The latest rising political star is so many anomalies that you could’t possibly make her up. You may want to sit down for this: She is black, Republican, lives in Utah and, yes, is a Mormon.
Her name is Mia Long. She is currently serving as the mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah, and has won the primary to become Utah’s Republican candidate of the 4th Congressional District. If she goes on to win the general election, she will become the first African American congresswoman to serve in the House of Representatives for the state.
Long has generated a lot of support and media buzz in the state because of her religious transformation. She is the offspring of Haitian immigrants who converted to Mormonism and she leads a city that has a microscopic minority population. But she feels right at home.
“I am the mayor of Saratoga Springs and I love it,” she says in a video to advance GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney and promote Mormonism. “I get to make this life better for me and for others.”
As she spoke from Salt Lake City, the state capital, she understands that garnering larger support outside of her small town outpost is a hurdle that no one has ever overcome. Not that many have ever tried.
“There may be some challenges. But, I love this place and love the people that are here, and I represent their beliefs and values,” she told the media.
These words are featured in a video produced by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and is part of the “I’m a Mormon” campaign. The church boasts nearly 14 million members. So, it can be easily be said that she is riding on Romney’s coattails and playing up her racial composite for maximum political effect. Besides that, Love refused to allow others to define her reality.
“There are a lot of people who have tried to define me as a person,” she said. I am not a victim, and I don’t allow anybody to put me in a box.”
Long downplayed her religion in talking about presidential prospect Romney’s chances to become the first Mormon president.
“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.”
And, no matter what her family and friends might say, she is not leaving the overwhelmingly white state of Utah anytime soon.
“My friends back home are always saying, ‘What are you doing in Utah?” answering the obvious question. But, she says. “What they don’t know is that when I came here, I felt accepted.”