2nd Congressional District candidate January Walker in 8 questions

Aug 25, 2023, 5:00 AM | Updated: 12:21 pm

SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah — The name January Walker probably seems familiar, as she’s run in a few different elections for congressional seats here in Utah. She was selected as the United Utah Party‘s nominee for the special election to replace Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah. 

KSL NewsRadio caught up with Walker to ask the eight burning questions asked of all the candidates on the ballot. A transcript of their full interview follows.

January Walker’s stance on military

Kira Hoffelmeyer: This whole race is because incumbent Republican Rep. Chris Stewart is leaving us. He’s leaving us as the only military veteran for Utah’s congressional delegation. To my knowledge, he’s the only — there’s no one running that has any military experience like the Congressman does. What do you think are the interests of Utah’s military bases and veterans that you think need protecting?

January Walker: Yeah, I think this is actually a really interesting question because it’s an aspect of my life that I don’t talk about a lot personally.

So I grew up not only as a military child but I was born on a military base in Europe. But for pretty much the entirety of my life, I’ve been associated with that group in some way, shape or form.

And this extended to even joining the ROTC for a short period of time.

Where, you know, for me, it’s more out of respect for the people that did deploy and our veterans, and especially with, you know, that community and respecting the lives that they put on the line. I don’t take that as a boastful aspect of of who I am as an individual.

But when it comes down to it, there are some very important things around the military that Utah needs that, you know, Chris Stewart didn’t address at all whatsoever. So he was really good at saying, ‘Hey, here’s the stuff that we have with Russia.’ But in terms of making sure that our troops were taken care of, he did not put forth legislation around that.

And so I’m going to cover a couple of topics here. First and foremost, is that we just ended a 20-year war, and we have all these veterans coming back and we’re still dealing with stuff that people experienced from the Vietnam War, where most of our veterans have mental health problems, they have homelessness running rampant among them.

They don’t have the resources to get the solutions that they need, brought to the front side of the table for them. And so that is going to be huge. And when we look at this, it does play heavily into taking care of the mental health of our veterans.

In terms of solutions, one of them that I brought up, not only in this campaign but in the last campaign as well, is the ability to make sure that veterans are able to receive their benefits immediately through technological solutions.

One of the ones is blockchain technology and how that plays into identity which the Utah government is leaning into. So we’ll be able to capitalize that and accelerate it at the congressional level.

January Walker’s stance on public lands

Kira Hoffelmeyer: Part of what this position does, like many of the congressional delegation for Utah, is work with the federal government, obviously, and specifically on public lands. Utah is 60% to 70% public lands that are owned by the federal government. And CD2 is no exception. So how would you work with the federal government when it comes to public lands to ensure Utah’s best interests?

January Walker: Yeah, so I think first of all, in the city, at the county level, they’re not being included at the conversation at the level that they need to be.

We know that because when I went around the state, not only in ’21, but in ’22, we consistently heard, ‘We’re not in touch with our representatives. They’re not reaching out to us. We need help, and we need resources and we need financing.’

So in terms of that, that would be my approach.  There is, there are cities and towns across Utah that have specific needs that haven’t been uncovered because we haven’t been having those conversations. And so that would be my first level of approach. But based off of the informal issue that they’ve given me … it does lean heavily into water resources.

So it would be seeing what kinds of water resources the federal government has on our lands that could be helping the small towns across Utah.

January Walker and the shutdown showdown

Kira Hoffelmeyer: So you’ll enter Congress, if elected, like, right in the middle of what we like to call at KSL a shutdown showdown. So we’re talking about funding the government. This comes up all the time, and it still continues. What do you have to say about the state of the economy, inflation, spending … all that jazz?

January Walker: At this point, I would say that there is not a single congressional representative that is actually trying to solve the problem.

What they are trying to do is capitalize and manipulate voters by hitting them where it hurts, and making it so that the economy is actually worse than it needs to be.

So my background is in business, economics, and finance. And if I was going to run a government, I wouldn’t start by manipulating and politicizing money.

When we actually look at the budget, and everything that’s happening, the first part is people don’t even know where that money is going. The first thing that you can ask anybody in Congress is ‘Where’s the money going?’ They say, ‘I don’t know.’

They just know that two-thirds of it is already accounted for. And they’re fighting over the final one-third of the budget.

And that’s what we’re really shutting down over.

So the first step would be, one, to propose a system that would allow us to track and trace government spending down to the very last penny. Which again, we have the technology for this. And then once you have that, you’re able to say, ‘Okay, these are programs that we no longer need, this money isn’t going to the people, it’s not actually going to the resources that we need it to go to … and these are the items that we actually do need.’

That’s your first step in fixing the economy that we have today.

January Walker on where Congress and SCOTUS meet

Kira Hoffelmeyer: The Supreme Court has handed down decisions on a lot of divisive topics in the last eight months. We’re talking abortion, we’re talking affirmative action. What do you think and see is the role of a member of Congress in what has played out within these contentious issues?

January Walker: Yeah, I think that this is a really interesting question. Because as I looked at the authority of the Supreme Court, I kept asking myself the question of … ‘when did the Supreme Court get this much power?’

Because they were supposed to be the part of the government that never had as much power as they do. And so all of a sudden, there was a switch.

And it seemed to happen back in the 2000 election when they [the court] actually decided who was going to be the winner of that election. And in terms of Congress, we do refer to the Supreme Court when they make a decision as the laws of the land.

But we should be going through and making decisions and making sure that we are implementing laws that the Supreme Court can follow, right?

So we have that legislation. And then, you know, if the Supreme Court decides that something is unconstitutional, then then we would lean into that, but it is creating the laws that the Supreme Court can use as a reference point.

January Walker on running for re-election

Kira Hoffelmeyer: If you’re elected, you’ll be barely into office before you have to turn around and run again. You know, filing happens in January, and this election is decided in November. It’s crazy. How are you feeling about that?

January Walker: Well, it’s a system that I personally don’t like. Fun fact: Your members of Congress have different goals that they have to meet each week around fundraising.

So any of your Congressmen and women … they have a $10,000 goal that they have to hit each week in order to get elected the next go around.

So they’re working on campaigning anyways.

And for me, the solution to this, actually is, it’s less than like 2% of Utah’s population, if you donated $5 to your candidate on a reoccurring basis, you would actually eliminate the need for this campaigning.

And you would also eliminate the dark money, the lobbyists, and everything else in there.

So on my level in terms of getting elected, we would just encourage people to say, ‘Hey, if you like what we’re doing, subscribe to us and then we can use that money to put towards advertising for the next campaign.’

Because that’s really all election, you know, campaigning and fundraising is advertising. What is the message that we’re trying to get out? What are the things that we’re trying to accomplish?

So, for me, personally, I would like to not see this happen in the future. I like money out of politics. But until then it is up to the people to put their money behind candidates.

Otherwise, we’re just going to continue to see lobbyists and corporations do that.

Hoffelmeyer: Do you think, come January, regardless of the outcome that you would file to run again?

Walker: I have committed to be a multi-year candidate, so I intend to be on the ballot for a long time to come.

January Walker on some silly questions

Kira Hoffelmeyer: So … Utah or BYU?

January Walker: Man, so this is hard for me because I went to Utah Valley University. Gosh. Between the two? Well, we’ll put it this way. I’ve been planning on applying to law school at the University of Utah. So I’ll stick with the U.

Hoffelmeyer: So I let you see a video before we started chatting, about some bears in China in a zoo… and social media seems to think that they’re not actually bears. I wanted to get your take. Are they humans are costume or are they legit bears?

Walker: Well, just from the video, the first thing that I looked at was the anatomy and how they were actually moving their bodies.

And with that, I would say that that is definitely a bear that is not a human. You can just see by the way that it moves. Humans do not move in that way.

But I mean, it’s very cool that the bears stand and wave and I can see that as being exciting.

Hoffelmeyer: If the FBI were to run a background check or a security check, and they found something kind of silly (about you.) What would it be?

Walker: There’s a whole slew of things that they could find in there that I think would be like, absolutely fascinating or funny to them.

Okay, we’ll do it. We’ll do that. Because this is public knowledge.

It’s kind of a little bit of dirt on me. And this is that’s, that is a pun at the end of this.

So back during Hurricane Katrina, there was a lot of initiative to do fundraising for the victims of that so that they could get their houses back and everything. And during this, they said, ‘Well, we should do something really interesting for the people something that would draw attention, something that people would actually donate to,’ and they’re like, ‘Well, what is that?’ And they’re like, ‘I don’t know… eating something weird.’

And then it’s like, ‘Okay, well, what are we going to eat?’ And then they’re like … worms!

And I’m like, ‘No, let’s not do that.’ And they’re like, ‘No, it’s done.’

So I ate worms for charity.

But they weren’t too bad. I enjoy eating a wide variety of delicacies from different countries in my travels anyway, so it kind of aligns personally. That’s what the FBI would find.

This is part of a collection of questions asked to all candidates running in the 2nd Congressional District special election before the Sept. 5, 2023, primary election. See below for the interviews of the other candidates.

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2nd Congressional District candidate January Walker in 8 questions