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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah congressional candidate Mia Love is set to speak Tuesday night during a coveted slot at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla.
A darling of tea-party and conservative Republicans, Love has been characterized by her groundbreaking role in state politics, becoming Utah’s first black female mayor.
She now stands to become the first black Republican woman in Congress if she topples Jim Matheson, a Democrat, in the November election.
The daughter of Haitian immigrants, Love said the theme of her speech will be “The America I Know.”
She said she will talk about how her parents came to the U.S. seeking a better life and the American dream.
“As a result of Barack Obama’s disastrous policies, the American dream is under threat,” Love said in a statement Tuesday. “In my speech tonight, I intend to make the case that the best way to shore up that dream and return our country to prosperity is to elect real leaders like Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan — leaders who understand that America’s greatness is found in its people and not in government.”
Love took office as mayor of Saratoga Springs two years ago. Dubbed a rising GOP star, she has been getting a lot of support from top Republicans, with more to come.
Arizona Sen. John McCain and House Speaker John Boehner made recent stops in Utah to help Love raise money, and she was endorsed by Ann Romney, the wife of GOP presumptive presidential nominee Mitt Romney, in June. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice plans to give Love another boost Sept. 7.
“You can’t reach any of your dreams without opportunity, and opportunity is work,” Love told the Deseret News. “People are losing their opportunities to achieve their dreams. We’re in essence losing the American dream.”
Matheson held a news conference in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, a sharp contrast, he noted, to Love’s convention appearance.
“She’s back at a party meeting in Florida giving a partisan speech, while I’m here in Utah talking about real issues,” he said.
Matheson also accused Love of supporting efforts to get rid of federal aid for college students.
“If you want to talk about pursuing the American dream,” he said, “the American dream is about educating ourselves. I’m here in Utah for Utahns standing up for what they want.”
Meanwhile, a Democratic-leaning group, the House Majority PAC, launched an online ad claiming Love has consistently supported tax increases in Saratoga Springs.
“If you like how she raised taxes in Utah, you’ll love Mia Love in Congress,” the ad says.