GOP candidates for Congress differ on compromise during Utah Tech forum – St


ST. GEORGE — There was agreement on the U.S.-Mexican border being a priority but disagreement on whether there was room for compromise in Congress.

Rep. Celeste Maloy shows a bracelet to younger constituents before a forum of Republican candidates in the 2nd Congressional District at Utah Tech, St. George, Utah, March 27, 2024 | Photo by Chris Reed, St. George News

These were the main sources of unity and disunity between two of the three Republican candidates seeking to represent Southern Utah and the rest of the 2nd Congressional District.

Incumbent Rep. Celeste Maloy of Cedar City and army veteran/business CEO Colby Jenkins took the stage Wednesday night at Utah Tech’s Eccles Fine Arts Center in a GOP candidate forum hosted by the school’s Institute of Politics and Public Affairs and the St. George Chamber of Commerce. 

Richfield-based conservative talk show host Ty Jensen, the third candidate in the Republican primary, was not part of the forum that featured one-on-one question-and-answer sessions with Utah Tech Director of Politics Vince Brown.

In the separate sessions, there was a contrast between Maloy and Jenkins as far as working with representatives from the other party. 

“I certainly will negotiate under the protective umbrella of the Constitution, but I will not compromise,” said Jenkins, who was a special forces detachment commander during the war in Afghanistan. “There’s a difference between compromise and negotiation.

“Our founders intended for Congress to be a house of negotiation, collaboration, coalition building. And that’s what I did in combat in multiple locations with tribal chiefs, people who do not look like me. So I will negotiate, but I won’t compromise on our core constitutional principles.”

Maloy said in a closely divided Congress and country, not listening to the other side won’t get you far.

Colby Jenkins, far right, discusses issues with constituents before a forum of Republican candidates in the 2nd Congressional District at Utah Tech, St. George, Utah, March 27, 2024 | Photo by Chris Reed, St. George News

“I sought regular feedback even from people I know disagree with me because I think representation is a sacred trust and a sacred honor,” Maloy said. “It turns out you can’t really get anything done if you’re a jerk to all of your colleagues. But if you’re willing to show up, do the work, support your colleagues when they have good ideas, then they’re willing to support you.

“And the only way you can do a good job of bringing home wins for your district is to work hard to be a good colleague, to make friends, to build relationships and to use all of that influence for the benefit of your own constituents.”

It’s just under four months after she took her oath of office after winning a special election to replace her previous boss, Rep. Chris Stewart, who resigned last year to care for his wife and her health issues.

For 30 minutes each, the candidates answered questions about how they would handle immigration, water and affordable housing, among other issues. Not every question received by…



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