A Mormon mother of three secured her place in American history as the first black female Republican elected to Congress.
“Tonight you have made history!” Utah’s Mia Love told supporters after winning the state’s 4th House district. “Many of the naysayers out there said that Utah would never elect a black Republican LDS (Latter-day Saint) woman to Congress. Not only did we do it, we were the first to do it!”
Love, 38, who also will be the first Haitian-American to serve in the Capitol, was surrounded by her husband, Jason, and their kids: Alessa, 14; Abigail, 11; and Peyton, 7.
Throughout this campaign, Love, who lost her first try for the House seat in 2012 by only 768 votes, seemed less interested in the role of “first” than in the role of David.
“I love the story of David and Goliath, because in that story, David turns toward Goliath toward a seemingly impossible challenge,” Love said in one of her debates with Democrat opponent Doug Owens. “That’s the type of confidence we need to have as we take on the Goliaths of our debt, out-of-control spending, Obamacare and that Godzilla we call the federal government.”
And look to the pro-life, pro-gun Love, who holds a concealed weapons permit, to make waves in the heavily Democrat-leaning Congressional Black Caucus, which she says she’ll join.
“I’m kind of a nightmare for the Democratic Party,” Love said on the campaign trail earlier this year. “They don’t want me there. But I’m coming.”
Reveling in her unique position, Love recently told Newsweek: “I’m perfectly comfortable in my skin. My parents always told me, ‘In order for people to see you as an equal, you need to act as an equal and be an equal.’ ”
As she tells the story, her parents fled, with just $10 to their names, from the dictatorship of Fran ois “Papa Doc” Duvalier in war-torn Haiti in 1974 for Brooklyn, where Ludmya “Mia” Bourdeau was born the following year.
The family moved to Connecticut when Love was 5, but New York City remained her dream, and, after taking dance, acting and singing classes at the University of Hartford, Love hoped to make it on Broadway.
Instead, she got a job as a flight attendant and followed her older sister from Catholicism, their family faith, to the Mormon church. “At first I thought it was kind of weird. Three hours for church seemed like a long time,” Love has said.
But she was attracted to the church’s teachings about eternal marriage and respect for women. She met Jason Love when he was serving his Mormon mission in Connecticut and got her first taste of politics when, on behalf of neighbors at their first home on Utah Lake, she went toe-to-toe with the developer about getting rid of a bug infestation.
As she now prepares for work in Washington, Love is eager to defy anyone who thinks she should vote a certain way because she’s black or a woman.
“Think about people like Martin Luther King,” Love said in a Chicago speech last year. “Imagine if he decided to fit into this mold that society told him to fit into.”