My name is Jim Bennett. I have a bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Southern California and a Master of Business Administration from Brigham Young University, and I’ve spent my career as a writer, marketer, manager, and politico. I’ve been married to the former Laurel Sidwell for almost 23 years, and we live in Sandy with our five children.
I attended the University of Southern California as a theatre major.
After a year at USC, I left on a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, serving in Scotland, where my father had served his own mission some three decades earlier. My grandfather, former Senator Wallace Bennett, came to see me off at the airport. As far as I know, this is the only photo with the three of us together.
I returned home and finished my theatre degree at the University of Southern California, graduating in 1993. After graduation, I went to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where I served as the Executive Producer of the the old Pink Garter Theatre, where I produced five summer seasons of summer stock.
In 1994, against her better judgment, the lovely and brilliant Laurel Sidwell agreed to marry me, and she’s still with me almost twenty-three years and five children later. It’s certainly the best decision I ever made, but I can’t speak for her.
While working in Jackson, I went back to school in 1997 to earn a business degree, graduating with my MBA from BYU in 1999. Our first daughter, Abigail, had arrived a few months before I started my master’s program, and our second daughter, Eliza, came along the next year. Both of them came to see me graduate, although they probably don’t remember that.
I soon started work at the Tuacahn Center for the Arts in Southern Utah as both Marketing and Artistic Director.
One of Tuacahn’s board members was Fred Lampropoulous, a successful entrepreneur who mounted a run for the Republican nomination for Utah governor in 2004. He hired me as his Communications Director, and I wrote a daily two-minute radio program for him that he used to introduce himself to the Utah electorate.
I moved from St. George to Sandy, and I ended up running a number of campaigns, including several for prominent Republicans and a successful ballot initiative to fund transit and transportation projects. (I didn’t run any of Mitt Romney’s campaigns, but I did accidentally get my picture taken with him, which I share with you here.)
- I was also Senator Orrin Hatch’s webmaster for his 2006 campaign, as well as the advertising director for my father’s successful 2004 reelection.
- I essentially ended my career as a political operative after I ran my father’s 2010 reelection campaign. I thought was finished with professional politics.
- I went into business for myself, working as a freelance copywriter and marketer for a number of clients. I also started writing editorials for the Deseret News, as well as a regular column about values in the media.
You can read all my Deseret News columns online here.
- I also have been working as the Program Director of RealVictory, a non-profit that teaches a cognitive behavioral model to probationers and parolees.
- I also made a foray into Mormon apologetics that attracted quite a bit of attention. Titled “A Reply from a Former CES Employee,” my piece has been downloaded more than 50,000 times.
You can download “A Reply from a Former CES Employee” here.
It wasn’t until earlier this year that I was contacted by Richard Davis to get involved in a new, centrist political party. When Jason Chaffetz announced he was leaving before the end of his term, I saw the opportunity to jump into the race in order to introduce this party and its principles to the people of Utah.
But regardless of what happens in this race, I will follow my father’s example and stand up for what I believe, but still refuse to let politics define who I am.