When I raised my hand to be sworn in as Utah’s attorney general in 1993, that moment represented a first for Utah, as I was the first woman to be elected statewide in Utah. At the time, I assumed I was the first of many. Sadly, 25 years have passed and I remain alone as the only woman elected statewide in Utah.
But we can change this in November by electing Jenny Wilson to the U.S. Senate.
Utah women were among those leading the rallying call for a woman’s right to vote, and Utah was the first to have a woman elected to a state house. Yet today only 20 percent of Utah’s legislators are women, and there are no women serving in statewide office. Electing Wilson would be historic; Utah has never had a female U.S. senator.
I worked with Wilson while I was serving as attorney general and she served as the chief of staff to U.S. Rep. Bill Orton. She was based in Washington and was the effective right hand, chief of staff and key policy maker to the congressman. Together and with Orton we worked on issues of federal concern to Utah. I couldn’t have been more impressed with Wilson’s abilities.
She is focused, hard-working and relentlessly positive, honoring the Wilson family legacy of leadership and compassion of her father, Ted Wilson.
After leaving Washington, receiving a graduate degree from Harvard and having a family, Wilson won a seat on the Salt Lake County Council, where she is now serving her second six-year term. She has prioritized issues of concern to families: fighting for wage fairness, protection of our environment, and health care.
Most important, she works across party lines to get things done — something desperately needed in Washington.
What a wonderful moment it would be to stand by and watch Jenny Wilson raise her hand to take the oath of office as a U.S. senator to represent the entire state of Utah.
It’s about time.
Jan Graham, St. George