Wayne Owens

U.S. Congressperson

1937 – 2002


Who was Wayne Owens?

Douglas Wayne Owens was a member of the United States House of Representatives for Utah's 2nd congressional district from 1973 to 1975 and again from 1987 to 1993.

Born and raised in the small town of Panguitch, Utah, Owens graduated from Panguitch High School in 1955, then attended the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, from which he earned his Bachelor's degree in 1961 and his Juris Doctor in 1964. Owens' undergraduate education was interrupted while he served as missionary to France for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1957 to 1960. In France, he met his future wife, Marlene, a fellow missionary for the church. Owens reportedly worked his way through college and law school by washing dishes at the Bryce Canyon Café. He then worked as a lawyer in private practice and as a staffer for three United States Senators, Frank Moss of Utah, Robert F. Kennedy of New York, and Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts. He was the Western states coordinator for the presidential campaigns of Robert Kennedy in 1968 and Edward Kennedy in 1980, and served as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1968 and 1980.

In 1972, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives as a Democrat by "walking for Congress" throughout the district to meet voters personally. He unseated incumbent Republican Sherman P. Lloyd with 55% of the vote. He ran an unsuccessful U.S. Senate campaign against Jake Garn in 1974, then served as a mission president of the LDS Canada Montreal Mission from 1975 to 1978, after which he returned to Salt Lake City to practice law. In 1984, Owens lost the Utah gubernatorial race to Republican Norman H. Bangerter, but was re-elected to the House in 1986 and served through 1992, when he ran for the U.S. Senate again. That year, he was defeated by a wider margin than expected by Bob Bennett. Owens was embarrassed that year by his involvement in the House banking scandal, and his voting record was more liberal than Utah's voters wanted. Following his Senate defeat, he retired to semi-private life but remained a tireless proponent for the causes he had championed in the U.S. Congress.

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May 2, 1937
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
  • United States of America
  • University of Utah
Lived in
  • Salt Lake City
  • Utah
Dec 18, 2002
Tel Aviv

on July 23, 2013


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