A Family History of Public Service
LaVar’s roots go deep in Utah. His great, great grandfather was a member of Utah’s first Territorial House of Representatives and the first Salt Lake City Council, which established the City’s early water and lighting systems. His Father James L. Christensen, was Mayor of Upland, California and a prominent public servant in Southern California during the time of Governor Ronald Reagan. LaVar’s family is from Utah and Sanpete Counties and his wife Sue’s family are from Carbon County. LaVar and Sue have raised their family and lived and served in Sandy/Draper for more than 25 years.
Education and Business Experience
LaVar Christensen is an attorney and business owner with a broad legal and business background. He has a deep respect for our Constitution and founding principles. LaVar served a volunteer church mission to Colorado and Kansas. He received his B.A. degree from BYU and his Juris Doctor degree from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, California. While in Law School, he was a Legislative Assistant for the Governor of California and a Judicial Law Clerk.
Family and Community Involvement
LaVar is married to Susan Kay Christensen. They have three children and six grandchildren. LaVar has always been active in his church and community. He has enjoyed serving as a mock trial coach and judge for students in our schools and other teaching assignments. For many years, he coached youth baseball teams in Sandy and Draper. He has served on various Commissions and continues to actively participate in numerous state and community events and organizations.
LaVar Christensen has demonstrated great depth of knowledge, compassionate service, diligent and effective representation of the citizens in our District and throughout our state. He first served in the Utah House of Representatives from 2002-2006. His responsibilities included: Vice-Chair of Education Committee and member of the Appropriations Sub-Committee for Public Education, Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee; Chair of Judicial Rules Review Committee and member of the Utah Constitutional Revision Commission. He was elected as the Republican Nominee for U.S. Congress in the 2nd District in 2006.
LaVar returned to the Utah House of Representatives in 2010. He currently serves as Chair of the House Judiciary Committee and as a continuing member and strong voice on the Public Education Committee and its Budget/Appropriations Sub-Committee. He also serves on the Administrative Rules Committee and is a founding member of the Utah Commission on Civic and Character Education and the Utah Marriage Commission. He is past Vice-Chair of the Health and Human Services Committee and the Public Education Committee. He has served on important Task Force Review Committees regarding Water Law, Parental Rights, Child Welfare, Mobile Home Owner’s Rights and Interests.
LaVar’s legislation calling for enhanced legislative audits of recurring annual administrative budgets within the various divisions and state departments has revealed and produced substantial cost savings and improvements for the benefit of our citizens and taxpayers. He established the Legislator’s Award for Excellence in our District to spotlight and recognize our outstanding teachers and education professionals.
LaVar formed an Education Committee in our District. It is comprised of concerned and actively involved parents and skilled and dedicated educators. They meet frequently and over the past two years contributed greatly to the sponsorship and passage of HB360 in 2015. This important measure has initiated a comprehensive review of Utah’s Education Code with careful review of the past 15 years of education programs and standards while also preparing a new comprehensive 10 year vision for public education in Utah. This new forward vision is currently underway and will be finalized and presented to the Legislature by the end of this year. All citizens are encouraged to join in the development of this new master plan, which will be continually reviewed and updated every five years hereafter.
LaVar listens, cares deeply and is making a difference for the good of all citizens. This year, numerous families who experienced the heart wrenching loss of loved ones due to prescription drug overdose have reached out to LaVar as their Representative. This has led to the passage of HB375. This new law requires doctors and pharmacists to utilize and implement the state’s premiere electronic registry documenting the extent to which individuals have already received prescriptions and may be abusing and obtaining excessive dosages without the prescribers and dispensers knowledge. This has proven to be life-saving. Numerous states are following this measure and adopting the same precautions and safeguards in their states.
As a respected leader among Utah’s strong Republican majority, LaVar is a champion of Religious Liberty and our core values. He helped author and co-sponsored vital Religious Liberty protections in Utah (SB 297) while also showing great compassion and fairness for all in helping to provide additional anti-discrimination protections regarding housing and employment.
He has successfully sponsored important legislation that recognizes and strengthens parents and children’s rights under our Constitution. He is also a champion of civic and character education in our public schools. He passed legislation, which granted township recognition to White City in our District. He also addressed and increased the criminal penalties for smuggling illegal drugs into our prisons and correctional facilities while also obtaining much needed funding for other supportive measures. With great compassion and sincere concern for all people, he has also contributed greatly to landmark criminal justice reforms where appropriate. With lesser non-violent crimes, this gives increased hope for rehabilitation and reliance on mental health and drug courts instead of excessively strict or mandatory incarceration. In this way, we seek to achieve justice while also striving to relieve the hopelessness, recidivism and family devastation that our laws may otherwise foster.
LaVar has been named Statesman of the Year and received “Guardian of Small Business”, “Champion of Business”, “Friend of the Taxpayer”, “Defender of Families”, “Government Leadership” and “Legislative Leader of Civic and Character Education” Awards while serving as your State Representative (District 32).