LaVar Christensen

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LaVar Christensen
Member of the Utah House of Representatives
from the 32nd[1] district
Assumed office
January 1, 2011 - Present
January 1, 2003 - December 31, 2006
Personal details
Born (1953-08-18) August 18, 1953 (age 63)
Upland, California
Nationality American
Political party Republican
Residence Draper, Utah
Alma mater Brigham Young University
Profession Attorney

LaVar Christensen (born August 18, 1953) is an American politician from Utah, serving as a Republican state representative from the state's 48th district. He served from January 1, 2003 through December 31, 2006 and again from January 1, 2011 to the present.

Early life and career[edit]

Christensen was born and raised in Upland, California but his family is originally from Utah. His great-great-grandfather was a member of Utah’s first territorial House of Representatives. Christensen is an attorney with a legal background in real estate development. He received his B.A. degree from Brigham Young University and his Juris Doctorate from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, California. While in law school, he was a legislative assistant for the Governor of California and student intern for Judge Rothwell B. Mason. He is married to Susan Kay Christensen. They have three children. Christensen is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon).[2]

Political career[edit]

Christensen was the Republican nominee for U.S. Congress in Utah's 2nd congressional district (map). Christensen was defeated by the incumbent, Jim Matheson, in the 2006 mid-term election and subsequently left the Utah House of Representatives. However, Christensen filed his candidacy with the Lieutenant Governor's office in March 2008 to run for the same Utah House seat he vacated in 2006. In May 2008, he defeated the incumbent, Representative Sylvia Andersen, who took over the seat in 2006, at that year's GOP nominating convention and was the party's nominee in the general election for that cycle.[3]

Christensen was elected to the Utah State House of Representatives (District 48 in Sandy/Draper) in 2002. His committee assignments included Vice-Chair of Education, Budget Appropriations for Public Education, Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice; Chair of Judicial Rules Review Committee and member of the Constitutional Revision Commission.

2006 While Christensen won in several lesser-populated counties, he lost in traditional Republican strongholds, such as San Juan County, Daggett County, and Emery County. He lost the largest county: Salt Lake County, Utah by 49,264 votes and was unable to make up such a large vote deficit. Christensen campaigned in 2006 as the Republican candidate in a traditionally Republican district. Like Matheson's Republican challengers in the past, Christensen's advertisements focused primarily on party affiliation and national issues. His campaign motto was "America Needs Utah". His advertisements frequently mentioned that Nancy Pelosi would become Speaker of the House if the Democrats won a majority.[citation needed]

2008 Christensen's opponent in 2008 for Utah State House District 48 was Trisha Beck, who narrowly defeated him. [4]

2010 Christensen challenged Trish Beck again in 2010, this time winning the general election by 652 votes.[5]

2012 Christensen defeated Austin Linford in the Republican convention and faced Democratic Party nominee Alain Balmanno in the general election. Christensen won with 10,940 votes (66.8%) to Balmanno's 5,426 (33.2%).[5]

2014 Christensen again defeated Austin Linford in the Republican convention and faced Democratic Party nominee Alain Balmanno in the general election. Christensen won with 5,915 votes (63.9%) to Balmanno's 3,340 (36.1%).[5]

2016 Christensen was challenged by Democrat Suzanne Harrison in the 2016 general election. Initial returns indicated a win for Harrison, but final vote tallies gave Christensen the win by just 3 votes.[6] As of November 29, 2016, Harrison had formally requested a recount, which was expected to be completed by December 6, 2016.[7]

During the 2016 general session, Christensen served on the Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee, the House Education Committee and as committee chair of the House Judiciary Committee.[8]

2016 sponsored legislation[edit]

Bill Number Bill Title Status
HB0057 Alternative Dispute Resolution Sunset Date Amendment House/ to Governor - 3/16/2016
HB0220S01 Legislative Organization Amendments Became Law w/o Governor's Signature - 3/30/2016
HB0320 Metro Township Revisions Governor Signed - 3/10/2016
HB0336 Electricians Licensing Amendments House/ filed - 3/10/2016
HB0375S03 Prescription Drug Abuse Amendments Governor Signed - 3/25/2016
HB0377 Grandparent Rights Amendments Governor Vetoed - 3/30/2016
HB0381S01 Standards for Issuance of Summons Governor Signed - 3/22/2016
HB0393 Sovereign Marriage Authority House/ filed - 3/10/2016
HB0399 Victims Rights Amendments House/ filed - 3/10/2016
HB0414S01 Zoning Amendments House/ filed - 3/10/2016

Christensen passed six of the ten bills he introduced, giving him a 60% passage rate. However, one of his bills that passed the Legislature was vetoed by the Governor. He also floor sponsored SB0079S04 Child Welfare Revisions.

Political positions[edit]

In the Utah state legislature, Christensen has a relatively conservative voting record. He has consistently fought against same-sex marriage and for pro-life causes.[9] Christensen supports making the 2001 federal tax cuts permanent, supports easing restrictions on oil exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and opposes amnesty for illegal immigrants.[10]

Christensen wrote a paper supporting his Constitutional Amendment for the Sutherland Institute. In this document, Christensen outlined his argument for Utah's successful Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage.

He was named 2005 Statesman of the Year by the Salt Lake County Republican Party. Christensen also sponsored legislation that recognizes and strengthens parental rights in Utah as well as civic and character education in Utah's public schools.


External links[edit]