A Richfield political podcaster has his eye on the congressional seat occupied by U.S. Rep. Chris Stewart, pledging to fight for term limits and curbed federal spending if he's elected.
Ty Jensen said he’s never held political office, although he did run an unsuccessful write-in campaign against Sen. Mitt Romney last year. But the Republican says his life experiences have equipped him to “represent the forgotten and voiceless people here in the state of Utah.”
He’s lived in rural, urban and suburban parts of the state, having spent about a decade in and around Salt Lake City before moving back to his hometown of Richfield. He’s driven taxicabs, coached high school basketball and worked in retail and marketing and said he’s been a member of the middle class and working poor at different points in his life.
“It’s a hard road but with the right message I can and will stand up for us normal Americans vs political elites,” Jensen, 37, wrote on his campaign website.
His extensive campaign platform includes a proposal for eight-year congressional term limits — two terms of four years each for senators and four terms of two years each for House members.
He’s supportive of building a wall along the nation’s southern border, but he believes the United States should establish a path to citizenship and support people who are fleeing oppression and persecution in their home countries.
“If you’re seeking asylum, I’m 100% for that,” Jensen said in a phone interview Wednesday.
Jensen said he cared for his mother until her death a couple years ago, an experience that taught him about the flaws in the nation’s health system. Congress should scrutinize the way hospital and clinics bill individual patients, who are often charged “outrageous prices,” he argues.
He agrees with some of the decisions made by Stewart, who has represented Utah’s 2nd Congressional District since 2013. But the sitting congressman hasn’t done enough to restrain federal spending and address the government’s growing deficit, he argues.
If elected, Jensen said he would support something like the “Cut, Cap and Balance Act” put forward by former U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz in 2011. The measure, which failed to clear the Senate, would’ve capped federal spending and bar debt limit increases until the passage of a constitutional balanced budget amendment.
Jensen, who filed paperwork earlier this week to create a campaign fundraising committee, said he is gathering signatures to get his name on the primary ballot instead of qualifying via the caucus-convention system.
He “wants the everyday people to make the vote” rather than seeking approval from delegates, he wrote on his website.
Jensen identifies as an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints but said he does disagree at times with some of the church’s political activities, pointing to its opposition of last year’s medical cannabis initiative as one example.
"I just want the church to stay a religious organization, and let there be a hard line between church and state," he said.
He currently works in marketing and customer relations for a hardware store and earlier this year started a politics podcast and website called rawandrealpolitics.com.
The only other potential candidate so far in the race is Larry Livingston, who opened a fundraising committee as a Democrat. Livingston, a former IRS agent and onetime investment banker, has run for office multiple times as a Democrat, Republican and Libertarian. Most recently he ran as a Democrat in the 2018 Senate race in Utah, but was quickly eliminated in the party convention.