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Celeste Maloy had a 'fast and breathtaking journey' to Congress

Nick Eskow, CQ-Roll Call on

Published in Political News

For Celeste Maloy, it took less than a year to go from Hill staffer to sitting congresswoman.

“A lot of times I still think, ‘How did I get from where I was to here?’” says the Utah Republican.

She worked as a public lands attorney before then-Rep. Chris Stewart offered her a job as legislative counsel, her first opportunity to directly shape federal policy.

When Stewart announced he would resign, citing his wife’s illness, he tapped Maloy to run for the 2nd District seat. “I wouldn’t have believed I could do this if he hadn’t believed I could do it first,” Maloy says.

She won a Nov. 21 special election and was sworn in a week later, taking over the same office space she had once worked in as a staffer.

Pictures still leaned against the wall waiting to be hung when Maloy sat down with Roll Call at the end of January to talk about making the leap, coming to work as a “whole person” and her first months as a member of Congress.

 

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Q: Less than a year ago, you were still working for Stewart. What was it like to win his seat?

A: It was just such a fast and breathtaking journey. I worked really, really hard during the campaign, and it didn’t leave me with a lot of time to reflect. Now I’m here, and just a few months ago, this wasn’t even part of the plan.

And when you win in a special, things move quickly. Normally, people get elected the first week of November and get sworn in three days into January. But one week after election night, I was sworn in — you just don’t get the same sort of ramp-up time.

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