Bidding to become the first female senator from Utah, Jenny Wilson made a stop along the campaign trail at Weber State University on Nov. 13 for a meet and greet with students.
Wilson has a long history of political involvement, even as a child, when her father served as Salt Lake County mayor. She is currently serving her second six-year term on the Salt Lake County Council, where, in 2005, she was the first woman ever elected to the council.
Following in the footsteps of her father, Wilson ran for Salt Lake County mayor in 2007 but lost to Peter Corroon. She also worked as press secretary for U.S. Rep. Bill Orton (D-UT).
Wilson is campaigning to win the democratic nomination for the seat currently held by president pro tempore and Sen. Orrin Hatch. Hatch has been in the seat since 1977, when he ran a campaign on term limits, and he is the longest serving republican senator in U.S. history.
If Hatch wins, he’ll be 90 years old at the end of the next six-year term.
“I woke up after the last election … and I didn’t like the idea of these elite republican men saying ‘this is mine,’” Wilson said. “And win or lose, I have a voice for the next year to touch on the concerns of Utahns. It’s really empowering.”
Wilson has one democratic opponent, Mitchell Vice. If she receives the party nomination over Vice, she could face-off with Hatch or Mitt Romney, although neither of them has officially declared
If it came down to campaigning against Romney or Hatch, Wilson would prefer the latter.
“I like Mitt,” Wilson said. “I work for him. I like his wife. But I hope it’s Hatch.”
Weber State University democrats hosted the meet-and-greet in the Shepherd Union at the request of Wilson’s campaign. It gave students the chance to meet Wilson and ask questions.
When Wilson told the students why she’s running for Senate, she drew upon her history of working with her republican counterparts to get bills passed. She believes this is why she’s needed in nation’s legislative system.
“Washington is broken — everyone knows that. I think one of my strengths is reform. … I come from a time when republicans and democrats worked together, and we need the 2018 version of that,” Wilson said.
Wilson spent an hour meeting and speaking with other students. She plans to make another stop in Ogden sometime before the election to meet with more voters.
Wilson is excited to campaign, saying it has become a full-time job. She’s looking forward to traveling throughout the state.
“Campaigns are long and tedious, but when I head out the door in the morning, I know that I’m going to have the opportunity to interact with constituents, and I love that,” Wilson said.