40 Under 40: Mia Love Is On A Mission

The 37-year-old Republican mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah, lost her bid for Congress in 2012, but is currently preparing to run again in 2014. Love shares with us what inspires her, her pride in her children and her hopes for the future.

JET: How/Why did you get into politics?

Mia Love: Well it certainly was not something I said I wanted to do when I grow up. On my first day of college, my father said to me, “Mia, your mother and I have done everything we could to get you here, you will not be a burden to society—you will give back.” That stuck with me. So I tried to do everything I possibly could to teach my kids that the world doesn’t revolve around us, that they are going to have to serve. I try to do what I can to make sure that I am giving back to my community and this country that I love.

JET: What would you say is your biggest accomplishment to date?

Love: On the surface I would say it’s taking a city from the brink of bankruptcy to being financially stable. But I think that the biggest accomplishment is that my kids, through seeing my service, they realize that the world is their oyster and that they can do anything that they want but they have to make it mean something, it has to be worthwhile.

My kids don’t just want to go out and make money, they want to contribute. My oldest daughter wants to be a rocket scientist and she’s fantastic, she can absolutely do that if she wants to. It’s not just “I want to grow up, get married and have children,” they are trying to look at what they can do to contribute and also have a meaningful life. So I think that that’s pretty cool.

JET: Is there anything that you are currently working on or that you still hope to achieve while in office?

Love: I’m hoping to do whatever I can to empower women, people of color and young kids, to come and sit at the table. I think so many times our country has just been led by political elites. And really, the people who have made the difference in our country are regular moms and dads. They are the ones who have always been able to move from the ground up.

If you think about the things that Martin Luther King did, he did not start with political elites. King started on the ground and made sure that people were raising their voices and getting together to accomplish something good. So if I want to accomplish anything, it would be to create prosperity in this country so that people have opportunities to provide for themselves and they don’t have to depend on anybody to do it for them.

That instead of going into a line and waiting for somebody to help and give them food, they can go out and work and gain their own food. I want to be able to create a generation of people who are able to give back and grow their communities and do better in their communities.

JET: What is the best advice you have ever given or received?

Love: My advice to everyone would be to not fit into this mold that society wants you to fit in— go out, learn and make your own decision. Also, I believe we have the capability to improve our community. Every chance that we can, we need to make sure that we are helping people around us and building a generation of strong, capable individuals. So go out, learn, make decisions, make mistakes and learn from them.

JET: What does an ideal world look like for you?

Love: An ideal world would be where people can make decisions on their own, suffer the consequences and reap the benefits. A lot of people think that failure is a bad thing and it isn’t. My parents have failed many, many times; what has been great is that they have been able to learn from their failures and grow. I want to create a society that is not dependent on anybody—on a federal government or a local government.

JET: What does success mean to you?

Love: To me, success is achieving the American dream. Whatever your dream is, whatever the American dream is, whether it is owning a car or owning your home…that would me my definition of success.

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