Meet the former Saratoga Springs, Utah, mayor who is making history – and getting ready to ruffle Democratic feathers in Washington

By Sandra Sobieraj Westfall
December 03, 2014 07:45 AM
Lori Adamski-Peek Photo

It seems there is little in the way of sorority when it comes to glass-ceiling shatterers.

Last month Utah’s Congresswoman-elect Mia Love sent shards flying when she became the first black woman Republican – not to mention, first Haitian-American – to be elected to the House of Representatives.

Her victory was noted as a milestone even by political opponents, such as Democratic strategist Donna Brazile, who said, “Black women no longer have to fit in a bracket.”

But asked if she would like to see Hillary Clinton run in 2016, Love responded, in her first at-home interview since her election, “Nope.”

Asked to elaborate, the normally outspoken conservative had nothing more to say.

PEOPLE sat down with Love and her family – husband Jason, daughters Alessa, 14, and Abi, 12, 7-year-old son Peyton and even the rambunctious family dog Xander – at their Saratoga Springs home to get better acquainted with the woman arguably poised to be the most high-profile member of the new Congress being sworn in Jan. 6.

Once a fine arts major who dreamed of a musical theater career, Love, 39, gave up that path when her 1998 wedding date conflicted with a Broadway audition.

After that she became a flight attendant, a call-center manager, and a fitness instructor before finding her calling in politics when an insect infestation in her community motivated her to organize – successfully – against a home developer.

After six years on her city council, and one term as mayor of her small Utah town, Love finds herself headed to Washington, and into the history books for changing the face of the Republican party.

But making history, she says, “wasn’t important to me – it’s certainly not why I ran. I wasn’t elected because I’m female or because I’m a certain color. We wanted to make sure we were focusing on issues.”

Reporting by CATHY FREE

For more of PEOPLE’s interview pick up the new issue on stands Friday.

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