John Curtis (American politician)

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John Curtis
John Curtis.png
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Utah's 3rd district
Assumed office
November 13, 2017
Preceded by Jason Chaffetz
44th Mayor of Provo
In office
January 5, 2010 – November 13, 2017
Preceded by Lewis Billings
Succeeded by Michelle Kaufusi
Personal details
Born (1960-05-10) May 10, 1960 (age 58)
Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.
Political party Republican (before 2000; 2006–present)
Other political
affiliations
Democratic (2000–2006)
Spouse(s) Sue Snarr
Children 6
Residence Provo, Utah
Education Brigham Young University (BS)
Website House website

John Ream Curtis (born May 10, 1960) is an American politician serving as the U.S. Representative for Utah's 3rd congressional district since 2017.[1][2] He previously served as the Mayor of Provo, Utah (2010-2017). On November 7, 2017, he won a special election to replace Jason Chaffetz in Congress, after Chaffetz resigned.

Early life[edit]

John Curtis was born May 10, 1960 in Salt Lake City, Utah. His parents were Jesse Duckworth "Dee" Curtis (March 22, 1927 – June 16, 2015), and his mother Hazel Dawn Curtis (née Ream) (November 9, 1925 – May 15, 2016). They married in 1955.

Curtis attended high school at Skyline High School, where he met his future wife, Sue Snarr. He attended Brigham Young University and graduated with a degree in business management. He worked for OC Tanner and the Citizen Watch Company before taking a position as the COO of a Provo-based company, Action Target, in 2000.

Curtis ran for the Utah State Senate in 2000 as a Democrat against Curt Bramble, losing 33% to 66%.[3] From 2002 to 2003, Curtis served as vice chairman and chairman of the Utah County Democratic Party.[4][5]

Mayor of Provo[edit]

Curtis ran successfully for mayor of Provo City in 2009 defeating former legislator Stephen Clark with 53% of the vote and took office on January 5, 2010 on a platform of safety, prosperity, and unity.[6][7] In office he focused on economic development, revitalization of Downtown Provo, and getting a beach at Utah Lake. He also assisted with the purchase of iProvo, Provo City's existing fiber internet network, by Google Fiber.[8] Curtis was re-elected for a second four-year term in 2013 with 86.49% of the vote.[9][10] In November 2016, Curtis announced he would not seek re-election for the Mayorship of Provo. During his last years in office, he averaged an approval rating of 93%.[11]

Controversy over sexual misconduct by Provo police chief[edit]

On March 20, 2018, five women filed a lawsuit claiming the city of Provo and former Mayor John Curtis failed to take action to protect them from alleged sexual harassment and assault by former police chief John King, despite allegations of misconduct in 2015 and 2016.[12] Plaintiffs accused King of a broad range of sexual misconduct, including staring at their breasts, making inappropriate comments, uninvited touching, groping and, in one case, rape.[13]

City Council members told the Deseret News that they held a closed-door meeting about King’s conduct in late 2015 or early 2016. The lawsuit alleged that Congressman John Curtis, then Provo’s mayor, chilled reporting by telling police department supervisors in fall 2014 that “he did not want to receive any more complaints about Chief King.” The complaint read, "Chief King was going to remain chief of the department as long as Curtis was in office and there was nothing the supervisors could do about it”.[14] Councilman Gary Winterton confirmed the council had such a discussion about King, with the chief present, but he said he could not say much about the meeting because it was a closed session. Winterton said he could not say what type of administrative action, if any, was taken. The lawsuit stated the meeting did not result in any discipline of King.[15]

In March 2017, King resigned after the rape allegation, making his exit at the request of then-Mayor and current 3rd District Congressman John Curtis, even though Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill had declined to bring charges.[13] In an email obtained by the Deseret News through a records request, King sent Curtis a March 17 email thanking him for his support: “You did your best to protect me at the press conference,” he said. “I am deeply sorry for putting you in this terrible position.”[14]

On March 23, 2018 Curtis clarified that as Provo’s mayor, he heard three, not just two complaints of inappropriate sexual conduct by John King. The first time, Curtis said, he warned King that even if his alleged actions had been misinterpreted, the former police chief shouldn’t put himself in positions where his actions could be misinterpreted. The second time, he ordered King to retake sexual harassment training, and reiterated that he should not go past a certain point while visiting women at the department’s dispatch center. The third time, after a student volunteer accused King of rape in early 2017, Curtis asked for King’s resignation.[16]

In response Curtis stated, “One of the things I’m learning, is what women expect is more than checking the boxes, legally,” he said. “They need a lot of emotional support and understanding. And we don’t talk a lot about that portion of what do you do when these things happen. So, in a way, if you think about this, I’m seeing, like, ‘OK, my primary responsibility is to get this into the right hands.’ I read her comments about how what I did made her feel, and it was clear to me that she expected more from me than just getting it into the right hands. Lesson learned."[16]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

2017 election[edit]

Curtis's campaign photo

On May 25, 2017, Curtis announced his candidacy for that year's special election in Utah's 3rd congressional district to replace Jason Chaffetz, who resigned on June 30. On August 15, Curtis won the Republican nomination over fellow candidates Christopher Herrod and Tanner Ainge.[2] On November 7, 2017 Curtis won the election over Democrat Kathie Allen and took Chaffetz's vacated seat.

Tenure[edit]

Curtis was sworn into office on November 13, 2017.

Bears Ears National Monument[edit]

On December 4, 2017, Curtis, along with fellow Utah representatives Rob Bishop, Chris Stewart and Mia Love, introduced a bill that would codify the Trump administration's reduction of Bears Ears National Monument by creating two new national monuments in the remaining areas defined by the president.[17]

On January 9, 2018, members of the Tribes of the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition testified against the bill including Shaun Chapoose, a member of the Ute Indian Tribe and Utah Business Committee.[18]

Approval Rating[edit]

On January 31, 2018, the Salt Lake Tribune-Hinckley Institute of Politics announced Curtis landed the lowest overall approval rating among Utah’s four US Congress House members. According to the poll conducted by Dan Jones & Associates, 42 percent of registered voters approved of his performance in the 3rd Congressional District.[19]

San Rafael Swell[edit]

In May 2018, Curtis drew criticism again after introducing the Emery County Public Land Management Act of 2018. Opponents argued the bill omitted approximately 900,000 acres of wilderness in its proposed designation, including Labyrinth Canyon and Muddy Creek. Conservation groups accused Curtis of removing the existing Wilderness Study Area protection to facilitate coal mining.[20]

On June 25, 2018 it was announced that the congressional subcommittee overstated support that environmental groups had for the Emery County Public Land Management Act of 2018. An aide to Curtis stated there was a mix-up and the record would be corrected. Seven environmental organizations were named as being in support of the legislation in a June 18 background memo ahead of a hearing before the Federal Lands Subcommittee. But just one of the groups named said it was accurate to call them “supporters.”[21]

SPEED Act[edit]

On June 13, 2018, Rep. John Curtis introduced H.R. 6088, the “Streamlining Permitting Efficiencies in Energy Development Act” or “SPEED Act”. The legislation proposes streamlining the oil and gas permitting process by allowing Bureau of Land Management to expedite approval for drilling activities that pose little or no environmental harm. The Mineral Leasing Act would be amended by establishing procedures where an operator may conduct drilling and production activities on available Federal land and Non-Federal land.[22][23] Community members criticized Curtis over this sponsorship, claiming it omits the required environmental impact analysis, and allows drilling on land without notifying the public or providing opportunity to comment.[24]

Committee assignments[edit]

Curtis is a member of the Republican Main Street Partnership[26] and the Congressional Western Caucus.[27]

Personal and professional life[edit]

He is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served a two-year mission in Taiwan. He and wife Sue have six children together.

Through his father, he is a descendant of Brigham Young. His paternal grandparents were Jesse Raine Curtis and Edith LaVelle Curtis (née Duckworth). His grandfather's parents were Alexander Robertson Curtis and Genevieve Belle Curtis (née Raine). Genevieve's parents were John Ashley Raine Jr. and Alice Luella Raine (née Decker). Alice's parents were Charles Franklin Decker and Vilate Decker (née Young), daughter of Brigham Young.

His great-uncle is LeGrand R. Curtis, and his first cousin once removed is LeGrand R. Curtis Jr.

He has also served on a number of community and advisory boards including the Provo/Orem Chamber of Commerce (now Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce), the Mountain Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross, the Utah National Parks Council of the Boys Scouts of America, and the Utah Valley Healthcare Foundation.

He has two older sisters, Camille and Kristine, and a younger brother, Kitt.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Provo City website. Accessed April 19, 2013.
  2. ^ a b Bloch, Matthew; Lee, Jasmine (August 16, 2017). "Utah Election Results: Curtis Wins Republican Primary for U.S. House Seat". The New York Times. Retrieved August 16, 2017. 
  3. ^ "Utah County 2000 General Election Results". www.utahcounty.gov. Retrieved December 21, 2017. 
  4. ^ Roche, Lisa Riley (2017-07-30). "John Curtis: No political party has 'exclusivity on everything that's good'". DeseretNews.com. Retrieved 2018-07-19. 
  5. ^ "Utah County Democrats pick a chief". DeseretNews.com. 2003-04-09. Retrieved 2018-07-19. 
  6. ^ "Curtis wins Provo mayor race; incumbents tossed in some other races". 
  7. ^ "Meet Mayor Curtis". Provo City. 2013. Archived from the original on November 19, 2013. Retrieved December 12, 2013. 
  8. ^ Pugmire, Genelle. "Provo mayor announces Google Fiber for Small Businesses in State of City". Daily Herald. Retrieved July 18, 2017. 
  9. ^ "Curtis soars to victory and second term in Provo". 
  10. ^ "Provo City Mayor John Curtis wins re-election – The Daily Universe". Retrieved May 18, 2016. 
  11. ^ HERALD, Genelle Pugmire DAILY. "Provo Mayor John Curtis announces he will not seek re-election". Daily Herald. Retrieved July 18, 2017. 
  12. ^ Press, Associated. "Rep. John Curtis, Other Provo Officials Accused Of Ignoring Complaints Against Ex-Police Chief". Retrieved 2018-07-16. 
  13. ^ a b Piper, Matthew (2018-04-19). "Provo responds to sexual assault allegations against former police chief". DeseretNews.com. Retrieved 2018-07-16. 
  14. ^ a b Piper, Matthew (2018-03-20). "Provo officials heard about sexual misconduct by former Chief John King years before alleged rape". DeseretNews.com. Retrieved 2018-07-16. 
  15. ^ "New lawsuit describes now-Rep. John Curtis, other Provo officials as ignoring complaints of police chief's sexual misconduct". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved 2018-07-16. 
  16. ^ a b Piper, Matthew (2018-03-23). "Curtis says he heard about 3 incidents of sexual misconduct by former Provo police chief". DeseretNews.com. Retrieved 2018-07-16. 
  17. ^ John Curtis, Rob Bishop, Chris Stewart, Mia Love (December 4, 2017). "115th Congress 1st Session H. R. 4532". naturalresources.house.gov. United States House of Representatives. Retrieved January 16, 2018.
  18. ^ Vincent Schilling (January 11, 2018). "Heated Exchanges as Utah Lawmakers Push Bill for Vast Reduction of Bears Ears Monument". Indian Country Today. Retrieved January 16, 2018.
  19. ^ "Utahns don't know what to think of Rep. John Curtis — or even who he is, according to poll". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved 2018-07-19. 
  20. ^ "Conservation Groups Blast Sen. Hatch, Rep. Curtis on New San Rafael Swell Bill". Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. 2018-05-09. Retrieved 2018-07-16. 
  21. ^ Fahys, Judy. "Environmental Groups Say Curtis' Office Overstated Their 'Support' For Latest Public Lands Bill". Retrieved 2018-07-16. 
  22. ^ "Text of H.R. 6088: SPEED Act (Introduced version) - GovTrack.us". GovTrack.us. Retrieved 2018-07-19. 
  23. ^ "U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources" (PDF). 
  24. ^ "Commentary: Utah's newest congressman wants to fast-track oil drilling — putting Moab at risk". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved 2018-07-19. 
  25. ^ "Meet Our Members". House Committee on Natural Resources. Retrieved 2018-06-18. 
  26. ^ "Members". Republican Main Street Partnership. Retrieved January 24, 2018. 
  27. ^ "Members". Congressional Western Caucus. Retrieved 27 June 2018. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Lewis Billings
Mayor of Provo
2010–2017
Succeeded by
Michelle Kaufusi
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Jason Chaffetz
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Utah's 3rd congressional district

November 7, 2017 – present
Incumbent
Current U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Ralph Norman
United States Representatives by seniority
425th
Succeeded by
Conor Lamb