Wayne Owens

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Douglas Wayne Owens was member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1973 to 1975 and from 1987 to 1993. He represented Utah’s 2nd congressional district.

Owens was born and reared in Panguitch, Utah, on May 2, 1937. He earned his bachelor’s degree and his juris doctor degree from the University of Utah. After his graduation, he worked as a lawyer in private practice. He was a staffer for Frank Moss, U.S. senator from Utah; Robert F. Kennedy, U. S. senator from New York; and Edward M. Kennedy, U.S. senator from Massachusetts. He also served as Western states coordinator for the presidential campaigns of both Robert Kennedy (1968) and Edward Kennedy (1980). He was a delegate to the 1968 and 1980 Democratic National Conventions.

He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1972, unseating the incumbent. He was elected again in 1986 and served through 1992. He ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate in 1974 and 1992. He was also unsuccessful in his bid in the 1984 Utah gubernatorial race.

In 1992, he was involved in what was called the House banking scandal but was cleared by the House Ethics Committee of any wrong-doing. He then retired; however, he continued to support causes he championed in Congress. He served on several boards of environmental organizations in Utah. He supported the Central Utah Project and advocated those who had suffered radiation exposure during atomic testing in Nevada in the 1950s. While a congressman, he voted to end the Vietnam War and considered this one of his career highlights.

Owens was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served a full-time mission for three years in France. He later presided over the Montreal Canada mission from 1975 to 1978. He met his wife, Marlene, when she also served as a missionary in France. They were the parents of five children.

He was president of the nonprofit Center for Middle East Peace and passed away on December 18, 2002, after suffering a heart attack while in Tel Aviv, Israel, where he was nearing completion of a nine-nation, peace-seeking trip with several members of Congress.