High-ranking conservatives around the country have been lining up to endorse and support Mia Love, dubbing her a “rising star” in the GOP ahead of her November match-up against three-term incumbent Jim Matheson.
Love has garnered national attention after her convincing primary victory and impressive record as mayor in Saratoga Springs. An individual running for a seat in Congress as a strict conservative in Utah isn’t necessarily unique. Love’s background, however, renders her entirely unique from anything the country has ever seen before.
Mia Love is a 36-year-old black woman from Brooklyn. If elected, she will become the first black Republican woman to ever serve in Congress.
Love lived on the east coast throughout college until she joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was then that she decided to move to Utah.
“I wanted to see what it was like to actually walk to a temple,” said Love. “I fell in love with Utah and the beauty of it.”
Politics was never a goal for Love after settling down in Saratoga Springs. Love began working in the marketing field while raising a family. It wasn’t until after the birth of her first child that Love considered getting involved to preserve the ability to have choices.
“I remembered a voice in the back of my head where my Dad told me, ‘You are not going to be a burden to society. You are going to give back,'” Love said. “This is my way of giving back.”
Love’s parents immigrated to America from Haiti with $10 to their name. Love said they learned English and American history, then became U.S. citizens.
“My parents have never taken a handout,” said Love. “They worked hard and they just wanted opportunity. I’m a product of that. I watched my parents work hard and I realized that hard work builds self-esteem and gives you an opportunity to leave something for your future generation.”
Love said that her approach to politics is directly related to lessons learned from her parents. After serving two terms on the city council in Saratoga Springs, Love decided to successfully run for city mayor, where she has been serving for two and a half years.
Megan Lee, a former BYU student who recently moved from Saratoga Springs, said of Love, “She did a great job on the city council and I was proud to have a woman as my mayor. We went through a lot of growth in Saratoga Springs, and she really helped.”
As mayor, Love has overseen massive population growth and worked to increase the city’s bond rating issued by Standard and Poor’s.
“We have the highest bond rating available; we are never going to have anything higher,” said Love. “We are doing well. We don’t have the option of printing money, so we have to balance our budgets. We have to live within our means. We are non-partisan, we don’t have R’s and D’s stamped on our foreheads, yet somehow we are able to make things work and live within our means. I think Washington can take a lesson from that.”
Along with managing a growing city and running a congressional campaign, Love is also a mother of three children. Her children, however, serve as personal motivation. Love said she has passed on characteristics to her children that she received from her parents, and her children know that her service in the community is for their benefit.
“For the first time in history, Americans are saying that they don’t believe that this country will be as prosperous for future generations as it has been for them,” said Love. “We are literally stealing from future generations to pay for the present.”
Utah’s newly-formed Fourth Congressional District runs west of I-15 from as far north as West Valley City down past Nephi. Although technically the incumbent in November’s race, current congressman Matheson’s new district is very different than the one he’s been serving in since 2001. Matheson is the son of former Utah governor Scott Matheson.
“Jim Matheson is a great guy. He’s a nice person, and I don’t think anyone could ever say differently,” said Love. “But Jim Matheson has changed. I have a different opponent that I’m going up against. He no longer represents the state of Utah. He puts Matheson first. When it is politically expedient and his job is on the line, then he’ll vote with the district.”
The Love campaign is centered on conservative ideals that Love says will combat America’s biggest current problems.
Love said, “I’m laser-focused on making sure that we are fiscally disciplined, government is limited and that there is personal choice and accountability.”
Jim Matheson’s website reads that he “feels strongly that the federal government should balance its budget and live within its means. He believes it is fiscally reckless and morally wrong to pile debt on future generations.”
Matheson has stated that he views every race he’s run as challenging, and that we won’t treat this one much differently from previous races. The most recent poll conducted by Deseret News/KSL on June 25 has Matheson ahead by 15 points. Election day is November 6.