Congress Love file

Utah Republican U.S. Rep. Mia Love speaks during a campaign rally in Lehi in this 2019 photo.

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The Center for Growth and Opportunity at Utah State University announced former U.S. Representative Mia Love as the research center’s national outreach director on Tuesday

“I’m excited to be joining such a great group of people,” Mia Love stated in a press release. “The CGO’s data-driven, non-partisan approach to research is a breath of fresh air and exactly what we need in DC right now. I’m excited to get the data from the research out there and work with students to give them a unique perspective of how policymaking works.”

According to the CGO’s press release, Love will be driving “coalition-building efforts in immigration, the environment, and technology & innovation.” Executive Director Christopher Koopman said developing public policy research for those three aspects is the primary focus at CGO.

“Being here in Logan, and on Utah State University’s campus, we’ve come to identify that we need to work with people who not only share our vision for what evidence-based, principled public policy conversations look like, but also have an understanding of how the politics and the policy world work,” Koopman said. “Working with Mia is really going to give us a better insight into the people we should be talking to, the committees we should be focusing on and the right audiences for our research.”

Koopman said throughout Love’s career in public policy, she has remained committed to principle despite politics, and those principles are in line with those of the CGO — in particular, “respect, accountability and entrepreneurship.” For Koopman, the CGO strives for integrity in their work and following the data where it goes “regardless of the outcomes, or how it may require us to rethink our own personal priors as researchers.”

“Mia’s time in office in her career has been just that — it’s been challenging political norms, it’s been standing up for your own personal beliefs,” Koopman said.

The CGO is focused on policy research, not politics, Koopman said, meaning research questions are asked in good faith. For Koopman, any concerns about the research center’s funding (In 2017, it was announced that USU would receive a $25 million donation from the Charles Koch Foundation — a portion of which went to the CGO) or any purported political biases are obsolete. Koopman said the CGO’s research can’t be placed in any partisan box.

“As we’ve continued to produce more research over the intervening three years, right, since the founding of the CGO,” Koopman said, “the pigeonhole that someone may have thought we were in, in 2017 or 2018, just doesn’t exist anymore. And that’s because our research speaks for itself.”

Elected to Utah’s fourth congressional district in 2014, Love served two terms before being defeated by former Salt Lake City Mayor Ben McAdams. According to the press release, Love was the first Republican Black woman to serve in Congress and was an advocate for immigration reform. In 2018, The Deseret News reported Love called for a compromise bill that would stop the separation of families at the border, and spoke to her own parents’ immigration and pathway to citizenship in the U.S.

Love is currently a CNN correspondent, a non-resident senior fellow at the United States Studies Centre and the University of Sydney, and is a fellow of the Institute of Politics and Public Service at Georgetown University, the press release states.

According to Koopman, Love had connections to the research center through a family member who was a former fellow, and her former chief of staff, Ivan Dubois, is currently the Development Director at the CGO.

“We’re lucky to partner with Mia,” said CGO President Blake Dursteler in the press release. “She will be a huge asset for the center as we continue to grow as an organization. She brings not only experience and knowledge but commitment to principles, and the CGO will be the better with her here.”

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