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Mia Love: From dreams of Broadway to Capitol Hill
Mia Love » The Saratoga Springs mayor has become a rising star in the Republican Party.

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He didn’t remember any unusual strife between Love and her classmates, brushing it off as the standard drama within a drama department.

Love was "an excellent dancer" and a driven person, Mansfield said, but also "competitive but somewhat aloof." She said Love aggressively pursued friendships with people she felt were talented, but kept herself apart from her classmates at large, a number of whom she has lost contact with entirely.

At a glance

Mia Love bio

Age » 36

Family » Husband, Jason Love, and two daughters and a son.

Education » Bachelor’s in performing arts, University of Hartford Hartt School

Birthplace » Brooklyn, N.Y.

Occupation » Flight attendant, call center manager, fitness instructor and mayor

Hobbies » Music, long-distance running

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O’Dowd sees that as a sign of Love’s character.

"One of the things I like about Mia is that not everybody likes her, not because she isn’t a nice person but because she didn’t always go with the popular thought," she said.

Politics seemed unlikely, however, especially Republican politics, since so much of the theater community at the school was liberal.

"If she had the views she has now [back] then, she didn’t speak of them," said O’Dowd.

But a chance encounter with a Mormon missionary altered the course of her life, leading her away from the theatrical stage and toward a political one.

A mission and a missionary » The Bourdeau children were raised as faithful Catholics, so Jean and Maria Bourdeau were puzzled when their oldest daughter, Cynthia, decided to convert to Mormonism.

Love, who was very close to her older sister, was sent on a reconnaissance mission, to gather intelligence on her sister’s newfound faith and report back to her parents.

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"I was going to investigate for my parents, and I ended up [joining]," she said. "It wasn’t as odd or different as I thought it would be, and it was good. I ended up wanting to be part of it and the LDS faith just kind of worked for me."

Two missionaries, Elders Ryan Hill and David Valletta, taught Love about the faith. At one point, she briefly crossed paths with another missionary from Utah serving in the mission, Jason Love.

She barely remembered him, but he said he remembers her "very distinctly."

"It was this beautiful girl, and the thing that stood out to me was she was singing show tunes. I think she was singing something form ‘Les Mis,’" said Jason Love. "I was star-struck."

Not long after she graduated from college, Mia Love was baptized into the LDS Church, a decision her father has accepted.

"Everybody got their opinions about how you see things, but always believe in God," he said. "I sent them to school. They can do whatever they want to."

O’Dowd said the conversion was unexpected. "It threw me for a loop, totally," she said. But in typical fashion, Mia Love pursued the faith with vigor, the way she approached everything, O’Dowd said.

After school, Mia Love decided to spend a few months sorting out priorities before she figured she would dive into serious Broadway auditioning.

She landed a job as a flight attendant for Continental Airlines, which allowed her to be based anywhere in the country and, as a new member of the church, she wanted to be closer to an LDS temple and decided to move to Utah in 1998.

She got an apartment with a Utah Mormon who had nannied in Connecticut and called one of the few people she knew in her new town — Craig Smith, one of the missionaries she had met — to see if he could help them move in.

Smith was busy, but suggested she call Jason Love, who brought a friend and helped the women settle in. They barbecued afterward, and Mia Love got the idea of playing matchmaker between Jason Love and her roommate.

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