Utah Republican Celeste Maloy, a former House aide who was elected last week in a special election to fill former Rep. Chris Stewart’s seat, was sworn in Tuesday night, bringing the chamber up to its full 435-member capacity for the first time since June.
Maloy is the only woman in Utah’s congressional delegation and the fifth in the state’s history.
“I believe in the promise of better days through better ways,” she said in her first speech, quoting the Future Farmers of America creed that was important to her upbringing. “I’m excited to be here now when there are really important conversations happening and when an individual can have a huge impact.”
Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, introduced Maloy and said she is “a hard worker, levelheaded and consistently conservative.” She brought nearly two dozen family members and friends, nearly filling out a section of the House gallery and prompting Curtis to comment that “this is how we do families in Utah.”
Though the certificate of her election has not yet arrived, there was no contest and no question of her victory with 57 percent of the vote.
Maloy told CQ Roll Call that the first thing she will do as a member of the House is “make sure all of the projects Congressman Stewart had going for local communities stay on track.”
Maloy will serve the remainder of the term of her former boss, who encouraged her to run after he resigned in September to deal with his wife’s illness.
Maloy hails from rural southern Utah, a far cry from the district’s more urban center of Salt Lake City. With a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from Southern Utah University and a law degree from Brigham Young University, Maloy spent much of her career involved with public lands policy and litigation before going to Capitol Hill.
Of the Beehive State’s four districts, the 2nd District sprawls over a dozen counties, from a portion of the urban, mountainous capital of Salt Lake City to the rural red-rock home of the nation’s third-most popular national park, Zion National Park.
Nick Eskow contributed to this report.