Huntsman awarded US State Department’s highest honor for ambassadorships



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SALT LAKE CITY — Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. has received the U.S. State Department’s higher honor, the Secretary’s Distinguished Service Award, in recognition of his multiple ambassadorships over the years, including most recently to Russia under President Donald Trump.

The award is presented for “exceptionally outstanding leadership, especially in the management of safety and security issues,” as well as for professional competence and achievements that are “of notable national or international significance and have made an important contribution to the advancement of U.S. national interests.”

Huntsman, who returned from Moscow last month after serving two years as the U.S. ambassador to Russia and is considering what would be his third run for Utah governor, received the award on Oct. 25 in a private ceremony at the U.S. State Department in Washington, D.C.

“We thank Ambassador Huntsman for his outstanding service to our country,” Maria Stavropoulos, press officer for the State Department’s Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, said in a statement.

Besides Russia, Huntsman served as U.S. ambassador to China under President Barack Obama and as U.S. ambassador to Singapore in the 1990s under President George H.W. Bush. He stepped down as governor in the first year of his second term to go to Beijing in 2009, then ran for president when he returned to the United States.

Last month, Huntsman told KSL he planned to announce his decision about making another run for governor in the second week of November. Republican Gov. Gary Herbert, who had been Huntsman’s lieutenant governor, is not seeking reelection in 2020 after more than a decade in office.

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Lisa Riley Roche

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