More women running for office, and winning

Local News

PROVO, Utah (ABC4 Utah) – Tuesday’s election saw historic victories for women here in Utah and around the country. Political experts say it could begin to change the way politics are handled.

Michelle Kaufusi is the first woman to become the Mayor of Provo. She ran against another woman for the seat and they were the first women to try for the office.

“That’s really one of our top goals is that it’s obtainable that the glass ceiling is shattered,” said Kaufusi.

Several city council’s and other mayoral elections also had women win Tuesday night. Wins around the country also garnered a lot of attention.

Morgan Lyon Cotti is the Associate Director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah. She notes woman often feel they need to be over qualified to run, which often keeps them from trying. That’s why these wins were so big.

“This is a big deal,” said Lyon Cotti. “And we see that governing changes when women are at the table.”

Lyon Cotti is also a part of a Utah non-partisan organization called “Real Women Run.” The group helps train and get women ready to run for office. While the group has mostly worked on the Wasatch Front, they’ve started to get more interest from around the state.

Political experts note that when women are in office the political climate does see changes.

“They’re more likely to focus on different issues, and more likely to compromise,” said Lyon Cotti. “We see that there is a less likelihood of problems on these boards and commissions, and so it really does change the dynamic.”

Many women on both sides of the aisle said they were bothered by the tone of the 2016 election. Experts believe it may have given women the motivation they needed to run.

Kaufusi said she too was bothered by the rhetoric, and while she already considered running it gave her extra motivation.

“More than anything it just made my desire shoot up even higher to win this thing.”

Often times women will run in municipal elections before they run for higher offices. Lyon Cotti said we could start to see a flood of female candidates for Congress and Senate starting in 2018.

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Glen Mills

Chief Political Correspondent

For this Beetdigger and Ute it’s an honor to be doing what he loves in his home state! Glen is an award-winning journalist, who joined the ABC4 News team in June 2013. You can catch him anchoring ABC4 News at 5 and 6, Monday through Friday. He also serves as our Senior Political Correspondent, keeping you up to date on issues that impact your life at the city, state and national level. His political reports run throughout the week, and he hosts Inside Utah Politics, Sunday mornings at 8. The Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has recognized Glen as the best government and military television reporter in the state. Before returning home to Utah, he spent 11 1/2 years developing his journalism skills in other states. He held various on-air and management positions at KPVI in Pocatello, Idaho, WGBA in Green Bay, Wisconsin and KKCO in Grand Junction, Colorado during that time. Read More...