utah, having won the office in the 2004 election, with Gary R. Herbert as his lieutenant governor. He was elected with 57 percent of the vote over Democrat Scott Matheson Jr.. His term as the 16th governor of Utah began on January 3, 2005. It ended during the summer of 2009, when he was chosen by U.S. president Barack Obama to be the U.S. ambassador to China and served until 2011. [1][2] Huntsman's nomination was approved by the Senate unanimously with no debate. In September 2017 he was unanimously confirmed by the Senate as U.S. ambassador to Russia. He resigned in 2019. He is the only American ambassador to have served in both China and Russia. He also served as U.S. ambassador Singapore.

He resigned his position as ambassador to China in order to return to the United States and prepare for a bid for the White House. He formally entered the race in June 2011 and was a candidate for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. He ended his campaign in January 2012 and endorsed candidate Mitt Romney. Since that time, he has been appointed to serve on the board of the Ford Motor Company, the Caterpillar Corporation, the Chevron Corporation, the Huntsman Corporation, the U.S. Naval Academy Foundation, and the University of Pennsylvania. He has also served as a distinguished fellow at the Brookings Institute, a trustee of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a trustee of the Reagan Presidential Foundation, as chairman of the Huntsman Cancer Foundation, and as chairman of the Board of Directors of the Atlantic Council.

He is a republican, with fiscal conservative views and supports free trade. He is an outspoken advocate of Utah's strong role and potential on the global trade market. Huntsman made news in August 2005 when he said that he was opposed to intelligent design being taught in the classroom. He is also proponent of a flat-tax, tax cuts, and the removal of sales tax on food.

He is the son of billionaire businessman and philanthropist Jon Huntsman, Sr. of Huntsman Corporation, who was also a general authority in the Church. His maternal grandfather is Elder David B. Haight, a former apostle. Through his father, he is a descendant of Parley P. Pratt, an early leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Huntsman attended the University of Utah where he became a Sigma Chi and then went on to graduate at the University of Pennsylvania. He has received eleven honorary doctorate degrees. He is an Eagle Scout, and in 2007 he was awarded the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award by the Boy Scouts of America.

Huntsman is a seventh generation Utahn; his wife Mary Kaye is a first generation Utahn. Together they have seven children, two of whom are adopted from China and India. Interestingly, Huntsman has an affinity for rock and pop music and his involvement with a local band.

Prior to his election as Utah's governor, Huntsman served as a White House Staff Assistant in the Reagan Administration. Huntsman again served his country as a U.S. Ambassador to Singapore (1992–1993) in the administration of President George H.W. Bush and as a trade minister to East Asia in the George W. Bush Administration. Prior to his public service, Huntsman served as an executive for Huntsman Corporation, the Huntsman Cancer Foundation, and Huntsman Family Holdings Company. Other organizations he has served include the Utah Opera, Envision Utah, the Coalition for Utah's Future, and KSL's Family Now Campaign.

Huntsman has consistently received high poll ratings from both sides of the aisle and was considered by some polling experts as one of the most popular governors in the United States of America. He was one of two governors serving on Western Governors University's board of trustees.

He served a mission in Taiwan for the Church of Jesus Christ and speaks fluent Standard Mandarin Chinese. He also lived with his family in Washington, D.C. when his father, Jon Huntsman, Sr., was a mission president there.

In October 2018, Huntsman was diagnosed with stage-1 melanoma and was treated at the Huntsman Cancer Institute.

In February 2020, Huntsman announced he was again running for governor of Utah in the 2020 election. He selected Michelle Kaufusi, who was currently serving as mayor of Provo, Utah, as his running mate. He lost in the primary election. In January 2021 he was named the new chairman of World Trade Center Utah. The organization promotes international business development and works to raise the state’s global profile working in concert with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development.

In the fall of 2024, the No Labels group was considering a Jon Huntsman-Joe Manchin match for its expected third-party candidate for the 2024 presidential election campaign. Huntsman says his running for public office again is "unlikely."[3]

In March 2024, Huntsman was named vice chairman and president for strategic growth at Mastercard. He will be tasked with managing partnerships with governments and head the “company’s inclusive growth, philanthropy and sustainability agenda.”[4]

Huntsman has been awarded eleven honorary doctorate degrees.