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Mia Love: We are the pioneers of our day

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Joy Jones, Primary General President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, right, and her second counselor Bonnie Cordon, left, ride in The Days of '47 Youth Parade on 500 South in Salt Lake City on Saturday, July 23, 2016.

Joy Jones, Primary General President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, right, and her second counselor Bonnie Cordon, left, ride in The Days of ’47 Youth Parade on 500 South in Salt Lake City on Saturday, July 23, 2016.

Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

If there is something that every visitor to my Washington, D.C., office quickly learns, it’s how much I love Utah. While no one chose this state for me, I can’t imagine living anywhere else. I love the breathtaking landscapes, the people, the communities, and the values Utahns exemplify. I am routinely amazed by the things Utahns are accomplishing. And I am grateful to all the pioneers who established and have since helped shape our remarkable state.

This weekend, Utahns across the state will gather together to celebrate those pioneers, both past and present. We will celebrate those who literally broke ground — to construct shelter, plant crops, etc. — as well as those who do so literally or figuratively, today, in an effort to continually improve our quality of life. Our state’s story is one which features ambitious, enterprising individuals and families who persevered in the face of opposition as they sought to improve their lives and communities. Utah pioneers looked at an arid landscape and saw opportunity. They were among the first to support women’s suffrage. And over the years, Utahns pioneered numerous new inventions that impact us to this day — including firearm models, the Zamboni, hearing aids and traffic lights. One Utah inventor, Philo T. Farnsworth, is memorialized with a statue in the United States Capitol that identifies him as the “Father of Television.”

Fortunately, we have maintained our ambition, pioneering spirit and desire to improve the world around us. Our state consistently leads the nation in job growth. Our business birthrate is one of the highest in the nation, featuring both homegrown and newly arrived entrepreneurs. We have the most independent-inventor patents per 1,000 working age residents. We have led the nation in medical device manufacturing. We lead the nation in volunteer service and charitable giving. And our efforts to reduce homelessness have been widely recognized. This is an exciting time to live in Utah.

News of our good fortune is spreading, and our population is expected to grow exponentially in the coming decades. With this in mind, I frequently think of what I can do in Washington to ensure our state continues to flourish and maintain its bold pioneer spirit. At a minimum, we will need access to clean water. That’s why I pushed for proper funding levels for the Central Utah Project in this year’s Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act. I co-sponsored legislation giving small, growing communities access to technical assistance they may need to provide residents with clean water. These are critical components of our state’s water future, and I will continue to support our infrastructure going forward.

I also strongly believe that access to high-quality education and training is crucial for Utahns to continue to lead. Meetings with Utah businesses and schools have made it clear that the demand for skilled workers in various fields is only growing. With this in mind, I have introduced two pieces of legislation designed to both help young adults make informed decisions regarding their education and to improve college affordability. I have also introduced legislation to promote training for physicians in newly recognized medical specialties. However, I recognize that training is increasingly required in a broad variety of fields. That’s why I’m a member of the Congressional Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus and am working to make sure CTE programs align with students’ academic and economic needs. I’m excited about these opportunities and look forward to working on this issue in the coming months.

Finally, I believe that preserving our pioneer spirit and facilitating success requires removing artificial barriers. As Utahns, we possess a boldness of spirit and a desire to determine our own fate, to write our own future. All too often, federal government overreach threatens this desire. For this reason I have co-sponsored a host of bills to rein in regulatory overreach and to eliminate burdensome taxes, such as the medical device tax. Our state has carefully reviewed its own regulatory package to determine which should be altered or eliminated. Our federal government should do the same. The intrinsic human desire to create and improve must be preserved.

Despite the challenges in our world, nation and state, this is an exciting time to be Utahn. Our story is still being written by us. We are the pioneers of our day. Our future is bright, and we welcome those with our values, our beliefs, our work ethic and appetite for service to join us and continue to help forge our future.

Mia Love, R-Utah, represents Utah's 4th Congressional District.