Policymaker profile: Getting to know Steve Waldrip

Utah Policy regularly profiles policymakers from across the state. In this edition we profile Utah Representative Steve Waldrip, Republican, District 8, Weber County. 

Occupation: Social Benefit Fund Founder

Education: BA, English – BYU; JD – University of Utah Law School; LLM, Taxation – University of Washington Law School

Growing up: I grew up on the mean streets (not really) of Orange County, California, the second of six kids. My mom was one of 11 children, so I had A LOT of cousins that lived in Utah (where she grew up). Every time they came to visit, we would take them to Disneyland. We would pack a lunch of liverwurst sandwiches, apples and oranges, strawberries or cookies, and a water jug, and store it in one of the lockers outside the entrance to the park in the picnic area. We would ride rides until early afternoon, then go eat lunch on the picnic tables, then stay until 9 or 10 p.m. I went to Disneyland many, many times each summer, and now I can barely stand to go. I think I have only taken my kids there twice, which I believe qualifies as child abuse in some jurisdictions/families. I’d much rather go to the beach or the mountains.

Fond memory: The first time I saw my wife Jenny, it was in a picture that a good friend sent to me while I was in Haiti serving an LDS mission. Jenny was in Israel on a BYU study abroad program with my friend, and I was drawn to her smile and eyes. I met her at BYU the next year, and after five short years and a lot of begging, promising, and pleading, she agreed to marry me. Best decision of my life. The jury is still out on her decision.

Childhood ambition: I wanted to be an Air Force pilot. I read all about it and wanted an appointment to the Air Force Academy. Then I grew. And I grew and grew. I knew the height limit for pilots was about 6’5”, so when I hit 6’6” my dream was over.

Family: Yes. Just kidding. Jenny, married for 23 years, 4 boys, Andrew – 22, Samuel – 20, Joshua – 17, Gabe – 13.

Why politics: When I was approached to run for this office, I laughed out loud and said “[something] no!” But I had decided to dedicate this portion of my life to public service in my community, and the idea worked on me. I thought that maybe I could do the job, and I had always loved policy discussions and creating solutions to problems, so I thought this might work out. So far, I have really loved it.

My perfect day: Two options if I’m being honest: Option 1. Wake up early and go for a bike ride or waterskiing or a hike with my family; come back late morning and work around the house and in the yard, or tinker with some project or other; skip lunch and keep working, then change and go to dinner and a play or concert with Jenny. Option 2. Sleep in and have a lazy morning reading in bed. Get up and make a big breakfast of eggs and bacon and French toast. Go out and ski, bike or hike. Come back and have a nap. Eat a nice dinner with my family and watch a Lakers game while eating a bag of chips. 

Hobbies: Skiing, biking, hiking, fishing, camping.

First job: Parking lot attendant at the Marriott Hotel at Disneyland.

Lesson taught me by my mother: A love of music, art and theater. And a love for God.

Hottest issues I’m watching: Police and justice reform. Can we get closer to equal justice under the law?

Biggest accomplishment: My boys.

My philosophy of government: It exists to serve the people and ensure fairness of opportunity for all. 

Personal motto: Keep moving forward.

Most embarrassing moment: So many to choose from.

Retreat: The mountains and a fly rod.

Favorite book: Tuesdays with Morrie.

Indulgence, guilty pleasure: A large bag of barbecue chips at night while I’m watching a show.

Mentor: Bob Hunter has been a close friend for many years and has taught me compassion and pure love of all others. Blake Wahlen was my business partner and taught me how to build and maintain relationships in business that would produce both friendship and success.

A small insight into my psyche: You don’t want to go there…

My farewell message to the world: I hope that I have done something that was meaningful and left a legacy of love and kindness.

My district is cool because: Have you seen Ogden Valley and the east bench of Ogden??? It is a paradise of beauty and allows me to do all the things I love to do.

I like serving in the legislature because: It gives me an opportunity to look at problems, collaborate with others to come up with solutions, have those solutions refined and improved through the legislative process, and watch them benefit my community and state.

Running for political office is: A mixed bag. I enjoy talking to people and hearing their stories and trying to find solutions to their problems. I do not like seeing my name everywhere and having partisan contention.

Historical figure I’d like to take to lunch: Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt.

Sports team: Lakers (I know — boo, hiss, but I am true to my roots).

Favorite pet: Current dog, Hazel, a Border Collie and Australian Shepherd mix we got from the shelter this spring.

I always laugh at: Myself when I do something foolish.

My desk is: A mess that nobody better touch because I know where everything is on it.