Meet John Molnar, a 28-year-old Utah veteran running for Congress on political age limits, ballot initiative protection and a military path to citizenship

(Photo courtesy of John Molnar) Photo submitted by John Molnar, a military intelligence and Iraq War veteran who lives in Eagle Mountain, is running as a Republican for Utah's 4th congressional district.

Under John Molnar’s legislative agenda, unmarked police cars would be prohibited from initiating traffic stops, lawmakers would be jailed and charged with treason for amending successful ballot initiatives, and immigrants who enlist in the military would be granted full citizenship upon the honorable completion of their service.

Molnar also proposes that government salaries be tied to constituents’ median household incomes, that government officials be required to receive their health care through Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals, and that politicians and judges be limited to 20 years in office or removed at the age of 65.

“I’m tired of seeing people move to D.C. who should be moving to Florida,” says Molnar, a 28-year-old Eagle Mountain man running as a Republican for Utah’s 4th Congressional District seat.

Molnar outlines those and other priorities in a 13-point campaign platform posted in January to his website. And on Monday, the political newcomer launched his first campaign video, touting his background in Army intelligence and his military service in Iraq.

“Vote for me in 2020 to tell D.C. ‘enough’,” Molnar narrates in the video. “Enough with the starting of wars that we have no intention of winning. Enough with the aristocracy that is D.C. Enough with the do-nothing policies. Enough with the propaganda that government knows best when our country is founded on the very notion that government is, at best, a necessary evil. Enough with the career politicians and activist judges.”

A San Diego native who moved to Utah at age 9, Molnar said he never considered politics until the 2018 midterm election, when he was troubled by the national political climate.

In his campaign video and in an interview with The Tribune, Molnar cites a January remark by Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke, questioning whether the United States is best managed in modern times by its founding principles, as an example of a domestic threat to the Constitution.

“Unfortunately, I feel that the greatest conflict isn’t abroad anymore,” Molnar said. “But it is, rather, here at home.”

Molnar said his ethnic background — Greek and Hungarian — and his experience as a veteran give him a unique perspective to address policy issues that have been overlooked. His agenda is particularly focused on veterans’ services and health care, stemming from his personal experience dealing with VA hospitals.

“It’s horrible,” Molnar said. “It’s something that needs to be fixed and unfortunately the politicians don’t have any idea on how to fix it, nor any want to, because they don’t deal with it themselves."

He’s also a supporter of calling a convention of states to impose term limits on federal officeholders, and favors requiring Congress to maintain a balanced budget. But he objected to the balanced budget proposal of his potential election opponent, Democratic Rep. Ben McAdams, because it provides an exception for deficit spending during wartime.

The United States has been in a state of military conflict for the better part of two decades, and Molnar said that and other similar circumstances are too long for the country to go without a balanced budget.

“I don’t really see Ben McAdams as much of a challenge,” Molnar said.

In addition to Molnar, Kathleen Anderson last week announced her candidacy for the 4th District. Neither candidate has held elected office before, while Anderson is active in the Utah Republican Party organization, previously serving as its communications director and as secretary of the Davis County Republican Party, as well as being married to the state party’s former chairman.

Other high-profile Republicans publicly and privately exploring a run include state Rep. Kim Coleman, R-West Jordan, and Utah County Commissioner Nathan Ivie. A former top campaign adviser to Rep. Mia Love, Dave Hansen, told The Tribune that Love "is presently not looking at the race but has not totally ruled out anything.”

(Only McAdams, so far, has formally established his candidacy with the Federal Election Commission)

Molnar said his decision to launch a political career with a bid for Congress, rather than starting with lower office, is reflective of his military service. He deployed to Iraq at age 19, and said the bulk of his experience has involved matters of national and international concern.

“I’ve had experience with international relations, I don’t have experience with local issues,” he said. “That’s why I went for Congress.”