Former Governor Jon Huntsman Announces his Candidacy at SUU

Former Governor Jon Huntsman made his first public appearance on Nov. 14 after announcing his candidacy for Utah Governor at the Southern Utah University Michael O. Leavitt Center for Politics and Public Service.

Huntsman was governor of Utah from 2005-2009. In 2009, Huntsman served as President Barack Obama’s ambassador to China for two years and more recently served as President Donald Trump’s ambassador to Russia from 2017-2019. 

“We [my wife and I] did a crazy thing this morning. We announced our candidacy for governor of this great state,” said Huntsman. “And I say a crazy thing because for most normal people don’t just wake up and think ‘that would be a good thing to do’.”

Huntsman decided to appear at SUU and speak about “Utah and the World” before formally addressing reporters.

In ‘97, Huntsman escorted President George H. Bush to SUU when Bush gave the graduation speech. More recently in ‘07, Huntsman gave the SUU graduation speech making him an honorary degree holder as a Thunderbird.

“I want to come to Cedar City not just to see students, but I wanted to come to ground zero where growth is going to be critically important and how we deal with it over the next 25 years,” said Huntsman. 

Victoria Carr, Student Director of the Micheal O. Leavitt Center, conducted an interview with Huntsman in the Leavitt Center, which was free and open to the public. The main topic of discussion is what Huntsman plans to do for the state of Utah.

“I’m not a politician and forgive me for that…I am a public servant, which is different,” said Huntsman. “The goal for me is to come up with solutions that will keep up ahead of the growth curve instead of behind…What I care about is coming out, coming forward and talking about issues that are important in the state’s future. That is why we did what we did this morning.”

Huntsman also encouraged SUU on how they can make an “impact on tomorrow.” He encouraged all students to “learn something from this great institution and change the world.”

The election will be held next year. In the meantime, Huntsman will be visiting other institutions across that state.

Story by: Cassidy Harmon
Photos by: Christopher Dimond