Istook, Ernest
Lecturer - History/Political Science
CB 203D
Ext 5473
Mail Code:

Ernest Istook brings abundant experience and insights to UVU.

Istook served 14 years as United States Congressman, representing the 5th District of Oklahoma. Overall, he served 25 years in public office, including as Congressman, state legislator, city council member, head of a state agency, assistant legal counsel to the governor, and as chairman of the largest library system in Oklahoma. Istook was chosen by voters as the 2006 Republican nominee for Governor of Oklahoma. He is an attorney, a former political reporter and broadcaster.

In Congress, Istook chaired subcommittees that oversaw and funded nationwide transportation systems, major information technology programs, the White House and Executive Office of the President, Treasury Department, Office of National Drug Control Policy, and multiple other major agencies. He served on subcommittees that oversaw and funded national defense, national intelligence, homeland security, health care, medical research, education, the Environmental Protection Agency, public lands, and more.

Istook was principal author of Constitutional amendments to protect religious freedom and to balance the federal budget. His proposal to end court encroachments against religious freedom received approval from a majority in the House of Representatives but not the required two-thirds margin.

Istook authored the Children's Internet Protection Act, requiring federally-funded computers to block minors' access to pornography. The U.S. Supreme Court approved the constitutionality of the measure in a landmark 6-3 ruling.  

His many publications include a paper for UVU's Center for Constitutional Studies' October 2015 Conference on Federalism, presenting on "How Washington uses the power of the purse to bribe and control state and local governments."

Istook's J.D. degree is from Oklahoma City University and he is admitted to practice law in the states of Utah and Oklahoma, plus multiple federal courts including the U.S. Supreme Court. His B.A. is from Baylor University, majoring in journalism with minors in history, English and radio-TV.

He is founder and president of the non-profit Americans for Less Regulation.

Providing multi-faceted insight and foresight, Istook's writings have appeared in a multitude of major publications including as a regular columnist for The Washington Times. He is an accomplished public speaker and has hosted nationwide talk radio plus his daily radio commentaries aired for many years on over 100 stations. Istook is a prominent and sought-after guest on numerous television, radio, news and public affairs programs. His expertise covers a wide variety of substantive topics plus unique political understanding. He focuses on how events impact everyday people--which Istook calls the "kitchen table" perspective.

He is a former Distinguished Fellow at The Heritage Foundation in Washington, DC, and served as a Fellow at Harvard University's Institute of Politics where he led a study group on "Propaganda in Today's American Politics."

Istook and his wife Judy have been married since 1973 and have five children and 15 grandchildren.

Select Istook writings:

From C-SPAN--Video of Istook's remarks at the10th Anniversary Memorial of Murrah Building Bombing in Oklahoma City (April 19, 2005, at ceremony with former President Bill Clinton and Vice-President Dick Cheney)