If Mia Love is elected to Congress, she would make history as the first black female Republican ever to hold a U.S. House seat, but the small-town mayor said she isn't seeking the job for the high paying government salary. Members of Congress make $175,000 per year.
Love, the mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah, said she has "no problem with having a pay cut."
"The pay means nothing to me," Love told CY Interview's Chris Yandek and Jay Bildstein. "My husband provides a great living for all of us and you know I'm obviously not doing this because I need a job."
Considering the entire personnel budget for Saratoga Springs' mayor and five city council members was $36,000 in 2010, the $175,000 salary for a member of Congress is likely 10 times higher than Love's current salary.
"You know I have to tell you, this is going to be a sacrifice for myself and my family," Love said. "I'm only doing this because I realize that the situation that my children are facing and my potential grandchildren will be facing in this country."
But that doesn't mean she wants to work for free.
"As long as I can go to and from work and it doesn't create a heavy financial burden, I'm perfectly fine with a pay cut," she said. "That's not a big deal."
As an African American woman, Love has emerged as a rising star of the Republican Party. Currently there are only two black Republicans in Congress, South Carolina Rep. Tim Scott and Florida Rep. Allen West.
Last week Love scored a major endorsement from Ann Romney, the wife of GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Love may need all the support she can get as she faces off against 6-term Democrat Jim Matheson, who was leading Love by 15 points in the latest poll.
There are other lawmakers who have rejected all or part of their federal salary. Rep. John Yarmouth, D-KY, has donated his congressional income to charity every year since he was first elected in 2006.
Update: This post has been updated to reflect that Love, while she supports a pay cut for lawmakers, would not forgo a salary entirely.