POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

Celeste Maloy sworn into Congress a week after special election win

Nov 28, 2023, 5:42 PM | Updated: 7:56 pm

celeste maloy, the newest member of congress...

Celeste Maloy speaks to supporters at the Utah Trucking Association in West Valley City on Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2023. (Spenser Heaps/Deseret News)

(Spenser Heaps/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Celeste Maloy was sworn into Congress in Washington D.C., on Tuesday, a week after Maloy won the special election to replace her former boss, Rep. Chris Stewart.

Maloy won Utah’s 2nd Congressional District seat last week with almost 57% of the vote. Although she wasn’t sworn in until Tuesday, Maloy told KSL NewsRadio she had already gotten to work. 

Hit the ground running

Her first order of business was to start hiring her staff, but Maloy said that’s proved to be more complicated than expected.

“It turns out, there’s a lot of questions you have to get answered before you can hire staff. Like what your budget is going to be when you come in, in the middle of a Congress.”

Maloy said she had hired a chief of staff and would work on filling other positions from there.

She also said she’d work with House leadership to decide which committees would be a good match for her.

Maloy said her top priority is to ensure that projects serving local communities are on track. She’ll have more items on her agenda when she’s assigned her committees.

“Beyond that, my priorities are whatever the priorities of the 2nd District are. When constituents call and say, ‘We need your help with this,’ that’s a priority for me.”

To serve her constituents in the best way possible, Maloy promised to be an “accessible and transparent member of Congress” in ways like having a newsletter and being present in local media.

She said that as a staffer, she saw a lack of openness from members of Congress. Maloy said she wants her constituents to know exactly what she’s working on as a representative.

“I don’t want people to wake up during election season and say, ‘Oh, what has she been doing?’ I want them to know whether they like it or not. I want them to already know what I’ve been doing. ”

Experience is a “life vest”

Although Maloy spent years as an insider, working as a staffer for Stewart’s office, she said she’d had some surprises in the days after winning the election.

She told Dave and Dujanovic that she’d probably take her first vote Tuesday night, but said she doesn’t know what she’ll be voting on.

“I would have assumed that the day of getting sworn in, I would know more of what’s going on.”

Maloy said she’d have some training and onboarding on Tuesday before the swearing-in.

Despite the surprises, Maloy said her experience as a staffer has been a “life vest.”

“There are so many things I don’t know yet. And if I didn’t know the things that I learned as a staffer, I would really be lost at sea.”

Maloy sworn into Congress with 100+ supporters in the gallery

Maloy said her whole family flew out to see her swearing-in, bringing her parents and all of her siblings together for the first time in years.

Her family has been wonderful in their support, she said.

It’s not typical for a new member of Congress to have that many people along to support them.

Usually, there are several new members of Congress sworn in at once, so they can only bring two or four people with them. But because Maloy won a special election, she was the only person sworn in on Tuesday night.

“They told me I could select the gallery if I wanted And I’ve had more than 100 people fly to Washington, DC to be in the gallery to watch me be sworn in,” Maloy said, adding, “I’m really excited that so many people get to be here and experience this because it just isn’t something you get to see very many times in your lifetime. I’ve never watched anybody take the oath and be sworn in.”

After her swearing-in, Maloy became the fifth woman to ever represent Utah in the U.S. House of Representatives. 

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Celeste Maloy sworn into Congress a week after special election win