What Ever Happened to J.C. Watts?

In 2002 Congressman J.C. Watts left the House of Representatives so that he could make some money and spend more time with his family. Watts, an African American, was a poster boy for the GOP’s effort to attract more blacks and other minorities to the Republican Party.

During his eight years in the House, Watts was the only black GOP elected official in Washington. He represented a rural Oklahoma district that was just 5 percent black. Yet he was popular with whites in Oklahoma in large part because he had quarterbacked the University of Oklahoma football team.

Watts was not a supporter of affirmative action in higher education. At one point he told JBHE, “It is difficult for me to support any system that would give advantage or disadvantage to anyone because of the color of his skin.”

Watts now chairs a consulting firm bearing his name which lobbies Congress on behalf of several Fortune 500 companies, trade groups, and black colleges and universities. He also owns a construction company and a diversity training firm. Overall his firms employ about 60 people and had revenues of $25 million last year.

Watts has recently bought John Deere farm equipment dealerships in San Antonio and Marble Falls, Texas. He is a political analyst for CNN and serves on the board of directors of Clear Channel Communications, the Boy Scouts of America, and the United States Military Academy.