SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) The Utah State legislature looks a little different after a historic midterm election.
At least three more women will walk the steps of the capitol next year, after beating out male candidates. Two women picked up seats in the house and one in the Senate.
After years on the State School Board, teacher Kathleen Riebe‘s (D) ready to take Brian Zehnder’s (R) seat as the senator for District 8. She collected 56% of the vote against the incumbent.
“I was a truck driver and a bartender,” Riebe said. “I’ve done a lot of male-dominated jobs so I think that’s what gave me an incentive.”
“I never in a million years thought this is where I’d be. But when I’ve gone to meetings and I’ve seen what’s going on, I really just had to step up to the plate and change things,” Riebe said.
After losing by just five votes in the last election, Suzanne Harrison took House District 32 in Salt Lake County. She took LaVar Christensen’s empty Senate seat after beating Brad Bonham (R) also by 56 percent.
The part-time physician and full-time mom said she ran for her children.
“I want our kids, both the boys and the girls, to see that whatever it is that fills your soul and makes you happy is what you should pursue,” said Harrison.
Eighteen women will decide Utah law in the House of Representatives, slightly changing the balance of power to 24 percent. Both women agree their minority status is a strength on Capitol Hill.
“I think if more things ran like the PTAs of Utah, the world would be a better place. Moms getting together and working to solve problems and find common ground, a lot of good comes from that,” Harrison said.
There could be one more. On Election Night, Democrat Deana Froerer held a 25 vote lead for House District 8 against Republican Steve Waldrip in Weber County. The race will be decided after the votes are canvased later this month.