U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic: Who Is Stephen B. King?

Tuesday, August 08, 2017
Stephen B. King

Stephen B. King, a long-time Wisconsin Republican operative, was nominated on July 11, 2017, to be the next ambassador to the Czech Republic. King has no diplomatic experience.


King was born July 4, 1941, in Indianapolis. His uncle, Robert A. Grant, served as a Republican congressman from Indiana from 1939 to 1949, and beginning in 1957 as a federal judge. King went to Western Illinois University, earning a B.S. in social science in 1963 and an M.A. in political science in 1967. After earning his undergraduate degree, King served as a social science teacher in Rushville, Illinois, while he worked on his master’s degree.


In 1967, King joined the Federal Bureau of Investigation as a special agent investigating civil rights violations in the South. He was transferred to Washington in 1969 and left the bureau the following year to become an assistant to Sen. Edward Gurney (R-Florida) on the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, where he looked into cost overruns for the F-111 fighter/bomber and black-market activities in Army-Air Force Exchanges in South Vietnam.


King moved to the Agriculture Department in 1972, working as a special assistant to Secretary Earl Butz as a liaison to congressional agriculture committees. He left in 1976 to become director of development at his alma mater, Western Illinois, but stayed in that job only a year. In 1977, King moved to Wisconsin as general manager of woodworking company Carlson’s Miniatures. Two years later, he bought part ownership of Tomah Products, which manufactures cleaning chemicals. King was also chairman of the legislative affairs group of the Board of Governors of the Synthetic Organic Chemical Manufacturers Association and a member of the board of directors and executive committee of the American Chemical Council. Tomah was sold to Exxon Chemical in 1984, but in 1994 King led a buyout of the company and was president and CEO until it was finally sold in April 2006.


King then joined the board of directors of Pilot Chemical Corporation.


King served as supervisor in Walworth County, Wisconsin, from 1981 to 1985. In 1985, he was elected Wisconsin Republican Committee chairman. He resigned from that post in 1988 to run in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate in Wisconsin, but was defeated by Susan Engeleiter, who eventually lost in the general election to Democrat Herb Kohl. Future House Speaker Paul Ryan, who like King is from Janesville, Wisconsin, was a volunteer for King during that campaign.


King founded venture capital firm King Capital in 2006 and has continued to be active in Republican politics, running the unsuccessful campaign of Paul Bucher for Wisconsin Attorney General. For the 2016 Republican National Convention, King was a delegate bound to Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and served as chairman of the Committee on Arrangements for the gathering. In 2009, he was chosen as a member of the board of directors of the Boy Scouts of America, and became vice-president in charge of supply and president of the Central Region.


King and his wife, Karen, married in 1963. They have three adult children: Kristen, Stephen Jr. and Russell. The Kings have a vacation home in North Carolina’s Outer Banks. King is a co-owner of the Janesville Jets ice hockey team of the North American Hockey League.

-Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

A ‘Party Man’ Plans a Big Party (by Mark Jurkowitz, Outer Banks Sentinel)

Stephen B. King (LittleSis)

Steve King (Bucher Blog)


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