J. C. WATTS Biography - Polititians


Biography » polititians » j c watts


Name: J. C. Watts                                                                         
Born: 18 November 1957 Eufaula, Oklahoma                                                 
J. C. Watts, Jr. (born November 18, 1957) is an American conservative Republican         
politician, CNN political contributor, former Representative from Oklahoma in             
the U.S. Congress, and former professional Canadian football player. Watts is,           
to date, the last black Republican to serve in Congress. In his book What Color           
Is a Conservative: My Life and My Politics, Watts explained that the J.C. doesn't         
stand for anything, but he would often tell people that it was "Julius Caesar"           
as a joke.                                                                               
After graduating from high school in 1976, Watts was recruited by and attended           
college at the University of Oklahoma. Chosen to play the quarterback position,           
Watts led the OU Sooners college football team to consecutive Big Eight                   
Conference titles and Orange Bowl championships under the leadership of head             
coach Barry Switzer. Twice, in 1980 and 1981, Watts quarterbacked the Sooners to         
Orange Bowl victories over the Florida State Seminoles and knocked the Seminoles         
out of contention for the national championship. He earned MVP honors in both             
games. He graduated in 1981 with a BA degree in journalism.                               
Between 1981 to 1986, Watts played professional football in the Canadian                 
Football League for the Ottawa Rough Riders, receiving the Grey Cup Most                 
Valuable Player award during his rookie season in a Grey Cup loss to Warren Moon         
and the Edmonton Eskimos. Watts continued to play the quarterback position (which         
had brought him success at OU). By the end of his football career, Watts had             
played against such quarterbacks as Damon Allen, Warren Moon, Matt Dunigan, Tom           
Clements, Condredge Holloway, Dieter Brock, Joe Paopao, Danny Barrett, and Vince         
Ferragamo during his sojourn in the CFL.                                                 
After retiring from professional football in Canada, Watts returned to Oklahoma           
and began work with the Southern Baptist Church. Watts served as a Southern               
Baptist youth minister and associate pastor in Del City, Oklahoma from 1987 to           
Watts was approached by several prominent Oklahoma Republicans and asked to run           
for a seat on the Oklahoma Corporation Commission. After defeating several other         
candidates in the state Republican primary, Watts won in November, 1990, and was         
the first African-American elected to statewide office in Oklahoma.                       
Four years later, Watts was again approached by prominent Oklahoma Republican             
leaders and asked to consider running for an open seat for Congress (Oklahoma's           
4th Congressional district, being vacated by Congressman Dave McCurdy). Watts             
agreed and in November, 1994, was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.           
He was the first black member of Congress not to join the Congressional Black             
Watts captured national attention in 1996 with a speech before the Republican             
national convention, when he said, "You see character does count. For too long           
we have gotten by in a society that says the only thing right is to get by and           
the only thing wrong is to get caught. Character is doing what's right when               
nobody is looking."                                                                       
Continuing to be a rising star for the national Republican Party, Watts was               
selected in 1997 to deliver the Republican response to President Bill Clinton's           
State of the Union Address. During the speech, Watts chastised some black                 
Democrats and civil rights leaders as "race-hustling poverty pimps", whose               
careers he said depend on keeping blacks dependent on the government.                     
In 1998, Watts was chosen by the Republican House Leadership to be the chairman           
of the House Republican Conference, the fourth highest position of leadership in         
the House of Representatives (behind the Speaker, the Majority Leader, and the           
Majority Whip).                                                                           
Although elected on a pledge to serve no more than two terms, Watts sought and           
won a fourth term in 2000. In 2002 he decided not to run for re-election,                 
publicly citing a desire to spend more time with his family.                             
Watts then became chairman of GOPAC until he was succeeded February 1, 2007               
by Maryland's former Lt. Governor Michael S. Steele. GOPAC was founded by                 
Delaware Governor Pierre S. du Pont in 1978 in "an effort to build a farm team           
of Republican officeholders who could then run for congress or higher state               
offices later." Other past Chairmen of GOPAC were: former Oklahoma Governor               
Frank Keating, California Congressman David Dreier, Arizona Congressman John             
Shadegg and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.                                           
Watts has been critical of the Republican party's 2008 presidential candidates           
because they "don't show up" for black voters:                                           
“ Republicans want to say we reach out. But what we do instead is 60 days before       
an election, we'll spend some money on black radio and TV or buy an ad in Ebony           
and Jet, and that's our outreach. People read through that.”                           
Watts is a friend of GOP presidential candidate John McCain and a considered             
running mate.                                                                             
He is chairman of the J.C. Watts Companies, which works with clients on                   
strategies for business development, communications and public affairs. He               
serves on the boards of the Boy Scouts of America, the United States Military             
Academy, Africare, BNSF Railway, Clear Channel Communications, Dillard's and             
Terex Corporation. He is the previous chairman of GOPAC. He writes a monthly             
column for The Sporting News and is a frequent political commentator on many             
nationally-syndicated political talk shows, including The Tavis Smiley Show, The         
Situation Room, Hannity and Colmes, and Meet the Press.                                   
In 2004, he became a spokesman for National Grants Conferences, a group that             
offers through infomercials access to millions of dollars in government