Joseph A. Cannon is a businessman and part of the politically active Cannon family. His grandfather Joseph J. Cannon and great-grandfather George Q. Cannon were Utah Congressman. His brother Chris Cannon was a Congressman from 1997 to 2006. Joe ran for the U.S. Senate in 1992 but was defeated. He was also chairman of the Utah Republican Party from 2002 to 2006. He served in the Ronald Reagan administration as assistant administrator for air and radiation in the Environmental Protection Agency and as associate administrator for policy and resource management. He holds a degree in political science and a law degree.
Cannon, with interests in energy and steel, headed an effort, along with his brother Chris, to reopen the U.S. Steel plant, known as Geneva Steel, in Vineyard, Utah. In 1987, the plant soon became profitable. However, due to competition with cheap imported steel and the need to modernize, Geneva Steel filed for bankruptcy in 1999 and closed in 2001. Joe went on to be a partner in a Washington, D.C. law firm that specializes in environmental and administrative law and sat on numerous boards. He has also served as CEO of the Fuel Freedom Foundation.
Cannon’s family was also involved with the newspaper business in Utah. He held the position of editor of the Deseret Morning News from 2007 to 2010. He had been on the board of directors for over a decade. His grandfather Joseph was the newspaper’s editor from 1931 to 1934, and his great-grandfather George was the editor during the 1860s and 1870s. His grandmother Ramona wrote a column for the newspaper for more than twenty-five years.
Cannon and his wife, Jan, are the parents of seven children. He is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.