After 10 years in the Utah Legislature, former state Rep. Becky Edwards now has a higher office in mind — the U.S. Senate.
Earlier this month, Edwards hosted an event in Provo where she engaged with supporters and spoke about why she chose to enter the race.
“I remember looking at the current political environment and rhetoric and thinking it can be better,” she said. “We deserve better in our state. We deserve someone who is actually really working hard for us to find solutions that actually move the needle forward on issues that are really important to people. I know things can be better.”
For Edwards, her optimism is backed up by a long career in state government. From 2009-2018, Edwards represented Woods Cross, West Bountiful and North Salt Lake as a Republican member of the Utah House of Representatives. She prides herself as a leader who is willing to work across the aisle to make substantive change for constituents and touts her role in passing a climate resolution and creating an affordable housing commission as prime examples.
Many Utahns feel “unheard, underrepresented and unseen,” Edwards said, and she feels that her campaign’s message resonates with those who feel left out.
The race to challenge two-term incumbent Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, is already a crowded one. Edwards and Ally Isom are challenging Lee as Republicans, while 2016 presidential candidate Evan McMullin is running as an independent.
Still, Edwards sees an opportunity to stand out from the crowd by appealing to traditional conservatives as well as moderate and liberal voters.
“For me, it’s about tone, and moving away from the hyper politicization of issues,” she said. “It’s also about returning to policies that matter the most to people.”
Supporters seem drawn to Edwards’ style and rhetoric, and welcome the unifying message she offers.
“I don’t agree with everything that Becky has to say, but I think that she represents someone who is more focused on good policy and someone of good character,” said Isaac Lamoreaux, a volunteer who works on campus engagement and policy research.
As a gay person, Lamoreaux said he doesn’t feel he has a home in the GOP, but sees Edwards as someone who could help open the door.
“I would say there’s a big difference between someone like Becky Edwards and what has been the Republican establishment for a very long time,” he said. “I think things are changing for gay people in conservative politics. There isn’t much of a place for us here yet, but someone like Becky I think is able to bring everyone to the table.”
Others hope Edwards can help unite an electorate split sharply down party lines. Alisa Mercer has been a constituent since Edwards’ days in the Utah House and said she has already seen Edwards have that effect on people.
“In my front yard I had a Biden sign, and my neighbor had a Trump sign, but we both agree on Becky,” she said.
As a senator, Edwards knows she will have a unique opportunity to make real change for Utahns and contribute to a more productive and less hostile manner of governing.
“We’ve seen the destructive nature of the political discourse. It’s damaging to our democracy,” she said. “What I know about the U.S. Senate — and I get excited about this — is that one voice can make a difference. We’ve seen examples over and over of one voice being obstructionist, one voice contributing to the gridlock that’s so damaging. On the other hand, we have also seen those individuals who have stepped forward and worked with their other Senate colleagues to work for solutions on right-sizing pieces of legislation and hammering out better solutions. One voice can make a difference.”
While the 2022 general election is still nearly a year away, the race that will likely decide who ends up in D.C. — the Republican primary — is scheduled for June 28, 2022. Beginning on Jan. 3, 2022, Edwards will need to secure 28,000 signatures from registered voters to appear on the ballot. In order to vote for a Republican in the primary, voters must register with the party no later than March 31, 2022.
More information about Edwards and her campaign can be found on her website.
Bridger Beal-Cvetko is a senior at Utah Valley University where he is studying journalism. He has been with the UVU Review since 2019, where he has covered the UVU men’s basketball team and the softball team during his time as Sports Editor. Bridger has also worked as a producer for ESPN 960 AM. Aside from sports, Bridger is an ardent cinephile, and loves reading fantasy and science fiction novels.