Mia Love, the new Republican congresswoman-elect in Utah’s 4th Congressional District, is already a rising star among conservatives, and is almost certain to become a prominent figure in national politics in the years ahead.
Love’s "compelling personal story" makes her "a path forward" for Republicans looking to make inroads among minority voters, The Washington Post observed on Wednesday.
She was born in Brooklyn to impoverished Haitian immigrants who fled that country in 1976 to escape the brutal Tonton Macoutes, the secret police of longtime dictator Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier. Her father worked as a custodian and factory worker to put Mia through college at the University of Hartford. She has recounted that on her first day of orientation at the Connecticut school, her father looked at her and said: "Mia, your mother and I have done everything we could to get you here. We’ve worked hard. We’ve never taken a handout. You are not going to be a burden on society."
Eventually, Love left the Catholic Church and married Jason Love, a man she met on a Mormon mission. The couple lived in Saratoga Springs, Utah, where she became a community activist and won a seat on the city council. Eventually, she was elected mayor.
Two years ago, she nominated Mitt Romney for president in a speech at the Republican National Convention —
one that helped showcase her run for Congress against veteran Rep. Jim Matheson, a Democrat seeking his seventh term in the House of Representatives.
Love narrowly missed defeating Matheson, losing by a fraction of a percentage point (less than 800 votes out of 239,000 cast).
Matheson announced last year that he would retire from Congress at the conclusion of his current term, and Love squared off in the general election Tuesday against Democratic nominee Doug Owens. After trailing Owens’ vote totals for most of the night, Love eventually pulled ahead, winning 50 percent to 47 percent.
"Many people said Utah would never elect a black, Republican, LDS [Mormon] woman to Congress," she told cheering supporters.
"And guess what . . . we were the first to do it."
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