Pastor, Former Congressman and Football Star
In the eight years he served as one of the most recognizable members of Congress, J.C. Watts, Jr. earned a reputation as a lawmaker with a remarkable oratorical gift and a charismatic persona that constituents and Americans across the country have come to know and admire.
Former Congressman Watts was first elected to represent the fourth district of Oklahoma in the United States House of Representatives in November 1994 with 52 percent of the vote. He won reelection in 1996 with 58 percent, in 1998 with 62 percent and again in 2000 with 65 percent of the vote.
Fellow congressmen quickly recognized the leadership qualities of Watts and elected him to serve as the chairman of the House Republican Conference, the fourth-highest position in the House, in 1998. He was re-elected to this leadership position, unopposed, in 2000.
J.C. Watts earned a solid reputation in Oklahoma and throughout the nation as a perceptive and passionate spokesman for improving and redeveloping communities, fiscal discipline, strengthening education, restoring values and bolstering our national defense. Congressman Watts served on the Armed Services Committee and was a member of the Military Readiness Subcommittee and the Procurement Subcommittee. Taking the lead on one of the most important issues of the day, Watts served on the Special Oversight Panel on Terrorism.
In 1996, Congressman Watts delivered a powerful, inspiring speech at the Republican National Convention. Soon thereafter he was selected to give the Republican response to President Clinton's 1997 State of the Union Address. Watts also served as an honorary co-chairman at the 2000 Republican National Convention.
J.C. Watts was commended for his efforts in Congress with numerous community awards, including the 1996 Junior Chamber of Commerce's Ten Outstanding Young Americans Award, the Jefferson Award for promoting economic prosperity and free enterprise, the Christian Coalition's Friend of the Family Award, the YMCA's Strong Kids, Strong Families, Strong Communities plaque, the 60 Plus Association's Guardian and Benjamin Franklin awards and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Spirit of Enterprise Award.
Former Congressman Watts serves on the board of representatives of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in Oklahoma and has been a leader for groups such as the Orphan Foundation of America and the Boy Scouts of America. Watts also travels across the nation as a guest preacher.
J.C. Watts was born the fifth of six children to Buddy and Helen Watts on November 18, 1957 in Eufaula, Oklahoma. He graduated from Eufaula High School in 1976 and attended the University of Oklahoma until his graduation in 1981 with a B.A. in journalism. While at the University of Oklahoma, Watts was quarterback for the Sooners, leading them to two consecutive Big Twelve Championships and Orange Bowl victories. He was voted the Most Valuable Player in the 1980 and 1981 Orange Bowl wins over Florida State. From 1981 to 1986, he started for Ottawa and Toronto in the Canadian Football League and was voted the Most Valuable Player of the Grey Cup, the CFL's Super Bowl, his rookie season. Watts was inducted into the Orange Bowl Hall of Honor in 1992.
After returning to Oklahoma, Watts served as a youth minister at Sunnylane Baptist Church in Del City, Oklahoma from January 1987 until December 1994, when he then became associate pastor. In 1990 he was elected to the Oklahoma State Corporation Commission and became chairman before running for Congress in 1994.
More important to J.C. Watts than any of his achievements are his wife, Frankie, and their five children. Congressman and Mrs. Watts reside with their three youngest children in Norman, Oklahoma where they are members of Bethel Baptist Church.