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May 1st, 2012
02:41 PM ET

House candidate and rising GOP star is black, female - and Mormon

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - To call Mia Love a minority is an understatement. She’s a black woman who won an upset primary race to become the Republican candidate in Utah’s 4th Congressional District. If elected, she’d be the first black Republican congresswoman in the House of Representatives.

Love, who has attracted lots of national Republican support, also stands out because of her religion: She’s a Mormon. The politician is a poster child for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ campaign to present a more diverse face to a historically very white church.

“There are a lot of people who have tried to define me as a person,” Love, a daughter of Haitian immigrants, told CNN’s Kyra Phillips in an interview Tuesday. “I’m not a victim, and I don’t allow anybody to put me in a box.”

Speaking from Salt Lake City, she said, “There may be some challenges. But ... I love this place and love the people that are here, and I represent their beliefs and values.”

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Love is featured in a video series produced by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as part of its “I’m a Mormon” campaign, which aims to bring the faith of about 14 million members worldwide into the mainstream.

In the CNN interview, Love talked about how Mormonism would affect Mitt Romney’s candidacy more than her own, which is happening in the most Mormon state in the nation.

“You know I don’t think those are the issues that Americans really care about,” Love said when asked about the role of Romney’s religion in the presidential campaign. “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.”

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Love’s “I’m a Mormon” video shows her working as the mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah, her current job.

“I am the mayor of Saratoga Springs and I love it,” she says in the video. “I get to make this life better for me and better for others.

“My friends from back home are always saying, ‘What are you doing in Utah?'” she says in the video, referring to her East Coast upbringing. “What they don’t know is that when I came here I felt accepted.”

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- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints • Mormonism • Politics • TV-CNN Newsroom

soundoff (2,038 Responses)
  1. Doveab

    Good for her! Independet voters wish her luck, too! The dirty demcrat party of too day is too far left – and sucks!

    May 1, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
  2. Religion

    Okay religion aside, what has she actually done for the GOP to be considered a Star? i have never heard about her on the national level. and why do we really care? no offense but unless she is running for senate or congress, i can see how she could help me here in NY.

    May 1, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
    • souptwins

      I have no idea what makes her a "star" but she's been the mayor of a city and won the GOP convention to the new Utah Congressional district. I really think the only thing that makes this news is that she breaks some very tired and unfounded stereotypes.

      May 1, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
    • nairb247

      She was instrumental in taking a city that was really struggling and helping it become a thriving, fast growing city.

      May 2, 2012 at 12:21 am |
  3. Joel

    Could someone please give blam a quick history of slavery in North America, he or she keeps claiming this woman isn't African.

    May 1, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • bignickdiggr

      ya it seems that most, it not all forget it was their own brothers and sisters that made them a commodity.

      May 1, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
  4. Doveab

    She has a great head on her shoulders. The Left hates successful conservative black women ho seek smaller government. Now what will they do? Go Mia! ! ! ( ;

    May 1, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
    • JaeB

      You wouldn't know left with your right hand tied behind your back. Don't presume to speak for us, and especially don't lump us in with your intolerance. Have you forgotten we have waaaayy more women and people of color representing us, so I'm pretty sure we are just fine with women in power. Ever hear of Donna Brazile? Valerie Jarrett? Susan E. Rice? I will wait a few years when you all have shown your true colors to this woman and she pulls a JC Watts and sues the GOP for discrimination. LOL! It's like clockwork!

      May 1, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
    • texasmike

      One person does not reverse the anti-minority anti-woman policies of today's Republican Party or hardly reverse the anti diversity trend this going no where party practices. Keep on putting one person up...it only shows the huge disparity the republicans show to the real America.

      May 1, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
  5. bignickdiggr

    Amazing, it was only wha 25yrs ago that blacks had to actually bring suit against the LDS "church" in order to participate in the rituals and symbolism.

    May 1, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
    • bignickdiggr

      come to think about it...some 70 yrs ago a chap ..what was his name? o yes ADOLF, that was it! was into rituals and symbolism.

      May 1, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
    • JaeB

      Interesting screen name, partner.

      May 1, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
  6. JC Superstar

    If Mormon beliefs are true to hold, she can never really be a "true" Mormon. Nor, according to their beliefs, if I recall correctly, according to their beliefs black people can't go to heaven. She's just a token being used for political reasons. Only a few short years ago during an interview on Mormon beliefs they consider the black race a cursed race. Descendents of Ham. A race to be tolerated but never accepted. But anyway, American "Christian" worship a portrait of Cesare Borgia, the illetimate son born of Pope Alexander VI and his mistress. Today Americans refer to that portrait as Jesus Christ.

    May 1, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
    • Kev

      Actually you're mistaken. Case in point being that since people of all races can go to LDS temples for eternal marriages and so forth. If peoples from all races can go to an LDS temple then guess what, everyone of all races can receive the same blessings.

      May 1, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
    • Boo

      Yep, I second what Kev says.

      May 1, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
    • nairb247

      FALSE – you couldn't be more wrong. Nowhere in the LDS teachings does it say Blacks won't get into heaven.

      May 1, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
  7. Doveab

    Anyone but the Dems– the lefties who have infested out country with failure. I'll take the GOP over Obama any day!

    May 1, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
    • food

      Get off the puter Bubba and go shoot something for supper.

      May 1, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
    • texasmike

      An idiot for every forum...that's all we get from the republican party.

      May 1, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
    • JaeB

      Read a book or something. Infested with failure? Here's a trick question (it requires intelligence to answer) which party controlled the White House, Capitol Hill and Senate for seven years, deregulated the financial industry, started two wars, turned a surplus into a deficit and were in power for the worst terrorist attack in US history? Answer: the Republicans. Not only does your comment sound dumb in this particular forum, it reflects on you as a human being.

      May 1, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
  8. Bill

    Good for her but lets be honest here, even if she wins she's from Utah...Whens the last time any politician from Utah had a major say in anything?

    May 1, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • souptwins

      Hmm Ever hear of Orrin Hatch? How about Jon Huntsman?

      May 1, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
  9. R.L.

    GOP puppet, won't work for long, the GOP is terrible with economic policies on the national level, seen all the way from the Great Depression 100 years ago. They have nice words but the actions don't support economic growth for the masses.

    May 1, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
  10. Brandi

    This must be some kind of joke! How can she subscribe to a religion which considers her own race to be a curse. She might as well go join the KKK.

    May 1, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
    • Boo

      The jokes on you Brandi. Mormons do not believe race is a curse.

      May 1, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
  11. Qev

    Love should consider that her race and religion are only "challenges" in the context of dealing with those (Conservatives) that she claims to be one of. ..she should really consider that.

    May 1, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
  12. XerXeS_2012

    Mia Love = Bobby Jindal = Michael Steele, enough said.

    May 1, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
    • Qev

      And lest we forget–"the Herminator". laughable, all of them.

      May 1, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
  13. Jean Adam

    I would rather be an unknown Haitian than being a token in the GOP which does not care about Haitians.

    May 1, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
    • Damon

      Took the words out of my mouth Jean.

      May 1, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
  14. God's Oldest Dreamer

    Living in "the bubbles" goes without saying! We have been reduced to being mere augmentations of clay-mated dualities going so merrily down the road of never will end! We are pathetic in the streams of biased fundamentalists and egocentric magnanomists with a big heaping of serventile bastions! I will and not your will for me and my shadowy supplicants' neuropothies ever chhangling nano-sized partialisms! The runts of lethalities will litter their needs and the abundancies of pleasured dribbles will be afforded the peasents all!

    May 1, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
  15. Doveab

    Great woman!

    May 1, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
  16. yahmez the mad

    If she was also a lesbian albino midget eskimo wrestler, you would have the makings of a Dead Milkmen song.

    May 1, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
  17. Doveab

    Nice try, lefties - she is NOT being used. You on the left need to get a life. And a job.

    May 1, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
  18. Doveab

    MIa rocks! Go Girl! She is a success - not a victim. Look at her excellent record,folks! Yay for Mia!

    May 1, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
  19. Concern

    She is being used and it is sad she does not recognized it.

    May 1, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
  20. Blackman in Merica

    Interesting. This is a newer version of Barack Obama. Upgraded Puppet. It's like the Terminator movies, each one has an upgraded "robot."

    May 1, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.