Utah's Mia Love Tells CNN: 'I Wasn't Elected' to Congress Because of My Race or Gender

November 6th, 2014 1:46 PM

On Wednesday morning's edition of This Hour on the Cable News Network, co-hosts John Berman and Michaela Pereira spoke with Mia Love, the Utah Republican who became the party's first black woman to win a seat in the House of Representatives as part of the midterm elections on Tuesday.

During the interview, Love asserted that race and gender “had nothing to do with” her victory over Democrat Doug Owens. Instead, she asserted that voters in the Beehive State “want to make sure that they are electing people who are honest and who have integrity, who can be able to go out and actually make sure that we represent the values that they hold dear.”

The segment began with a video of Love declaring as part of her victory speech: “Many of the naysayers out there said that Utah would never elect a black Republican LDS (the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) woman to Congress. Not only did we do it, we were the first to do it!”

Berman then stated that her election was “momentous for many reasons,” including the fact that “she is now part of this new, bigger majority for the Republicans in the House of Representatives” chosen on the same day the GOP gained control of the Senate.

“This is phenomenal,” Pereira then noted, since the Congresswoman-elect “is making history.”

After introducing Love, the co-host congratulated her on her victory and said: “I want you to share with us how you're feeling, and tell us why this time around -- because we know you tried in 2012 -- why you won this time.”

The Republican guest replied:

First of all, I'm excited. I'm absolutely humbled. I've been able to go out and talk to so many people in the Fourth District and listen to their stories, listen to what's happening, and the conversations that they're having at the kitchen table, and listening to how Washington's actually affecting them, and I've been able to go out and tell their story.

I am absolutely inspired by their strength and their courage.

“I'm so proud to be a Utahan,” she added. “I am so proud of this state.”

Berman noted that Love should indeed be proud of the people in Utah because their votes made history. He then asked: “What took so long, and what do you think needs to happen for more minorities to be elected by the Republican Party?”

“First of all,” she replied, “I think what we need to mention here is this has nothing do with race. Understand that Utahans have made a statement that they’re not interested in dividing Americans based on race or gender, that they want to make sure that they are electing people who are honest and who have integrity, who can be able to go out and actually make sure that we represent the values that they hold dear.”

“That's really what made history here,” Love continued. “Principles had everything to do with it, and Utah values had everything to do with it.”

Pereira then challenged Love: “There will be those that will say not so much dividing on the basis of race, but just making sure that everybody ... has a fair shot at getting a seat at the table.”

“Again, you have to understand,” the Republican replied, “in Saratoga Springs, there are very few black residents. … I was elected because of the solutions that I put at the table because I promised I would run a positive, issues-oriented campaign, and that’s exactly what resonated.”

“The House of Representatives is the branch of government that's closest to people, and that's who I am,” Love added. “I am a person of the people, and so my job is to make sure I'm representing them at every turn.”

Berman agreed that her chamber of Congress is the “People's House.” “You have the job,” he then stated before asking “and what are you going to do with it? What's the first area where you think you can work with Democrats to get something done?”

“One of the things we need to talk about is balance,” Love responded before noting:

Right now, there is no balance in government. Washington has gotten too big, and people have gotten too small, so we've got to start rolling up our sleeves in making sure that we bring balance back to government.

People should have the ability to make decisions, … and we're going to do everything we can at every point to restore power back to the people.

“Congresswoman-elect Mia Love: That must sound really great to hear,” Pereira said. “Revel in that and then, as you said, roll up those sleeves and get to work.”

“Now the real work begins,” Love concluded.