Utah ready to punch above its weight in Congress

WASHINGTON, D.C. — When the newest member of Utah's all Republican congressional delegation, Rep.-elect Mia Love, is officially sworn in on Tuesday, she'll make history as the first black woman Republican in Congress.

The already high-profile Love is joining what promises to be a powerful Utah delegation, with the state's other three House members and two senators holding key assignments in the GOP-controlled 114th Congress, including chairmanships of two committees in the House and the Senate Finance Committee.

With Republicans taking control of the Senate in the recent election, the longest-serving member of the delegation, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, becomes the Senate president pro tempore, a position that puts him third in the line of presidential succession behind the vice president and the House speaker.

"The delegation is in the strongest position ever to represent Utah," Love said. "I know that people are going to be paying attention to what Utah's doing and are going to be influenced by Utah's policies and how they actually help people."

With Rep. Rob Bishop as chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, Rep. Jason Chaffetz as chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Rep. Chris Stewart on the House Appropriations Committee and Hatch as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Utah is being seen as punching above its weight.

“I think this is, pound for pound, the most powerful delegation in the country by quite a ways,” said Kirk Jowers, head of the University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute of Politics and an elections law attorney with a Washington, D.C. law firm.


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