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Terrell Harris Dougan Headshot

Mr. Huntsman's Roots

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When your son or daughter brings home a prospective marriage partner, the questions arise in your mind right away: "Who are your people? How were you reared? How have you learned to behave in life?" Of course we don't ask that out loud, but it's a sure bet we parents are thinking it.

If we are shown candidates for the heads of corporations, or the heads of big banks or Wall St. firms, or, say, president of our country, the same questions ought to be asked, but hardly ever are.

This is why I feel compelled to tell you about Jon Huntsman, the one they put in the Republican debates way on the end of the row.

His father and mother are indeed billionaires. They have three homes and a private plane. But his mother, Karen, is never seen jetting off to Paris to see the private collections in fashion. No, she is usually in blue jeans, hanging ever piece of art in the new wing of the Huntsman Cancer Center in Salt Lake City, a breathtakingly beautiful place that opens its doors to the very sick and frightened and makes them feel cared for and loved and filled with grace and some hope.

His father, Jon Huntsman Senior, made his billions so that he could devote his resources to curing cancer.

The Huntsmans understand how money is made, and how an economy works. They also understand about giving back. You could not ask for a finer candidate than this young two-term governor who also happens to speak two dialects of Chinese fluently.

Perhaps the wildly flopping Republican establishment has said, "It's not your turn, you'll have to wait." And maybe he will. Certainly Lenore and George Romney, who reared Mitt, were lovely people too. (In Utah, if you're from pioneer stock, everyone knows everyone.) But what the Huntsmans have shown so dramatically is how much good can be done in this world if you put your money on service to others, and teach your children to do the same.

I just have to wonder who reared all those Wall Street types that took off with so much in bonuses, leaving so many stranded and poor. Who reared the bankers who thought of nothing but profit at the expense of their clients? Who taught them these values?

Yes, the Huntsmans are billionaires, up in that one percent we're all fussing about. But thanks to their goals and values, I can guarantee that young Jon Huntsman is a (dark?) horse of another color. May he come galloping up from the rear and surprise everyone.