Path to Power
Born in 1960 in Salt Lake City, Matheson is the son of Scott Matheson, a lawyer who was twice elected Utah governor.
After completing his undergraduate education from Harvard University in 1982, Matheson worked as an intern for then-House Speaker Tip O'Neill (D-Mass.). Matheson worked for the Environmental Policy Institute before earning his M.B.A. from the University of California-Los Angeles in 1987.
Though Matheson tries to disassociate himself from his party, he is closely connected to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.). Hoyer advised Matheson to stay out of the 1998 House race during a breakfast meeting at Salt Lake City airport. Two years later, after Matheson decided to run, one of his first actions was to call Hoyer, who threw Matheson his full support.
In 2008, Matheson defended Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) who was ousted as chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, in favor of Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.). While Dingell has been criticized as being too lax on climate change issues, Matheson said Dingell was a consensus builder who could pass major legislation regarding energy, health care and telecommunications.