- Age: 51
- Claim to Fame: Former Governor of Utah and U.S. ambassador
- Economic Expertise: Globe-trotting trade expert with experience in Asia
Jon Huntsman, Jr. served as a Mormon missionary in Taiwan for two years when he was a teenager, long before he started climbing the rungs of the political ladder. Then, in his late 20s, Huntsman and his family lived and worked in Chinese Taipei. The son of the founder of Huntsman Corp. (NYSE:HUN), he was no stranger to travel abroad to emerging markets.
Upon returning to the states, Huntsman focused his energies on politics — but this involvement in international affairs was always a hallmark of his career. In the 1990s, he served as ambassador to Singapore and was Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce to George H.W. Bush. And just before he declared his candidacy for the presidency, he was serving as U.S. ambassador to China.
This long political reach beyond the Beltway is what sets Huntsman apart from his fellow candidates. While many Republican nominees have economic experience or favorable qualities, Huntsman’s real-world experience building global trade deals is crucial to America.
President Obama himself has stressed the need for America to export more goods and tap into the growth of emerging markets. And if the incumbent can’t achieve progress on those goals by November 2012, you can bet Jon Huntsman, Jr. will have a few ideas on how to get things done.