Utah History Encyclopedia


By Allan Kent Powell
James V. Hansen was born in Salt Lake City on 14 August 1932. He attended public schools in Salt Lake City and then served in the United States Navy during the Korean War. He returned to Salt Lake City to study at the University of Utah, where he completed his Bachelor of Science degree in 1961. As a businessman, he has been involved in insurance and real estate.

His political career began in 1960 when he was elected to the Farmington City Council. He served as a councilman from 1960 to 1972, at which time he was elected as a Republican to the Utah State House of Representatives. He served as a state representative from 1973 to 1980 and was Speaker of the House in 1979 and 1980.

During the 1980 election he defeated four-term Democratic incumbent K. Gunn McKay for Utah's First Congressional District seat in the United States House of Representatives by a vote of 157,111 to 144,459. A conservative Republican, Hansen won his seventh consecutive election to Congress in 1992 by a vote of 159,601 to 68,547 for Democratic challenger Ron Holt.

As a member of Congress, Hansen has served on three committees: the Armed Services Committee, where he is the ranking member on the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations; the Natural Resources Committee, as ranking member of the National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee and a member of the Oversight, Investigations, Water and Power Subcommittee; and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Other activities include being co-chairman of the Western Public Lands Study Committee, and membership on the National Republican Congressional Committee, the Republican Study Committee, the Insurance Caucus, the Depot Caucus, the Congressional Aviation Forum, the Sportsman's Caucus, the Army Caucus and the Congressional Space Caucus. He has been a strong supporter of Utah's defense industry and advocate of multiple-use development of natural resources on public lands.

James Hansen married Ann Burgoyne of Salt Lake City, and they have five children. The Hansens live in Farmington, where they have resided since 1959.