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Utah congressional candidate Stewart Peay says Ukraine aid is best investment 'in the history of the Department of Defense'

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Utah congressional candidate Stewart Peay says Ukraine aid is best investment 'in the history of the Department of Defense'


Editor’s note: This is the first of a series of articles looking at the Republican candidates for Utah’s open 3rd Congressional District seat.

Military veteran Stewart Peay has a practical political philosophy he wants to bring to Utah’s crowded 3rd Congressional District race. Lawmakers, just like service members, are there to do a job so important they can’t let partisan obstructionism get in the way of moving the mission forward, he says.

As one of five Republicans to qualify for the June 25 primary election for the open House seat, Peay, who was endorsed by Sen. Mitt Romney last week, is trying to differentiate himself with his stance on Ukraine and his approach to public service.

“The Republican Party in the United States Congress has kind of come to a crossroads,” Peay said in an interview with the Deseret News editorial board on Wednesday. “There’s a chaos caucus,” he said, “who wants to spend a lot of time pounding their fists and accomplishing very little.” And then there’s a “second path … taking small wins, moving our economy forward, moving our national defense forward, moving our immigration forward.”

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Peay supports aid for Ukraine

In addition to taking a firm stance on continued support for Ukraine in its defensive war against Russia, Peay has sought to align himself with Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, current 3rd District Rep. John Curtis and Romney.

“I believe in the civility we’ve seen from Cox, the pragmatism you see from John Curtis, and the bipartisanship you see from Mitt Romney,” Peay said.

Romney — Peay’s uncle-in-law — endorsed Peay on May 8. At the time, Peay told the Deseret News the endorsement was not a family favor and indicated that he was a serious candidate and would be a responsible legislator.

Despite growing pressure from former President Donald Trump and an increasingly isolationist wing of the Republican Party, Peay believes that military support for Ukraine would be a no-brainer for “(Ronald) Reagan and conservatives for the decades that have led up to this.”

“We have a duty that goes back to the Reagan belief of supporting those who will fight for their freedom, which the Ukrainians clearly will,” Peay said. “We need to show that we are not going to allow the Western world to be pushed around.”

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Republican 3rd Congressional District candidate Stewart Peay is photographed at the Deseret News office in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, May 15, 2024. | Laura Seitz, Deseret News

In the two years since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a war to take over Ukraine, Congress has approved some $175 billion in aid to support the Ukrainian government and provide them with weapons, according to the Council on Foreign Relations.

Peay doesn’t think the U.S. should provide more non-military aid with questions arising about accountability and corruption in Ukraine. But he is “fully supportive of giving them the weapons and ammunition” to push Russians behind the line they held a year ago before more recent advances.

“We’re talking about what is roughly 3% of our defense budget,” Peay said. “According to British intelligence, Ukrainians have degraded Russian combat power by about 50%. That’s probably the greatest return on investment in the history of the Department of Defense.”

Peay said he “can’t imagine a scenario” where he would support sending American troops to Ukraine. But, he added, the U.S. must continue to pressure NATO partners to pay their fair share by meeting defense-spending requirements.

Ukraine position informed by time in Russia and Iraq

Peay’s views on foreign policy and on how public officials should conduct themselves were formed at a young age. His father worked as the chief of staff for the Utah Army National Guard and retired as the deputy adjutant general.

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“Growing up in that environment, you’re taught to love your country, you’re taught duty, you’re taught honor, you’re taught to do what’s best for your country,” Peay said.

Peay was further convinced of American exceptionalism and the need for strong American leaders, he said, after serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Russia shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union. He then studied economics at Brigham Young University and received a law degree from BYU’s law school.

Less than six months after taking the bar exam, he was in Baghdad as a National Guard member, where Peay said he spent nearly a year conducting military intelligence for Operation Iraqi Freedom. His task was to help find the infamous “weapons of mass destruction” that spurred America’s 2003 invasion but were never identified.

Peay understands why “many Americans and Republicans have grown tired of war” after 20-plus years of fighting. But he said the conflicts in Ukraine and Iraq couldn’t be more different. By supporting Ukraine, the U.S. is not initiating a war but supporting an ally, he said.

Working in Iraq with representatives from various allied countries, including Britain, Italy and Ukraine, taught him that to achieve American interests abroad, the United States needs to maintain relationships with a coalition of allies, Peay said.

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Peay said the “isolationist strand” within the GOP, which he thinks falls just short of a majority in Congress, is “dangerous” because it emboldens enemies and actually forestalls peace.

“There’s a lot of division at home,” Peay said. “And I think there’s a good argument that we should focus on those things. But one of the duties of being the leader of the free world is that you have to focus on home and away.”

Peay’s policy priorities

Among his other top issues, Peay said his first priority is cutting spending. He would do this by supporting a balanced budget amendment prohibiting Congress from spending more than it receives. This would require cuts across the board, including delaying entitlement programs for everyone under 50, Peay said.

Next is reforming the country’s immigration system. Peay said the country must treat the southern border like the northern border and require asylum-seekers to first make their claim to Mexico before they can apply for asylum in the U.S. He also said the country must counter cartels with more aggressive intelligence operations.

Peay said one of the most important roles of anyone who represents Utah’s 3rd District, which includes Sandy, Draper, much of Utah County and all of eastern Utah, is to push back against federal overreach on public lands. He said he would continue Curtis’ effort to repeal new Bureau of Land Management conservation rules and would pressure federal agencies to recognize state and county resource plans when implementing changes.

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Peay is the lead commercial litigator at Snell & Wilmer, LLP, in Salt Lake City. He served as Utah County GOP chair from 2019-2021. His first foray into electoral politics was when he ran against Curtis in the 3rd District’s special election in 2017, in which he was eliminated at the state GOP nominating convention.

Peay will appear on the primary ballot as one of four candidates, including Roosevelt mayor JR Bird, Sky Zone CEO Case Lawrence and state auditor John Dougall, who qualified by gathering 7,000 certified signatures. They will face the GOP convention nominee, state Sen. Mike Kennedy, in the June 25 primary.

On Nov. 5, the Republican nominee will face off against Democratic candidate Glenn Wright.



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Utah

The BEST WAYS To Tell If Someone Is From Utah!

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The BEST WAYS To Tell If Someone Is From Utah!


Imagine you’re at the happiest place on earth: Disneyland. You see a family next to you, and something about them reminds you of home. THEY HAVE TO BE FROM UTAH! 

HERE ARE THE BEST WAYS TO TELL IF SOMEONE IS FROM UTAH!

They’re white:

attachment-white family at disney
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Yeah… That’s a good start for the most part! Utah is a WHOPPING 88% white! Followed by 3% asian, 2% Native American and 1.5% Black.

They’re wearing a BYU shirt:

Let’s be honest here… If you’re not from Utah, you wouldn’t be caught DEAD in a BYU shirt or hat. Not a chance in hell!

Mom, Dad, and WAY TOO MANY KIDS:

attachment-mormon fam at disney
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Utah loves procreating! If you’re from Utah, you probably know someone with at least 8 siblings! You’ve got two parents in the park trying to keep up with 8 kids? Seems nearly impossible!

They’re blessing their Disneyland Churro or Corndog:

If you’ve walked past them, and they’re blessing for that corndog to nourish and strengthen their body, I’m willing to bet that family is from Utah!

Mom’s face:

The lips are fake and huge, the cheeks are fake and huge, the eye skin has been pulled back so far she looks like she just saw a ghost, and OTHER THINGS are very clearly huge and fake… There’s a great chance they’re from Utah. I mean, Utah has the SECOND MOST Plastic Surgeons per capita in the entire United States!

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Those cringy matching Disneyland t-shirts:

attachment-jensen family trip

I’m not talking about the shirts that everyone has mickey on them. I’m talking about the “JENSEN FAMILY DISNEYLAND TRIP 2023!” T-shirts… Everyone is sporting one, and they’ll never wear it again. What a waste of money!





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The Utah Jazz are rumored to be shopping John Collins and we’re good with that

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The Utah Jazz are rumored to be shopping John Collins and we’re good with that


In a perfect world, the Utah Jazz would move John Collins to the bench as the sixth or seventh guy, let him abuse the second-team defenders, and wrack up huge games off the bench. This is the perfect spot for the forward/center, as he would be able to impact the team offensively but would be protected defensively.

Right now, as the team’s starting center, Collins isn’t cutting it. He clearly doesn’t want to come off the bench and his fit with the Utah Jazz is not what anyone expected. Collins had the weirdest season for the Jazz in 2023-2024. On one hand, he defied critics. He became a reliable offensive weapon who did some real damage from all three levels of scoring. Yet, as a defensive player, he was often out of position, slow to rotate over, and was hardly the rim protector needed.

He is not a fit with the Utah Jazz, though he did prove himself to be a good player. The sad reality is that he’s just too expensive and is playing a role far bigger than what he should be playing. He’s the 2021-2022 Jordan Clarkson in a lot of ways. A very good player when on offense but not so much when the team moves to the defensive side of things.

So with the new rumor from Evan Sidery of Forbes Sports stating that the Jazz are in fact preparing to shop Collins around, we’re not mad about it. If he was a role player off the bench and made half the money he made, he’d be a critical piece for the Jazz’s future. However, he makes too much and demands far too big of a role to be successful with the Jazz.

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He can find some success elsewhere in the NBA, on a team better suited to hide his flaws and utilize his strengths but the Jazz just aren’t that team.



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Conference expansion report speculates that Utah might leave the Big 12

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Conference expansion report speculates that Utah might leave the Big 12


Could Utah be on the move? Fresh off leaving the Pac-12 for the Big 12, Dick Weiss believes that Utah could be on the move yet again. It is a decision that might well usher in another round of conference expansion

Weiss is a legendary (and highly reputable) sports writer who has worked for the Philadelphia Daily News and the New York Daily News. He reported on Saturday night that Utah could be set to leave the Big 12 and join the ACC, marking the latest bit of news concerning conference realignment.

This, after Utah was approved to join the Big 12 last summer. The Utes officially become Big 12 members this August.

It is an intriguing and yet curious report. Were Utah to join a new conference as Weiss is reporting, they’d be moving conferences along with former Pac-12 members Cal and Stanford (and SMU is leaving the AAC), all of whom are ACC-bound this year. But why would Utah want to leave for the ACC?

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Weiss says it is about the television presence of the ACC on ESPN. But the Big 12 has a contract with Fox and ESPN, arguably putting them in a better spot than the ACC. Conference expansion and realignment is being fueled by the acquisition of media markets.

If a program is in a prime media market (such as Maryland and Rutgers were for the Big Ten), then a Power Four conference will come calling.

 

And with their recent media rights deal, the Big 12 is set to surpass the ACC in terms of financial resources. So why would Utah leave a situation that makes geographic sense to join the ACC for potentially less money?

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It may not make any sense. But if the ACC can make more money by adding Utah and help save their own conference then anything and everything will be on the table.

And since when has anything relating to conference expansion made any actual sense?





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