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Election news from across Utah's statewide and national races in 2020.

Why This Washington County Republican Values Foreign And Economic Policy Over Candidate Rhetoric

A photo of Jimi Kestin.
Renee Bright
Jimi Kestin is a lifelong Republican and self-described constitutional conservative. He plans to vote for President Donald Trump this election.

There are a lot of races on the ballot for the November election — and a lot of issues that may impact the way people vote. This week, KUER is bringing you profiles of voters from across Utah to see what’s on their mind as they look toward the election.

Note: Responses have been edited for length and clarity.

Name: Age: Race:
Jimi Kestin 63 White
Lives in: Occupation: Registered Party:
Santa ClaraCommunity Relations and facilities coordinator for local bankRepublican

How would you describe your political leanings?

I am a Republican, have been since always. I fall on the right of center, pro-life, pro-family, pro-business, pro-American constitutional conservative wing of the party.

What issues are most important to you this election?

In any election, there are a couple of key issues that — looking at the presidency of the United States — have to be at the top of the list. First and foremost would be foreign policy. And second, if not tied, would be economic policy.

A booming economy that is able to create jobs and opportunity allows everyone to do better. And that is also affected by what our situation in the world is. If we are not having to invest trillions of dollars in foreign wars, then the money that we generate out of our economy is used right here in the United States.

How do you evaluate candidates?

I'm a person that looks at results and actual policy positions of those running for office as opposed to rhetoric and style. We can get so caught up, in this country, in style and rhetoric that we lose sight of what is actually being done.

So in the president's case, I look at what his actual policies are, and I could really care less about his tweets or his style of speech. I will get a bit of a twinge or twitch and some of those statements and tweets. You kind of shake your head and say, ‘I wish he had phrased that differently.’ I've seen some very eloquent politicians over my lifetime that accomplished nothing.

Why are you voting for President Donald Trump?

He's demonstrated in his first term that he has really got a better understanding of how these things work together [economic and foreign policy] and what our policy approach should be in these areas. If someone had said in 2015 that as we go into the 2020 presidential election, we would have multiple peace treaties breaking out in the Middle East between Arab nations and the state of Israel, most people would look at you and say nobody could accomplish that three years. But it has happened.

Prior to the coronavirus, we had seen the lowest unemployment numbers for the first time in a generation. So, I mean, the numbers were just terrific.

How has your life experience impacted your political ideology?

When government gets out of the way and promotes opportunity, as opposed to trying to manage results, the results are much better for the American people.

My life experience tells me that all I need is a fair and equal opportunity. And then my hard work, my effort, my skill and my talent will take me where I need to go.

That is true for every American, regardless of background. I don't come from a well-off family, but I have done considerably better than my parents did and way considerably better than my grandparents who were immigrants [from Russia] and started with virtually nothing. In two generations we've become part of the American dream.

Sonja Hutson is a politics and government reporter at KUER.
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