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Episode #193

John Huntsman Jr.

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Former Utah Governor & Ambassador To China, Russia, & Singapore Shares About His Life In & Out Of Politics


Guest Bio:
Jon and his wife Mary Kaye have seven children, including two adopted girls from China and India, and eight grandchildren. Their two sons are graduates of the US Naval Academy, serving as active naval officers. Jon’s favorite hobbies in life include music, where he’s played keyboard in numerous bands over the years, and riding motorcycles, a passion he’s had for over 50 years. Particularly motocross, which remains his favorite sport.

Jon Huntsman began his career in public service as a staff assistant to President Ronald Reagan. He has served each of the five U.S. presidents since then in critical roles around the world, including as the Ambassador to Singapore, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Asia, U.S. Trade Ambassador, U.S. Ambassador to China, and most recently, U.S. Ambassador to Russia. In all Senate confirmations, he received unanimous votes. For his service abroad in two of the world’s most difficult posts, Huntsman received the state department’s highest honor, The Distinguished Service Award.

Twice elected governor of Utah, Jon brought about strong economic and historic tax reforms, tripled the state’s rainy-day fund, and helped bring unemployment rates to historic lows. Historically Huntsman was one of Utah’s most popular governors, reaching approval ratings as high as 90 percent. During his tenure, Utah was named the best managed state in America and ranked number one in the nation in job growth. Recognized by others for his service, Governor Huntsman was elected as Chairman of the Western Governors Association, serving nineteen states throughout the region.

Jon served in numerous leadership capacities within the Huntsman Corporation. Previously he served as Chairman of the Atlantic Council, and on the boards of some of America’s greatest corporations, including Ford Motor Company, Caterpillar Corporation, Chevron Corporation, and Hilton. Jon also served as Chairman of the Huntsman Cancer Foundation. He has been a trustee of the Naval Academy Foundation and the Reagan Presidential Foundation.



Show Notes


  • Introduction (2:10)

  • Growing up with a mentor like his father (3:54)

  • Dropping out of High School (5:02)

  • Traveling the world to get feel of culture (6:51)

  • Being close friends and working with John McCain (8:29)

  • Working as an Ambassador under Obama and Trump (13:18)

  • Current situation of politics and parties (16:43)

  • Running for POTUS (18:19)

  • Choosing to step down as Governor of Utah (22:15)

  • Being followed, tapped, and under watch (26:02)

  • Running for Governor again in 2020 (31:09)


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