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Utah’s legislature doesn’t reflect the population. 2 millennials want to change that

Nate Blouin, State Senate Primary Campaigning, June 2022
Emily Means
Democratic candidate Nate Blouin challenged and defeated veteran state Sen. Gene Davis in the 2022 June primary.

The average age in Utah is 31 years old, making it the youngest state in the nation. However, the majority of Utah lawmakers were born in the Baby Boomer era.

Two millennial Utahns hope to add younger blood that reflects more of the state’s population.

When Rep. Candice Pierucci, R-Herriman, was 27 years old, a new mom and running for the Utah Legislature in 2019, she said many people asked if she was even old enough to legally become a lawmaker. She said she’s always had an inkling for politics and felt motivated to represent people that looked like her on Capitol Hill.

“It actually would be helpful to have someone who is still balancing the budget every month, trying to do grocery shopping with a calculator and who could be reflective of young families,” Pierucci said. “And there are so many in Utah.”

Pierucci emphasized the importance of her perspective as a young person and woman in politics.

“When I talk to constituents, we're talking about the price of gas, the price of groceries. It's more than just empathizing. I'm living it,” she said. “And so I feel like it helps inform the decisions I make up at the Capitol.”

The Utah House of Representatives during the 2022 legislative session, Jan. 25, 2022.
Ivana Martinez
The Utah House of Representatives during the 2022 legislative session, Jan. 25, 2022.

On the other side of the aisle is Nate Blouin, the Democratic nominee for State Senate District 13.

In the June primary, he beat incumbent Gene Davis, who had been a Utah lawmaker for 35 years. That’s longer than 33-year-old Blouin has been alive.

At first, Blouin thought his age might be a disadvantage. But once he started knocking on doors around the Salt Lake Valley, he noticed being 33 might be an asset.

“There are a lot of people who are ready for newer, younger leadership in the state,” Blouin said. “We are the youngest state in the nation and we haven't seen that represented in the legislature in particular.”

Blouin won the primary with nearly 76% of the vote. He’ll face Republican Roger L. Stout in the November midterm election.

Both Pierucci and Blouin would like to see more young Utahns run for state office. And they have similar pieces of advice: get involved in local politics now.

Pierucci recommends attending committee hearings hosted by the Utah Legislature.

“That's where we take public comment. That's where we really drill down on legislation,” she said.

She also suggests getting involved early by participating in political internships and working on campaigns.

Blouin advocates for young Utahns to start close to home.

“Just looking for opportunities to get involved in your community and stepping up, whether that's on a community council or a nonprofit board,” he said.

Saige is a politics reporter and co-host of KUER's State Street politics podcast
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