During his comments for the first day of Utah Legislative Session, Speaker Brad Wilson acknowledged the 2020 anniversaries of 100 years since the passage of the 19th amendment, which prohibited gender-based voting discrimination, and the 150th anniversary of when a Utah woman became the first female to vote in the United States.
“To women throughout our state," Wilson said. "I want you to know that we need your voice. We need your experience. And we need you to be an active part of the important process of public policy."
Candice Backus Pierruci, one of the newest members of the Utah House, said she is excited to be here during such an important commemoration.
“I'm ecstatic that it's the hundredth anniversary. Susan B. Anthony is a hero of mine," Pierruci said.
When it comes to fostering the female involvement Speaker Wilson encouraged, Pierruci said she believes that culturally Utahns can do a better job supporting women by allowing them to be both parents and professionals.
Aimee Winder Newton, the only female running for governor, said she believes people should vote for the best candidate regardless of gender, but that she is excited to see more women becoming involved in the state.
“Harvard business studies show that when both men and women are at the decision-making table that better outcomes happen," Winder Newton said. "I think that that's true in government as well. And so to have more women involved in Utah government is huge. I think it's very important for our state.”
Currently, a quarter of Utah legislature is female-- a historic high for the state. During his speech, Speaker Wilson commemorated that fact that both Salt Lake County and Salt Lake City have female mayors.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story mispelled Aimee Winder Newton's name. That has been corrected.