Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
She's a rising political star gaining attention in prominent places — from the 2012 Conservative Political Action Conference to news outlets like CNN — but Republican Mia Love isn't worried.
"There are a lot of people who have tried to define me as a person," Love told CNN's Kyra Phillips in a recent interview. "I'm not a victim. I don't allow myself or anybody else to put me in a box."
Love is currently the mayor of Saratoga Springs, but she also recently won a primary race to become the Republican candidate in Utah's 4th Congressional District. She will face incumbent Jim Matheson in November. A victory over Matheson would make Love the first black Republican congresswoman in the House of Representatives.
"The Democrats, and the left, say I don't exist," Love said at CPAC in February. "I'm not supposed to exist. I'm a strong conservative, I'm female, I'm black — if anybody hasn't noticed. I'm a strong and a proud Republican, I am a daughter of immigrant parents, I believe in fiscal discipline because I grew up that way. I believe in limited government because my parents realized, 'Hey, the only thing I need is opportunity. I don't need charity, I just need opportunity.' And last, but not least, I believe in the power of personal responsibility and how that is the pride of Americans."
Love was listed as one of 10 powerful women in politics by the International Business Times, along with Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, first lady Michelle Obama, former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano.
In another attention-getter in the 2012 election with Mitt Romney as the presumptive Republican nominee for president — Love is also a Mormon. In her interview with CNN, Love discussed their shared faith, saying she didn't expect Romney's religion to be an issue in the general election.
"I don't think those are the issues that Americans really care about," Love said. "I think Americans care about jobs, the economy; they care about the debt and deficit spending . . . Being a Mormon is part of who he is as a person, and I don't think it should deter from the issues."
One of Love's goals, should she make it to the House of Representatives, is to join the Congressional Black Caucus in order to "take that thing apart from the inside out," she said.
In a Daily Caller op-ed piece, Love wrote that Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., the only conservative member of the CBC, needs some help changing the caucus's agenda.
"What he really needs are reinforcements in Congress who will better reflect the diversity of views held by black Americans," Love wrote. "The principles reflected in the tea party are not at odds with the values of black Americans. You don't have to be white — or black, or Hispanic, or Asian, or anything else — to care about the important issues facing our nation."
Love's message for both Matheson and Democratic party is simple: "Game on."
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