Mia Love: She’s Black, She’s Mormon, & She’s a Rising GOP Star Running for Congress

Recently, in a conversation about Mitt Romney with a friend, I joked that there was no way that a Black Republican of Mormon faith existed. In my mind the odds of this person existing was somewhere up there right along with the reality of pink unicorns, Santa Claus, and Mark Sanchez winning a Superbowl with the New York Jets this upcoming season. My friend said that I might be surprised to know that there is at least one of us out there. He added, that even more surprising would be if said person existed, and that they were gay.

We had a good laugh about the possibility of such an existence which seems to contradict everything about black folk and politics. I realize it’s hard to believe that there aren’t a more black folks willing to spew turds from our mouths to find favor with “certain people” who make up the Republican Party, the Tea Party, or whatever those crazy, slightly-wealthier-than-average white folks, decide to call themselves these days — yes Allen West, I’m looking at you, buddy. But lo and behold, I came across someone today that just totally blew my mind. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Congressional candidate, from the great state of Utah, Mrs. Mia Love:

Amid the crowded field of House candidates across the country in 2012, expect to hear a lot about Mia Love, a Republican who is an African American and a Mormon and who on Saturday defeated a handful of rivals to clinch the party nomination in the campaign for Utah’s fourth congressional district. Love is preparing to face incumbent Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson. Victory in November would make her the first black Republican congresswoman in history.

A Brooklyn-born Mormon convert, Love is a marathon-running mother of three and the daughter of Haitian immigrants who came to the United States with $10 in their pockets, she says. Her mother cleaned houses and worked as a nurse at a retirement home while her father worked for a painting company, toiled as a janitor at a Catholic school and drove a school bus to support their growing family.

“I am a product of that hard work,” she said in an interview with Yahoo News, “a product of the American dream.”

Love’s political career began when she was elected to the city council in the small town of Saratoga Springs, Utah, in 2004. She became mayor six years later and her House candidacy has received cash from an impressive list of Republican big wigs like House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Budget Chairman Paul Ryan and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy.

Well aware that she is unique when lined up next to most Republicans in the caucus, Love doesn’t shy away from being a poster child for her party.

“We have an opportunity to reach some of our fellow Americans that we haven’t been able to reach, ever, on the conservative side,” she told Yahoo News. “And if I can reach our fellow Americans and get them to believe what we believe–that the way that they’re going to realize the American dream is through hard work and that they can do it, then I’m happy to play that role. I’m happy to be the example.”

While talking policy, she comes across as a tax- and regulation-slashing, tea party conservative infused with a leave-us-alone libertarian streak, a hallmark of western Republicans.

“I know what the proper role of government is,” she said. “I don’t really want to know what’s going on in somebody’s backyard. It’s not my job to know what’s going on in their backyard and I try to stay out of everyone’s personal lives and their property.”

During the Republican primary, Love raised less than $120,00, falling short of three other candidates vying for the nomination. On primary day, however, she received 70 percent of the vote, walloping  state legislator (and lead fundraiser) Carl Wimmer, who had the backing of tea Utah Sen. Mike Lee, a tea party favorite.

Matheson, her new Democratic opponent with a $1.2 million war chest, could be her greatest challenger yet.

If she makes it to Washington, Love said she plans focus on opposing federal regulations–particularly those set by the Environmental Protection Agency–and will immediately join the Democrat-led Congressional Black Caucus with Florida Rep. Allen West, currently the only Republican member of the group, with hopes to “change it from the inside out.”

“I told Congressman West to hang in there, reinforcements are coming, and while I respect the ideas of some of these representatives to care for the poor in their community, I reject the notion that government dependency is the way to do it,” Love said. “I am ready to go in and change it from the inside out.” (source)

When I read the above piece, my first question was: how in the hell does the child of Haitian immigrants raised in Brooklyn wind up in Utah? But then I realized that I’m the son of West Indian immigrants from Trinidad & Tobago, and that I’ve been getting the very same question for the last twenty five years myself. Yep, I get the the, “Why do you talk funny, and how did you wind up in Memphis,” question all the time. But even so, I’m still shocked that she has surfaced in Utah.

I am because for a long time I didn’t know there were black folks in Utah other than the players on the NBA’s Utah Jazz, and Gary Coleman. But once again, I’m proven wrong; and this time, by a female Black Republican Congressional candidate from Utah with a name that sounds like it could be mentioned as the feature act at a local strip club. OK, so that sounded kinda sexist, but if you say her name with that perverted strip club DJ voice, it really isn’t once you do it.

That aside, Mia Love could possibly be the next GOP rags to riches story; she’s like Sarah Palin, but a lot more intelligent. Not that I expect her to be on anyone’s GOP presidential ticket any time soon. But don’t be surprised if she is in the future once her stock rises, providing that she wins:

Hmm, the Obama administration is anti-jobs? Interesting…

As a child of Caribbean immigrants myself, just like Mrs. Love, I would be interested in hearing her thoughts on immigration reform. I wonder what are her views on Haitian immigrants seeking asylum here in the US, and just how the broken system slows their attempts to live the American dream she touts in the following campaign ad. According to her website love4utah.com, her stance on immigration, or more specifically “illegal immigration” as it says is pretty typical: Protect our borders and remove the magnets.  Only after we have plugged the hole in the boat can we begin to deal with the water in it. No word on whether she supports comprehensive immigration reform, or even a guest worker program much like the one recently passed in Utah that was subsequently struck down by the Feds.  Nope, just more of the same right-wing immigration talking points that ignores the fact that illegal immigration from Mexico has declined sharply since 2005 according to a Pew study.

I must say that though we may differ when it comes to political ideology and philosophical debate. I am however encouraged to see a black woman running for office in a district that is indeed predominantly made up of people of un-color. Truth is, we need more women in government, and we can never have too many people of color in government. That is, unless they’re not willing to focus on the needs of we the people; in particular, the lives of women and minorities.

Best of luck to you, Mrs. Ludmya “Mia” Bourdeau-Love!