Newly elected Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, received his committee assignments Wednesday: House Foreign Affairs and Small Business.
“These assignments are a tremendous opportunity for me to serve the people of the 3rd Congressional District, and I’m ready to get to work for them,” he said in a statement.
The Small Business Committee considers financial aid packages, regulations and protections for start-ups and mom-and-pop shops. With the announcement, Curtis pointed to the decade he spent building his own business, Action Target, a shooting-range developer in Provo.
Small companies and manufacturers, he said, “are the backbone of our economy.” He intends to focus on developing business in rural communities.
The House Foreign Affairs Committee considers legislation on foreign policy and diplomacy concerning the U.S. State Department, the United Nations and the Peace Corps. Its vice chairman, Republican Rep. Francis Rooney of Florida, is also a freshman in Congress.
There Curtis will serve on the Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia and Emerging Threats and the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa. In 1986, he lived in Taiwan — where he served a Mormon mission years earlier — and worked in imports and exports. He has also visited the Middle East and China.
The assignment, he added, means addressing “some of the gravest threats facing our nation, including Iran, Russia and North Korea.” Curtis, too, noted that he hopes to advance the White House agenda on foreign policy.
The congressman, a former Provo mayor, was elected earlier this month in a special election to replace former Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who stepped down early and took a job with Fox News. Curtis won by a lofty 30-point margin on Nov. 7 and was sworn in less than a week later.
When he spoke with House Speaker Paul Ryan, Curtis had said his committee preference would be Energy and Commerce, one of the most expansive and powerful in Congress (and difficult for a freshman to get on).