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Stay up to date on all the latest from the campaign trail with KUER's coverage of the 2014 Mid-Term Elections.

Panel Examines Role of Women in Utah Politics

Terry Gildea/KUER

Three women running for Utah congressional seats were part of panel discussion Wednesday night that examined the growing role women could play in the state’s political future.  

It’s been 20 years since Utah voters elected a woman to represent them in Congress. But in this mid-term election cycle, women are running in three of the state’s four congressional districts. All of them were on hand Wednesday night. Natalie Gochnour, the Associate Dean of the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah was also on the panel.  She started off the discussion noting that the differences between  men and women can complement each other in government.

“So you have to both those masculine and feminine values coming together in the public square to represent all the things that are important to us, strength and goodness. And so I say we want more women in public office because we need that balance,” said Gochner.

Republican Mia Love is running again in the fourth district. She encouraged women in the audience to  use their talents to help other people and find the courage to run for office.

“When you decide to run, know what you’re running for. Because if you spread yourself too thin you really accomplish nothing.  Figure out what you want to do, make no apologies for it. Go and just do it,” said Love.

Democrat Donna McAleer is running for the seat in district one.  She urged women to get out the vote and most importantly, vote for the candidate that moves them.

“You need to make the decision on your own. Not your spouse, not your partner or anybody else.  I cannot tell you during the 2012 campaign how many times I heard from women in this district ‘my husband hasn’t told me who we’re voting for.  Ok, it makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up.  This is your decision,” said McAleer.

Utah State Senator Luz Robles is running as a Democrat in district two. She said that women often have to work harder than men to convince voters  they’re qualified for office.

“You know sometimes men may feel comfortable with me representing them. It takes time.  I think for example as a Senator I’ve been able to gain respect from my own constituents with time. They’ve come back and said ‘you know I didn’t vote for you the first time.  I like what you’ve done’,” said Robles.

Former State House candidate Sarah Nitta and Dr. Susan Madsen from Utah Valley University were also on the panel. The event was organized the Community Foundation of Utah and the Utan Women’s Giving Circle.

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