Birthdate: Jan. 21, 1958
Birth Place: Salt Lake City, UT, United States
Residence: Mesa, AZ
Religion: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
District: District 5
Matt Salmon was born in Salt Lake City and graduated from Mesa High School in Arizona. He earned a bachelor's in English literature from Arizona State University and a master's in public administration from Brigham Young University.
As a young man, Salmon served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Taiwan from 1977 to 1979. When serving in the U.S. House in the 1990s, he used his Mandarin Chinese skills during tours of Hong Kong, Beijing and Taiwan.
Before running for Congress in 2012, Salmon worked as a lobbyist but resigned from that job to pursue his campaign.
Salmon and his wife, Nancy, have four children.
Matt Salmon defeated former Arizona House Speaker Kirk Adams in the August 2012 primary to win the Republican nomination in Arizona's 5th Congressional District, which includes Gilbert, most of Mesa and parts of Chandler. The district is considered a safe Republican seat. It became open when U.S. Rep. Jeff Flake decided to run for a U.S. Senate seat.
Salmon launched his political career serving in the Arizona Senate from 1991 to 1994. He went on to serve three terms in Congress in the late 1990s, representing an earlier version of the district he is now seeking to represent.
He ended his tenure in Congress to follow a pledge that he would serve only three terms. He ran for governor in 2002 and was narrowly losing to Democrat Janet Napolitano. After leaving public life, Salmon worked as a lobbyist, a job he quit when he sought to win back his old congressional job.
Salmon has been criticized as a Washington insider who turned his congressional experience into a lucrative lobbying career. He has countered that his congressional experience allowed him to see how government works and provided him with the necessary relationships with people in Washington to be effective. He faced similar criticism over his lobbying career in the 2002 race against Napolitano.
During his 2012 primary campaign, Salmon's platform centered on promoting economic growth, reducing government debt, repealing the 2010 health care reform bill backed by President Barack Obama and strengthening border security.
Salmon's primary opponent had a similar platform, so the GOP candidates sought to distinguish themselves through experience. Salmon criticized Adams, whose political experience consists of being a party activist and a state lawmaker, by saying there's a big difference between working in the statehouse and in Congress.
"It's the difference between playing Pop Warner and playing in the NFL," Salmon said.
Source: Associated Press