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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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The four spent time together hiking or miniature golfing, but Jason Love had his eye on Mia. In September they went on their first date — shooting shotguns and pistols at a gun range, a first for Mia, but an activity she enjoyed.

"I thought, OK, I’m really going to like this girl," said Jason Love. "She always had a sense of adventure, always willing to try new things."

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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Within weeks they were engaged with the wedding set for mid-December. A few days before the wedding, Mia Love got an unexpected call offering her a leading role on Broadway in the musical "Smoky Joe’s Café," which she had been in as part of a national touring company, but they wanted her in New York by Wednesday, two days before their wedding.

Broadway had been her dream, but the wedding went ahead.

Metamorphosis » It was the end of one act in Mia Love’s life and the opening of a new one. She continued to do plays and community theater and taught music and acting at nearby schools, but she largely shelved her Broadway ambitions for a domestic life and, soon, motherhood.

She also shifted toward politics. She had been brought up believing it was important to vote — her father speaks with pride of casting his first vote as a citizen for Ronald Reagan and equal pride in his most recent vote for Barack Obama.

"That was my dream come true," he said. "I said to Mia: ‘You can vote for whoever you want. Me? I vote for Obama.’ I never thought black would become president."

Mia Love cast her first presidential ballot for George W. Bush, but her relationship with Jason Love pushed her much deeper into the political world.

"When she became a Mormon and she strongly found faith and she moved to Utah, that was a real metamorphosis," said O’Dowd. "And then all of a sudden she is in politics."

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Jason Love’s father was a software engineer and was politically active, drafting his sons to canvass neighborhoods and pitch in on local Republican political campaigns.

"All of the things my parents were teaching me, it kind of fit" the Republican philosophy, Mia Love says. "It started clicking, so even though I knew very early on I was Republican, I started actively getting engaged after I met my husband."

In 2002, after being drafted to win the "War of The Midges," neighbors turned to her to help solve other problems, squabbles with developers or the City Council.

About the same time, she was deeply disturbed by a California court case seeking to remove "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance and it prompted her to teach her 1-year-old daughter, who barely could speak in complete sentences, to say the pledge.

She and a neighbor, Aubrey Ewing, began attending City Council meetings to voice their frustration with this issue or that in their subdivision, which was seen as the problem community on the outskirts of the city.

"Even though we would come and voice our opinion, they did what they wanted anyway," said Ewing. "She [Love] said, ‘I guess really the only way to make things happen is to be part of the decision-making.’"

The next year, several seats on the council opened up, and with Jason Love pounding in lawn signs and Mia Love and Aubrey knocking on doors, Mia Love was elected to the City Council.

After six sometimes-turbulent years on the council, she decided to run for mayor of Saratoga Springs and won handily, becoming the first black female mayor in Utah.

At her swearing in, her parents sat nearby in the audience, beaming with pride.

"I smiled inside of me. I smiled all of my fibers," said Jean Bourdeau. "I said ‘wow.’ I am glad to see Mia go wherever she wanted to go."

Editors Note » Matt Canham reported from Connecticut.

Correction: Mia Love’s first presidential vote was for George W. Bush, not George H.W. Bush.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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