Tuesday night saw Republicans take control of the Senate six years after losing their footing to the Democrats, but it also ushered in a new chapter in history — three African-Americans were elected to Congress in the midterm elections.
As in, the first in history. As in, there has never been a black woman who is also a Republican in Congress. And that’s a big deal considering both race and gender aren’t known for their presence in the largely white, exclusive, and male GOP.
But Love, who emerged as a darling for the Republican party after the 2012 Republican convention, said it’s not the color of her skin that got her elected.
“Many of the naysayers out there said that Utah would never elect a black Republican [Mormon] woman to Congress,” Love said to cheers. “Not only did we do it, we were the first to do it.”
You read that right. She’s also a Mormon. But back to race:
“This had nothing to do with race. Understand that Utahans have made a statement that they are not interested in dividing Americans based on race or gender, that they want to make sure that they are electing people who are honest, who have integrity, who can go out and represent the values that they hold dear, and that is really what made history here,” Love said. “It’s that race, gender had nothing to do with it. Principles had everything to do with it, and Utah values had everything to do with it.”
The color of her skin may or may not have anything to do with her big win, but make no mistake; Love’s race is an important factor. For years, the Republican party has struggled with the inclusion of people of color (and women), so it will be interesting to witness the trajectory of Love’s political career as a black congresswoman.
Love just made history Tuesday night, so it’s hard to speculate what her race and gender will mean for the GOP, but here are some things you should know about the history-maker before she no doubt embarks on a whirlwind of a journey through Congress.
– Love was actually born Ludmya Bourdea Love — Mia for short — in Brooklyn, N.Y.
– She is of Haitian-American descent.
– Love is also the former mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah.
– Before becoming the first black Republican congresswoman, Love was the 2012 Republican Party nominee for the United States House of Representatives in Utah’s 4th congressional district, losing to Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson.
– She won the Republican nomination in the 4th Congressional district at the Utah Republican convention in April 2014.
– Love graduated from the University of Hartford in West Hartford, Connecticut with a degree in performing arts.
– Before she became a Mormon in 1998, she was a Roman Catholic.
– She moved to Utah after she joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to learn more about the religion.
– She briefly considered a career on Broadway before becoming a flight attendant.
– There, she met Jason Love. The two were married in December 1998 and have three kids — 14-year-old Alessa, 11-year-old Abigail, and 7-year-old Peyton (see above).
– Love started her political career as a community spokesperson.
– She combats those who question her decision to be a black Republican by citing Martin Luther King, Jr. From Newsweek:
After she spoke in Chicago, a black woman in the audience got up and said, “I don’t understand how you can be a black female living in Utah as a Republican in today’s America.
Love came back with Martin Luther King Jr.
“I told her I wasn’t elected in Saratoga Springs because of my race or my gender or my heels. I was elected by the people there because I had a plan and a vision to get us financially stable,” she said. “Think about people like Martin Luther King. Imagine if he decided to fit into this mold that society told him to fit into. Imagine if he just listened to the government when they told him he was a second-class citizen.”
– In the same profile, she called herself “A nightmare for the Democratic Party.”
– She often speaks about her parents, who fled Haiti and came to the U.S. with $10 in their pockets. Watch her here:
– Her parents’ history shaped her views on immigration reform. From Newsweek:
She begins introductions with a self-portrait of the American dream, as the child of parents who came to the U.S.—“legally,” she takes great pains to point out. “They told me that when they finally became U.S. citizens, they had studied the Constitution, American history, they learned the English language. And when they pledged allegiance to the American flag for the first time, they meant every word of it and understood what they were saying.”
This line always gets a hearty round of applause. Her immigration platform is to secure the borders, identify exactly how many people are in the country illegally and then develop a national policy to decide what to do with them. Amnesty is not a part of that platform, and she has spoken publicly of a zero-tolerance policy against those illegally in the country being allowed to stay, no matter who they are, what they’ve done or how long they’ve been here.
“I’m talking about a legal way in,” she says.
– She is pro-life, supports the 2nd Amendment, and domestic energy exploration.
For more on Love’s stance on important issues, visit Love4Utah.com.