Celeste Maloy: I will represent Utah’s 2nd District unapologetically — and with civility and grace

America’s best days are ahead, and I am excited to be part of shaping that future.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Candidate Celeste Maloy, answers a question alongside Kathleen Riebe, as the two candidates running in the Special Election for the Second Congressional District in Utah, debate at the KUED studios on the University of Utah campus on Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023.

Most people who pay attention to politics look at Washington, D.C., today and feel perplexed and frustrated. Some even feel disgusted. Few feel optimistic or hopeful.

I understand why, but I want to make a case for optimism.

Since my primary victory in September, several close friends have asked me, “Are you sure you want to serve in Congress now? Can anything be done?”

The answer is, “Yes.” And here’s why.

Despite challenges and uncertainty, I’m confident that progress can be made, that our nation’s founding principles can be defended and that America has a bright future.

How can one feel this way with all the D.C. drama, gridlock, polarization and the unsettling economic and national obstacles we face? There are two fundamental reasons I remain hopeful – our Constitution and the American spirit of freedom.

I remain optimistic because our country was founded on a document that enshrined sound principles within the very fabric of our government; a document that established a governmental structure that spreads out power and has built in checks and balances that can withstand threats, both foreign and domestic.

The Constitution, and the liberty it protects, helped foster a unique culture of freedom. A nation of people who, despite their differences, still fundamentally believe in the principles of liberty and community, faith and tolerance, peace and prosperity, hard work and compassion. Our Founding Fathers knew that self-governance was going to be messy and they designed a system that could handle robust disagreements. The U.S. House of Representatives, especially, is supposed to reflect the people, and it is often the stage for frustrations and cries for change.

America has faced serious challenges from the very beginning. Great Britain didn’t want to let the colonists go. There were internal dissensions from the earliest days of our fledgling republic. The Federalist Papers are a long debate about what the government should look like. We’ve endured several economic crises, social upheavals and foreign conflicts where hundreds of thousands of Americans gave their lives. I share this brief walk through U.S. history only to remind today’s citizens that this nation has faced incredible challenges dozens of times before, and each time we’ve emerged, stronger, smarter and closer to the ideal of a “more perfect union.”

On Oct. 25, the House elected a new speaker. In his inaugural remarks, Speaker Mike Johnson pledged to operate a House of Representatives that would be trustworthy, transparent and focused on the priorities of the American people. Those themes are a reflection of the frustrations of the people. While the process was messy, I believe the outcome will help restore faith in our institutions.

I am a proud conservative running to represent a conservative district. What I aim to bring to the table as a member of Congress is a work ethic and a commitment to those same core principles upon which our nation was founded. I pledge to the citizens of Utah’s 2nd Congressional District that I will work hard to represent them — all of them — unapologetically and with civility and grace.

I’m confident that this approach can still work in Washington. I am hopeful that this approach will help restore Americans’ trust in our form of government. The key is remembering that after robust debate, we are all Americans and we all want this American experiment in self-governance to work. With that attitude, I still believe that America’s best days are ahead, and I am excited to be part of shaping that future.

Celeste Maloy is running for Utah’s 2nd Congressional District.