Mia Love is a woman who is comfortable going against the grain. The young, black, Mormon convert made history when she was elected Utah’s first female African-American mayor.
Now, in a major upset she’s the GOP nominee for the states newly created 4th Congressional District. The 37-year-old will face six-term incumbent Democratic Rep., Jim Matheson, for the seat in November.
If she wins, she will be the first African-American female Republican ever elected to Congress, as well as the first black representative for Utah in Congress, which is no mean feat.
Her political career began when she was elected to the city council in the small town of Saratoga Springs, Utah, in 2004. She became mayor six years later. In January, Love kicked off her run for Congress at an elementary school, with a statement outlining her conservative principles.
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“As a wife and mother of three children, I believe the best hope for our future is to focus on fiscal discipline, limited government and personal responsibility”, she said.” These three core principles drive economic growth and opportunity.”
Love’s novelty status is attracting a lot of media coverage and her religion could potentially put Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith back in the spotlight. Romney has so far shied away from a discussion of his religious beliefs.
“There are a lot of people who have tried to define me as a person,” Love told CNN’s Kyra Phillips in an interview. “I’m not a victim, and I don’t allow anybody to put me in a box.”
So what are her chances of winning in November? Well, according to analysts she may well have a chance. Utah Republican Strategist Doug Foxley told The Daily Caller, “If I were Jim Matheson, I would be scared to death if Mia were the Republican nominee.”
And despite her underdog status, big wig Republicans such as House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy and Budget Chairman Paul Ryan are endorsing her Congressional campaign.
The Brooklyn-born, University of Hartford graduate is the daughter of Haitian parents, which she smartly talks about to illustrate the foundation for her ideals.
In interviews, Love talks candidly about her immigrant parents coming to the United States with just $10 in their pocket. They never took “handouts” and worked hard juggling jobs to achieve the American Dream, she says.
At her college orientation her father reminded her that she should never be a burden to society and she owed it to herself to give back, she says in a footage for a promotional campaign for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Love’s presence in Congress would certainly shake up the House. The mother of three children in an interracial marriage and has strong views about race.
She says if she wins in November, she will also join the Congressional Black Caucus. “Yes, yes. I would join the Congressional Black Caucus and try to take that thing apart from the inside out.”
“It’s demagoguery,” she says. “They sit there and ignite emotions and ignite racism when there isn’t. They use their positions to instill fear. Hope and change is turned into fear and blame. Fear that everybody is going [to] lose everything and blaming Congress for everything instead of taking responsibility.”
Follow Kunbi Tinuoye on Twitter at @Kunbiti