On Monday, The Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board endorsed Rep. Mia Love in the election for Utah’s 4th Congressional District. While we certainly respect the experience and knowledge of the editorial board and the decisions they make, as part of the leadership of a coalition of constituents who have spent two years advocating for this district, we feel it is important to clarify a couple of points from the editorial board’s endorsement.
Before we begin, it’s worth noting that most local political commentators feel the need to point out that the CD4 race is receiving national attention and money — often with an air of sadness, as if the small-town charm of Utah is slowly slipping away. We want to be very, very clear: We are Utahns. We are residents in CD4. We’ve been doing this work for years now and for the sake of our fellow constituents, we need to clarify the record.
While acknowledging Love’s lack of “legislative accomplishments,” the editorial board seemed to endorse Love as a symbol: her membership in bipartisan caucuses, her official positions on humanitarian issues like immigration. The problem is that Love’s record does not back up the things she claims (and The Tribune claims) she stands for.
For all her talk of bipartisanship, she has voted in line with President Donald Trump’s position over 95 percent of the time. Mia Love is nice as a symbol, but she is empty as a leader. Meanwhile, the reasoning for not endorsing Ben McAdams was that he’s too good at his job as a public servant to leave.
One of the points in Love’s favor from the endorsement is her membership with the Climate Solutions Caucus. While we believe that this is a good first step for Love, we don’t believe that membership in a caucus will fix climate change, and we have yet to see any behavior from Love that suggests she’s interested in doing anything actionable on this issue. In fact, the League of Conservation Voters gave her a lifetime score of 6 percent for votes that would have an impact on climate change. Her score puts her in the bottom 15 percent of all of Congress — and the bottom quarter of Republicans. Not exactly a climate champion.
The board’s endorsement also highlighted Love’s nonregressive views on immigration, which is more than anyone can say for the national GOP. Love’s own family story and words seem, on the surface, to be supportive of refugees and immigrants. And yet, during the family separation crisis this past June, Love could have introduced a bill similar to Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s bill in the Senate, which would have outlawed family separation, full stop.
Instead, Love backed a bill that would have stopped the separation of families in exchange for conservative immigration reforms. That bill used the terror of families as a springboard to advance a conservative agenda on immigration. In the end, the bill she supported failed.
Ultimately, the decision to send Love back to D.C. is on the shoulders of CD4 constituents, and to them we say this: We are your neighbors and your family members. We’ve been engaged in our shared communities for years and we have zero financial interest in this race. All we are interested in is a representative who listens to constituents, who speaks and votes with integrity and consistency, and who doesn’t promote themselves as bipartisan while voting in an overwhelmingly partisan manner.
Love is our “say everything, do nothing” representative, and we believe our fellow constituents deserve better.
Rachel Frost, Murray, and Chris Bell, West Valley City, are board members of Utah’s CD4 Coalition, a group created to elect progressive candidates and hold elected officials accountable, at all levels of government in Utah’s 4th Congressional District.