Born and raised in Polson, Montana, John graduated from Polson High School and attended Carroll College and the University of Montana. In 2000, at the age of 21, he was elected to the Montana House of Representatives where he served on the Appropriations Committee. In 2003, he was re-elected to the House of Representatives and was also elected Majority Whip—making him, at the time, the youngest person of any state in the United States to serve in a legislative leadership role. John also served in the Senate from 2004–2010 where he chaired the Senate Transportation Committee.
In 2005, SEMA chose John to be chairman of the newly formed State Automotive Enthusiast Leadership Caucus sponsored by the SEMA Government Affairs office. The caucus is a bipartisan group of state lawmakers who work to protect the rights of enthusiasts across the United States that now includes close to 500 legislators. While in the Senate, he sponsored the SEMA-model Street Rod and Custom Vehicle bill legislation, which remains the purest integration of SEMA’s model in the United States and continues to provide a haven to legally title and register nearly any vehicle an enthusiast can create.
John also has a strong background in the aftermarket as an enthusiast. He is a seasoned fabricator and CAD user having designed and fabricated his own motorcycles and modified a variety of cars in his spare time. He also formed the company Meccanica as an outlet for his designs and still works in his spare time to develop custom motorcycle and car parts. Like most SEMA members, he hopes that one day his passion will provide his primary income. Currently, he is designing multiple motorcycle chassis and working to modify his ’66 Pontiac LeMans into a Pro Touring daily driver.
In 2010, John joined 3M Company’s Motor Vehicle Systems and Services division as the West Coast Regional Manager. He continues to put his knowledge of motor-vehicle titling, registration, and emissions issues to work for SEMA as a volunteer, remaining ever committed to keeping the aftermarket alive and well.