House Candidate Celeste Maloy visits Kane County
On Thursday, July 6, Republican Party Candidate for Congress, Celeste Maloy came to Kanab to address questions and share her platform with the local constituency. Maloy is the current choice by Utah’s Republican Party Chair to fill the vacant seat left by Chris Stewart’s early resignation. The tone of the meeting was one of introduction, with Maloy sharing her personal story, introducing her stances on current political issues and addressing the concerns of local voters. “I know most of you here don’t know me, so I want to answer your questions and solve that problem,” said Maloy.
Right to left, photos by Ty Gant:
Celeste Maloy, who previously worked for Congressman Chris Stewart, is the Republican Party Chair’s choice to fill his vacancy, by a majority vote from Republican Conventions.
The meeting, held at the Kanab center, was about an hour of questions and responses between Maloy and local constituents.
“I grew up in a little town in Nevada where it felt like the federal government was making all of the decisions. A lot of these decisions weren’t right for my community, and eventually I came to a conclusion: I either had to stop caring, or I had to get involved and do something about it myself. So I got involved.”
Maloy went on, “I’ve worked in Kanab and Kane County frequently; on law enforcement issues, water issues, road issues. When I heard Congressman Stewart was resigning, I knew the wheels would fall off of a lot of these issues - I told him he needed to get someone who would be able to take these projects and keep them running. He just looked at me and told me I needed to run myself.”
With her introduction concluded, the majority of the meeting was dedicated to answering questions and addressing concerns from the attending public.
Q: “Is there anything you can do about federal agencies taking control of all of our land?”
A: “I share that concern, and I do think there’s something the house can do about that or else I wouldn’t be here. It is in the nature of bureaucracy to want to grow … I think it is Congress’ responsibility to use the power of the purse to defund a lot of those fingers reaching outside of these federal agencies’ specific purposes … we need to start trimming back budgets to match these agencies’ statutory authority.”
Q: “What is your take on the proposed conservation rule for the [Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument]?”
A: “I think it’s a violation of FLPMA, the 1976 law you referred to earlier. If conservation becomes a permitted use, it becomes the only use and it pushes everything else … law dictates these lands be multiuse, and this rule would render the land no longer multi-use, but single use. There’s language in this year’s appropriations plan to defund the grand staircase monument plan - everything has a management plan, it’s already being managed, it’s just that this new plan is totally unacceptable to local officials. This is why I’m here - someone needs to be here to hear what the local officials think and the local constituents think.” In regards to the law that permits presidential authority to declare conservation plans like the proposed GSENM plan, Maloy stated, “Section 2 of the Antiquities Act doesn’t serve a function that makes sense anymore - it’s only use is for a president’s political grandstanding.”
Q: “What do you have to say about the attack text sent from one of your campaign numbers attacking your debate opponent the night before the Republican Convention?”
A: “I didn’t send that text, and my team didn’t send that text. We’ve cut ties with the text service we were using - these companies recycle their numbers and we have no control over who manages the number once we’re no longer using it.”
Q: “Can you elaborate on the meetings you and [Sheriff Tracy Glover] attended on the issue of Search and Rescue funding?”
A: “We’ve been talking about the cost of search and rescue in places like Kane County - I’ve drafted a bill that could reimburse some of the costs incurred by rural counties with large amounts of public land. It’s a bipartisan bill, other sheriffs have brought it to their congress representatives, and I think it has a real chance of passing. It’ll at least give sheriffs and counties ways to recoup some of the costs of rescuing visitors who get in trouble out on public land.”
Q: “How do we combat the ‘boogeyman issues,’ issues with some truth but that the respective parties blow way out of proportion to prompt emotional responses from their constituency, [examples like Roe V. Wade and Critical Race Theory]?”
A: “I may not be able to solve that problem, but I think the way these issues are presented is a distraction from the real problem. The real problem is that federal dollars shouldn’t be used to coerce local legislatures on these issues in the first place. Issues like Critical Race Theory are a subset of the issue that the federal legislature is forcing the decisions on the local lawmakers, who are the ones who really know their constituents and should be able to make the decisions for themselves. The federal government shouldn’t get to decide what your local legislature plans to teach your kids.”
Q: “Can you compare and contrast your approach to issues in place of Chris Stewart?”
A: “Ideologically I mostly align with him – stylistically though, I do things a little differently. I would probably present the same ideas as him, just in a different way.”
At the end of the meeting, Maloy offered a few final thoughts on her methodology in Congress: “You can stand strong on the principles, but still be a decent human being. Someone can get over you voting differently from them, but they probably won’t get over you insulting them, their beliefs, their momma and their whole family. I think if you stand strong on principles and common sense without name calling and bomb throwing, then you can come together when you do agree on something and get something done - where you probably couldn’t if you had insulted each other and refused to deal with each other ever again. I think good principles and common sense speak for themselves.”
Maloy stayed after the meeting to meet and speak personally with those who attended, but the meeting in earnest concluded after about an hour’s time.