SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — Black History Month is a time for us to honor the legacy of those who overcome obstacles, break barriers and make a difference in our community. This month, we will be honoring Utahns who have done just that.
If anyone knows what it takes to break the glass ceiling, it will be former Congresswoman Mia Love. When she knocked off incumbent Jim Matheson in 2014, she became the first Republican black woman to ever be elected to the U.S. Congress.
“I am proud of it,” she said.
Love represented Utah’s 4th Congressional District for two terms from 2015 to 2019. Prior to her time in Congress, she was a member of the city council and served as the mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah.
“If anyone would have guessed ten, twenty years ago where the first black Republican would come from, I think Utah would have been at the bottom of the list,” Love said.
The former congresswoman hopes the path she paved will inspire others.
“You break glass ceilings so others don’t have to,” she said. “I want to encourage people, encourage black women, encourage women, encourage people to just serve.”
A hard worker as ever, Love says there is still work to do. Although she no longer serves within the walls of the U.S. Capitol, she remains involved in affairs of the state as a political pundit at CNN.
“Because of my conservative background, a lot of people say, ‘Why CNN? Why aren’t you going to FOX?’,” she said. “Well, I’ve always believed that I needed to go where it might not be comfortable, but where I’m needed.”
Other than that, she has also been busy working on a book that is now out.
“There are a lot of people that will say a lot of things about you that is so hard in an election to say no that’s not true, or yes that’s true. I felt it was really important for people to know who I am in my words.”
Those words are contained in “Qualified,” a memoir detailing Love’s journey from serving in the city council to making history at the U.S. House of Representatives. She says the title is inspired by a question she got a lot on the campaign trail.
“I feel like that’s unique to being a black woman,” she said. “‘What qualifies you to run for Congress?’ Well, I spent several years as a mayor and on the legislative side as a city council member.”
Love hopes those who read her book would realize they are qualified too, adding that it’s about lifting people up when others are trying to tear them down.
“We have too much degrading, too much fighting, too much disrespect and not caring for one another as Americans,” she said. “We’re in the same boat.”
As for a future run for office, Love is not ruling it out.
She says if something comes up, and she thinks she can make a difference — she’ll be ready.