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Sean Whalen, Independent Candidate for Utah’s CD3

Why would a registered Republican run for office as an independent candidate? Sean Whalen shares some of his story with us and how key life events have guided him to run for Utah’s 3rd congressional district special election.

Hillary Koellner- “Sean, what do you do for work now and how did you get involved in politics?”

Sean Whalen- “I do coaching and consulting for companies. I take care of their social media premise and pretty much I’m helping them tell the truth.

When I saw Jason was stepping down I had the feeling I needed to do it. I’ve been involved in politics for quite a while, I helped with the social media for the trump campaign. I have always enjoyed being involved and then the opportunity came up.”

Hillary Koellner- “So Sean, you mention that you worked for president Trump’s campaign, were you involved as a Republican or as an Independent? And, if you are Republican, why are you running as an independent now?”

Sean Whalen- “I am a registered Republican and an independent conservative. I realized that in order to participate in the political system in Utah, playing in the same sand box as the other Republicans would not work. So, I calculated what my best option would be and that was to run as an independent.”

Hillary Koellner- “Running your own campaign, what would you say is the one thing that has surprised you the most politically?”

Sean Whalen- “How undecided most people are. I believed Utah is a very conservative state, it is, but it’s interesting to me to see how undecided they are. I have a huge social media following and just me sharing that I would be running for office, I received a massive feedback.”

Hillary Koellner- “How did your family react when you told them you wanted to run for office and are they involved with the campaign?”

Sean Whalen- “I got 100% of their support. My family is extremely supportive. I plan on brining my children with me and take them in the process. They weren’t surprised, I’m very out there and engaged with social media and topics and policy. I’m the only candidate that brought his children when I registered for candidacy.”

Hillary Koellner- “Would you say your family dynamic has changed at all since you started the campaign?”

Sean Whalen- “Not all, I prioritize my life very well. It has just gotten a lot more exciting.”

Hillary Koellner- “Well I have to say that I don’t hear that from many candidates, so it’s impressive to hear you’ve been able to maintain the same dynamic! Now, have you always lived in Utah or did you grow up elsewhere?”

Sean Whalen- “Well, I grew up in D.C. in an Irish Catholic family, my parents are from New York City. I would spend the summer time in New York and go to school in DC. I was raised in the city environment. My parents divorced when I was an early teenager. My mom was Mormon at the time and she decided to move here to Utah. So, I did my junior and senior year of high school in Utah, where I met my wife. I served a Mormon mission in Montana.”

Hillary Koellner- “From personal experience I know a parent’s divorce is never easy, what would you say that experience taught you in your life?”

Sean Whalen- “I learned a great deal of faith from my mother, who went through a really nasty divorce and my dad pretty much kicked us out of the house and she was on her own. I watched her work so hard and it really inspired me in a lot of different ways to be who I am today. I want to create a different experience for my kids than what I had growing up.”

Hillary Koellner- “That’s a great outlook and you mentioned earlier you went on an LDS mission, how was that experience for you?”

Sean Whalen- “I was a pretty rebellious kid, I got in a lot of trouble as a teen I didn’t really understand the church and I got to a point where I said I can keep going down this path or make a change and I chose to clean up my act and go on a mission. I went from this kid on the wild life to petting donkeys in a parking lot. It was a culture shock and I loved it.”

Hillary Koellner- “Growing up, what was your relationship like with your grandparents?”

Sean Whalen- “My grandparents died when I was a teen, but I remember the summers and being there and they had a beach house. I remember vividly my grandpa always loving the experience of being a grandpa. We raised the American flag and the Irish flag every single morning, it was a ritual. As a veteran of the navy and WW2 I remember him always having incredible stories. The first order of business was the flags, and every single night no matter where we were we would take down the flags. I remember how much pride he had in our ancestry and honor and pride in the American flag and he showed it every single day. I still to this day remember that.”

Hillary Koellner- “Well then that definitely explains where your patriotism came from, that’s a great story. Now, although you are very well known through social media, what would you say is something you would want everyone to know about you? Especially if they haven’t heard about you before.”

Sean Whalen- “That at no point in time regardless of the situation or who is listening will I ever bull shit someone. I will give you exactly what I feel and what I think 24/7. People either really like me or think I’m an asshole. People know I’m 100% honest and passionate on what I say and what I do.”

Hillary Koellner- “Well that’s definitely the most straight up answer I’ve gotten in any interview I’ve done, so than you for keeping it sweet and simple.”

Sean Whalen- “Well that’s the reason I decided to get involved in politics. You ask a politician a question and they try to give you an answer that will sell to everybody, most politicians are full of shit. They say whatever they need to say to get re-elected. With me I think that if you like what I say, fantastic and if not fantastic.”

By Hillary Koellner

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