Jon Huntsman honored with the State Department’s top award

(Chris Detrick | Tribune file photo) Jon M. Huntsman, U.S. Ambassador to Russia, talks with family and friends during an Ambassadorial Swearing in Ceremony at the Utah Capitol, Oct. 7, 2017. Huntsman on Friday received a top award from the U.S. State Department.

Washington • Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman on Friday received the State Department’s top award for his multiple tours abroad as a diplomat.

Huntsman, who also served previously as the ambassador to China and to Singapore, was honored with the Secretary’s Distinguished Service Award at a State Department ceremony on Friday afternoon. The award is the highest given by the State Department.

“We thank Ambassador Huntsman for his outstanding service to our country,” said State Department spokeswoman Morgan Deann Ortagus.

Huntsman, a former two-term Utah governor who is considering another run at the office, has also worked as the deputy U.S. trade representative.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave Huntsman his award at a private ceremony.

After two years in Moscow, Huntsman resigned as America’s top envoy to Russia in October and returned to Utah where he may seek to regain his old job he left to serve as President Barack Obama’s choice to head the U.S. mission to Beijing.

A poll by the Salt Lake Chamber in early October showed Huntsman leading a list of potential candidates for governor in 2020 with 33 percent to Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox’s 26 percent. Cox led, however, among Republicans — the only voters eligible to vote in the GOP primary.

Editor’s note: Jon Huntsman is the brother of Paul Huntsman, owner and publisher of The Salt Lake Tribune.