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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Burgess Owens
Burgess Owens 117th U.S Congress.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Utah's 4th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2021
Preceded byBen McAdams
Personal details
Clarence Burgess Owens

(1951-08-02) August 2, 1951 (age 69)
Columbus, Ohio, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Josie Owens (divorced)
EducationUniversity of Miami (BS)

Football career
No. 22, 44
Personal information
Height:6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight:199 lb (90 kg)
Career information
High school:Rickards (FL)
College:Miami (FL)
NFL Draft:1973 / Round: 1 / Pick: 13
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Int. return yards:458
Defensive Touchdowns:4
Player stats at PFR

Clarence Burgess Owens (born August 2, 1951) is an American politician, non-profit executive, and retired football player serving as the U.S. Representative for Utah's 4th congressional district. Burgess played safety for ten seasons in the National Football League (NFL) for the New York Jets and the Oakland Raiders. Since leaving the NFL, Owens has founded several businesses and is the CEO of a non-profit dedicated to helping troubled and incarcerated youth. A Republican, Owens narrowly defeated incumbent Democrat Ben McAdams in the 2020 election. Along with Byron Donalds, they are the two current African-American House representatives from the Republican Party.[1]

Early life

Owens was born in Columbus, Ohio, where his Texas-born father had come to do graduate studies he could not complete in Texas due to Jim Crow laws.[2] The family later moved to Tallahassee, Florida, where Owens' father taught as a college professor. Owens was raised in a Baptist home.[2]

Education and football career

Owens graduated from Rickards High School in Tallahassee, Florida, in 1969.[3] He was one of four African-American players who were integrated onto a football team at a historically white high school.[4] Owens was the third of four black athletes recruited to play at the University of Miami and the third black student to earn a scholarship.[4][2] He was named a First-Team All-American defensive back, Most Valuable Defensive Player of the North–South All Star Game, and MVP of the Coaches All-American Game. He was inducted into the University of Miami Sports Hall Of Fame in 1980, and its Orange Bowl "Ring of Honor" in 1999.

Owens earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and chemistry from the University of Miami.[5]

The New York Jets selected Owens with the 13th pick in the first round of the 1973 NFL Draft. During his rookie season, he returned a kickoff 82 yards for a touchdown against the Denver Broncos on October 28. This was the Jets' only touchdown scored on a kickoff return during the 1970s. He was a regular starter for the Jets for most of the 1970s, and was a part of the Raiders' 1980 Super Bowl XV championship team.

Post-football career

In 1983, Owens moved to New York City. Shortly after leaving professional football, Owens and his brother ran a business that sold electronics to other businesses to track business expenses. The venture failed and Owens eventually declared bankruptcy.[2]

Owens later relocated to a small apartment in Brooklyn, where he worked as a chimney sweep and security guard. He later moved to Philadelphia, where he took a sales job with WordPerfect.[2] In later years he was an account executive with both Sprint and Motorola, and from 2009 to 2013, he owned a business called Pure and Simple Solutions.[6]

In 2012, Owens moved to Herriman, Utah.[7] He is a founder, board member, and CEO of Second Chance 4 Youth, a non-profit dedicated to helping troubled and incarcerated youth.[8][9]

Owens has been a frequent guest contributor at Fox News.[10]

U.S. House of Representatives



In November 2019, Owens announced that he would run for the U.S. House of Representatives in Utah's 4th congressional district. He was one of four candidates to run in the 2020 Republican primary. Owens won the primary and faced Democratic incumbent Ben McAdams in the November general election.

At a June 1, 2020, Republican primary debate, Owens said Democrats in Washington are held in thrall by Marxists and socialists. Owens stated: "The days of Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neill are over. We're dealing with people who hate our country". He also said the Affordable Care Act should be repealed and that he supported President Donald Trump.[11] Later on in the campaign, Owens changed his stance, stating that coverage for pre-existing conditions should be protected, and that he did not support the repeal of Obamacare.[12][13][14]

On June 30, 2020, Owens won the primary with 43% of the vote, defeating Utah State Representative Kim Coleman by a twenty-point margin. Owens also defeated challengers KSL radio personality Jay McFarland and businessman Trent Christensen.[15][16]

Owens was a speaker at the 2020 Republican National Convention.[17]

In a candidate forum in October, Owens stated that the country's top economic need is to reduce business regulations and make tax cuts. He also stated his opposition to a minimum wage increase.[18] When asked about the need for bipartisanship, he responded, "The first thing we have to do is make sure that the Republican Party gets control again... We're at a point now we just cannot afford to go off the cliff and allow a socialist to actually take the lead now... We have to be honest about this. There are truly people who don't love our culture and do anything to destroy it and transform us into something else."

On November 14, 2020, eleven days after the election and with 99% of precincts reporting, President Donald Trump and Utah U.S. Senator Mike Lee congratulated Owens for winning the 4th district congressional seat, based upon Breitbart News calling the race for Owens.[19] McAdams conceded to Owens on November 16[20] and the Associated Press called the race for Owens.[21]


Utah's 4th congressional district, 2020
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Burgess Owens 179,688 47.70%
Democratic Ben McAdams (incumbent) 175,923 46.70%
Libertarian John Molnar 13,053 3.46%
United Utah Jonia Broderick 8,037 2.13%
Write-in 29 0.01
Total votes 376,730 100.0
Republican gain from Democratic


In late 2020, Owens was identified as a participant in the Freedom Force, a group of incoming Republican members of the House of Representatives who "say they’re fighting against socialism in America."[22][23][24]

On January 6th, 2021, during the certification of President-Elect Joe Biden, he opposed the objection to the electors for the state of Arizona, but objected to the electors from the state of Pennsylvania.[25][26]

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships

Political positions

Owens says he left the NFL "a cocky liberal" but went on to become "a very humbled and appreciative conservative."[2] He has also described his current views as "very conservative."[27] In June 2019, Owens, who is black, provided testimony to a United States House Committee on the Judiciary subcommittee opposing a bill that advocated reparations for slavery.[28] Owens has also criticized U.S. national anthem protests and Colin Kaepernick.[29] In November 2019, Owens called Donald Trump "an advocate for black Americans."[30]

Personal life

According to his website, Owens was married for 34 years and had six children before he and his wife divorced. He is a prostate cancer survivor.[31]

He is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and has spoken publicly about his faith.[3][32]

Owens joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during his final season playing with the Oakland Raiders.[4] In 1988, he spoke at a meeting sponsored by the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies held on the 10th anniversary of the 1978 Revelation on Priesthood in the LDS Church.[33]

Works and publications

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c d e f Burr, Thomas (July 6, 2020). "Meet Burgess Owens, the Utah Republican who seeks to replace Rep. Ben McAdams". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved August 19, 2020.
  3. ^ a b Ensley, Gerald (April 10, 2008). "Ex-NFL player with Tallahassee roots speaks Friday". Tallahassee Democrat. Archived from the original on April 12, 2008. Retrieved April 15, 2008.
  4. ^ a b c Toone, Trent (May 30, 2013). "Former Oakland Raider recounts LDS conversion". Deseret News. Retrieved August 19, 2020.
  5. ^ "Burgess Owens". Young America's Foundation. Retrieved July 27, 2020.
  6. ^ Vote Smart bio of Owens
  7. ^ Romboy, Dennis (August 20, 2019). "Former NFL player blames 'black elitists' for holding back African Americans". Deseret News. Retrieved August 9, 2020.
  8. ^ "Burgess Owens – Sagamore Institute". Retrieved July 27, 2020.
  9. ^ "A second look at Burgess Owens' Second Chance 4 Youth nonprofit". Retrieved September 21, 2020.
  10. ^ "Burgess Owens appears on his way to a win over Rep. Ben McAdams in Utah's 4th Congressional District race". The Salt Lake Tribune.
  11. ^ "4th District Republicans debate economy, COVID-19 ahead of June primary election". June 1, 2020.
  12. ^ "Analysis: Burgess Owens flip-flops on support for Obamacare repeal". Salt Lake Tribune.
  13. ^ "Health care, racism divide Rep. Ben McAdams, Burgess Owens in only debate". Deseret News. October 12, 2020.
  14. ^ "Ben McAdams and Burgess Owens Spar on Healthcare Plans In 4th Congressional District Debate". KUER.
  15. ^ Mihaly, Abigail (July 1, 2020). "Former NFL player Burgess Owens Wins Utah GOP primary". The Hill. Retrieved July 1, 2020.
  16. ^ "Former KSL radio personality Jay McFarland to run for Congress against Ben McAdams". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
  17. ^ "Burgess Owens touts Trump's record on race in speech at the Republican National Convention". The Salt Lake Tribune.
  18. ^ "Burgess Owens was asked to say something nice about Rep. Ben McAdams at forum. He struggled". The Salt Lake Tribune.
  19. ^ Imlay, Ashley. Trump, Lee congratulate Owens on win, while race remains to be called, Deseret News, Salt Lake City, Utah, November 14, 2020. Retrieved November 15, 2020.
  20. ^ Roche, Lisa Riley (November 16, 2020). "Rep. Ben McAdams to concede race; Burgess Owens wins in 4th Congressional District". Deseret News. Retrieved November 16, 2020.
  21. ^ Whitehurst, Lindsay & Sophia Eppolito. Republican Burgess Owens unseats Utah congressman McAdams, Associated Press, November 16, 2020.
  22. ^ Jankowicz, Mia. "A group of incoming GOP House members, calling themselves the 'Freedom Force,' are trying to counter Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's 'Squad'". Business Insider.
  23. ^ Parke, Caleb (December 1, 2020). "GOP Congresswoman-elect on forming 'Freedom Force': Left is 'totally out of line' with mainstream". Fox News.
  24. ^ Noor, Poppy (November 30, 2020). "The 'Freedom Force': Republican group takes on the Squad and 'evil' socialism". The Guardian.
  25. ^ Yourish, Karen; Buchanan, Larry; Lu, Denise (January 7, 2021). "The 147 Republicans Who Voted to Overturn Election Results". New York Times.
  26. ^ Vandenack, Tim (January 7, 2021). "Utah delegation splits on controversial objections to presidential vote totals". Standard-Examiner.
  27. ^ "3 GOP candidates concede 4th District primary race to Burgess Owens". KSL.
  28. ^ Segers, Grace (June 19, 2019). "House committee confronts the "inheritance of slavery" in panel on reparations". CBS News. Retrieved June 19, 2019.
  29. ^ "For Burgess Owens, his political journey began in an NFL locker room". Retrieved June 30, 2020.
  30. ^ Roche, Lisa Riley (November 6, 2019). "Former NFL player Burgess Owens gets in 4th Congressional District race". Deseret News. Retrieved June 30, 2020.
  31. ^ Conklin, Audrey (August 26, 2020). "RNC speakers: What to know about Burgess Owens". Fox News. Retrieved August 30, 2020.
  32. ^ Kay Raftery (June 17, 1997), "Pro Football Players Share Their Mormon Faith Ty Detmer, Burgess Owens And Vai Sikahema Told A Packed Sanctuary Of The Role Of Religion In Their Lives", Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved February 28, 2015.
  33. ^ "LDS Afro-American Symposium".

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Ben McAdams
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Utah's 4th congressional district

U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Jay Obernolte
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
August Pfluger
This page was last edited on 22 January 2021, at 09:58
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