One Tooele resident is not waiting for Mitt Romney to announce his candidacy for the U.S. Senate.
Tim Jimenez, a Tooele City resident, has announced his intention to seek the Republican Party’s nomination for the Senate seat currently held by Orrin Hatch.
“There’s a lot of frustration with Washington, D.C. right now,” Jimenez said. “I looked at the candidates running and saw no one representing what I believe. So I decided to go ahead and run myself.”
Jimenez, 40, grew up in Moscow, Idaho. He has lived in Tooele City for 10 years. He has been active in the Tooele County Republican Party. He has been a county and state delegate for Republican Party conventions and currently is the Republican vice-chair of his precinct.
When it comes to government, Jimenez’s beliefs are rooted in his life experiences.
Jimenez’s father’s alcoholism lead to the breakup of his parent’s marriage. Jimenez’s mother turned down public welfare and worked as a dental assistant to support her family. He wore thrift store clothes to school as he watched his mother struggle to put barely enough food on the table for the family.
One Thanksgiving three separate groups dropped off Thanksgiving dinner on his family’s doorstep, according to Jimenez.
He recounted how as a young child he talked his father out of killing his family during an alcohol influenced depression.
Jimenez’s mother eventually remarried and his father received help for his alcoholism through Alcoholics Anonymous. Today his parents are reconciled, he said.
“The welfare system did not encourage my mother to work,” he said. “My mother worked hard, occasionally she found food for us in a dumpster behind a grocery store and I worked odd jobs.”
Welfare should be reformed to provide an impetus for recipients to work, Jimenez said.
Jimenez enrolled at the University of Idaho in 1999.
After several years of working to pay for his education, Jimenez graduated in 2006 from the University of Idaho with a degree in biological and agricultural engineering.
Jimenez said he saw the influence of the federal government on the cost of education while he was a student. The cost of his education steadily rose as the government lowered interest rates on student loans. Universities, with no incentive to reduce costs and keep tuition affordable, kept raising tuition, Jimenez said.
Today Jimenez works as an environmental engineer. In his work, he navigates the world of federal, state, and local regulations for clients, including mineral mines, coal mines, and municipalities.
“I’ve dealt first hand with federal regulations,” he said. “As a Senator, I will use my knowledge of the environment and land issues to rein in the EPA.”
Jimenez said he has also seen conflict between state and local land regulations.
“Our state Department of Environmental Quality is forced to apply federal regulations that don’t work here in Utah,” he said. “Our state officials should be able to regulate our lands.”
While moving around and establishing his career, Jimenez changed jobs several times. Each time his jobs changed, his health insurance also changed.
In 2017 Jimenez changed jobs twice, during that time three of this children needed surgery. The change in insurance providers cost him thousands of dollars, he said.
“We need a change in our healthcare system, but not a federal solution,” Jimenez said. “We need a free-market system that allows choices.”
The father of six children, Jimenez is worried that the responsibility for the federal debt will fall on his children.
“I want my children to have freedom, especially financial freedom,” he said. “It looks like my children will end up paying for our debt.”
Overall, Jimenez described his political philosophy as a Republican who believes in the constitutional limits and duties of federal government and the value of a free-market system.
“Part of the problem with our federal government is that they are involved in areas that they are not to govern,” he said. “Wouldn’t it be neat if we could have 50 states, each finding their own solutions for their needs.”
When Jimenez first started thinking about running for Senate, he thought his opponent for the Republican nomination would be Orrin Hatch.
“A lot of people were saying that Hatch has been in office too long,” he said. “I thought that might work out to my advantage.”
With Hatch retiring, it looks like his predominant Republican opponent will be Mitt Romney, he said.
Jimenez believes the Republican Party’s caucus/convention system will help even out his odds against a well-funded opponent.
“I favor our government’s representative, or republican, form of democracy instead of the direct democracy approach,” he said. “I won’t be collecting signatures on a petition to get my name on the ballot.”
Jimenez’s campaign strategy means he will be travelling the state to visit Republican Party Lincoln Day Dinners and party conventions.
He said he can manage to pay for the gas for his travels and has started a GoFundMe account to help pay for other campaign expenses.
Jimenez realizes that as one out of 100 Senators, he may not be able to change the entire federal government by himself.
“If we can get 50 or 60 that think like this, we can turn things around,” he said.
The official time period to declare candidacy for the 2018 elections is from March 9 to March 15. Potential candidates that want to use the petition route to put their name on the ballot could register beginning Jan. 2 to collect signatures. Three candidates have registered with the lieutenant governor’s office to collect signatures to seek the Republican nomination for U.S. Senator. Those candidates are: Jay Hiatt, Salt Lake City; L’Capi Titus, Millcreek; and Alicia Colvin, Layton.