In 2014 Mia Love became the first black Republican woman ever elected to Congress.
Born December 6, 1975, Mia Love was raised in Connecticut, the daughter of Haitian immigrants. A converted Mormon, Love first got into politics in 2003, winning a city council seat in her adopted city of Saratoga Springs, Utah. Six years later she won the mayor’s seat. In 2014, Love captured Utah’s 4th Congressional District, making her the first black female Republican to win a congressional seat.
Mia Love was born Ludmya Bourdeau in Brooklyn, New York, on December 6, 1975. She is the youngest of three children and the daughter of Haitian immigrants, who’d come to America about a year before Mia’s birth with just $10 between them and knowing no English. Raised without much money, Mia has said her life and, later, her politics were shaped by her humble childhood.
“I had a front-row seat for two people living the American dream,” Love has often said.
The Bourdeaus eventually moved to Norwalk, Connecticut, where Love's father worked as a paint company manager and her mother was employed as a nurse.
For college, Love remained in Connecticut, graduating from the University of Hartford with a degree in fine arts in 1997. Not long after, she moved to Utah to stay with a friend for a short stretch. While there she fell in love with Jason Love, a Mormon missionary she’d first met in Connecticut. On their first date, Jason took Mia to her first firing range.
Mia soon joined the Mormon Church, and the couple was married in December 1998. Shortly after they were engaged, the talented Love was offered a role in the Broadway production of “Smokey Joe’s Cafe.” She turned it down, however, because it conflicted with her wedding. The Loves have since gone on to have three children.
Early Political Life
The Loves settled in Saratoga Springs, Utah, where Mia soon became engaged in community matters, especially some of the issues that had arisen between residents and the city’s bigger developers.
Love, who’d grown up in a Republican household—she has often cited in her political speeches the pride her father felt in casting a vote for Ronald Reagan—took up the mantle of many conservative causes, including pro-life causes and limiting social welfare.
Spurred by neighbors and other supporters, Love successfully ran for Saratoga Springs City Council in 2003, making her the first Haitian-American to win an election in Utah County, Utah.
Six years later she won the mayor’s seat, taking the helm of a city that was in the throes of a busted economy and soaring deficits. To help alleviate the financial stress facing Saratoga Springs, Love cut the budget, raised taxes and laid off personnel.
In 2012 Love ran for a seat in Congress representing Utah’s 4th Congressional District. After overwhelmingly capturing the Republican nomination, she was thrust into the national spotlight. A darling of the Tea Party, Love received praise from presidential contender and fellow Mormon Mitt Romney, his running mate Paul Ryan and Speaker of the House John Boehner.
Her celebrity was ratcheted up a notch when she gave a well-praised speech at the 2012 Republican National Convention.
Ultimately, though, Love lost her bid for the Congressional seat, in a close race with longtime Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson.
Two years later, Love ran for the same seat, defeating Democrat Doug Owens in an open race to succeed the retiring Matheson. The election made Love the first female black Republican to win a congressional seat.