Caroline Gleich: Don’t Count Us Out

By Caroline Gleich

This year, all eyes are on a handful of key swing states that may determine the outcome of the presidential election, as well as several congressional races that may dictate who controls Congress. While these are undoubtedly important battlegrounds to pay attention to, it would be a mistake for anyone to lose sight of other crucial races – like mine. My name is Caroline Gleich, and I am running to replace Mitt Romney, who will be retiring this year, as Utah’s junior senator.

Whether you live in Utah or not, my race will have massive implications for our democracy in 2024 and beyond. It’s possible, however, that you haven’t heard too much about it yet. Many are currently focused on other key Senate races in states like Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Wisconsin. But it would be a mistake to ignore those of us who are fighting to protect Utah – and America – this cycle. 

To understand the stakes we are facing in Utah, it is crucial to understand why Senator Mitt Romney decided to retire this year. During his time in DC, Mitt Romney made a name for himself for consistently being one of the only Republicans willing to stand up against his own party when his conscience demanded it. Now, he has paid the political price for it among the GOP faithful. His retirement will mean one less Republican willing to speak out against Donald Trump and his MAGA allies and stand up for the fundamental security of our democracy, and that’s something that should concern every American. 

I disagree with Sen. Romney on many issues, but I have immense respect for his willingness to serve with integrity. So, when he announced his retirement and called on the next generation of leaders to step up, I decided to take on this crucial task of defending democracy here in Utah and in the nation at large and to run as a first-time candidate and political outsider. 

It’s no secret that I don’t look like a typical Senator: I’m a 38-year-old professional ski mountaineer and climate advocate. I’ve summited Mount Everest and testified before Congress. I’m not an entrenched politician, and I don’t come from a political dynasty. As an athlete and long-time climate advocate, much of my prior political work has been focused on pushing elected officials on the local, state, and federal levels to take much-needed climate action and to transition to clean, renewable energy in a way that leaves no one behind. But I knew I had to run this year because there is too much on the line in this election to stand idly by. 

One of these crucial issues that this year’s elections will have a massive impact on is the unprecedented attacks on reproductive freedom. I have been especially horrified to witness the attacks on in-vitro fertilization (IVF) coming from extremists across the country. 

This issue is deeply personal to me: a year and a half ago, I decided to freeze my eggs and embryos for fertility preservation, using the same technology that thousands of women across Utah and across the country use every year to start a family. The idea that politicians could get in the middle of the decisions made between a doctor and a patient is sickening – everyone should be able to make the decision that I did. Americans are tired of being pawns in these increasingly extreme political games, and, here in Utah and across the country, we need leaders who will fight back.

The key to addressing this injustice regarding reproductive care and all the injustices that people face in our nation is to protect and preserve our democratic systems. Our democracy itself is on the line in November, and without it, all is lost. Not only are voting rights under attack by Republicans all across the country, but the Republican nominee for president has actively tried to overturn a free and fair election and is openly planning to do so again, supported by thousands of extreme MAGA allies in every state. 

It’s not going to be enough to just eke out a victory in November in some key swing states—we need to win definitively to protect our democracy. I believe that, on Election Night, we can and must win in states beyond the “battlegrounds.”And no one should count me or Utah out – we are working to make our voices heard and save our democracy here and nationwide.

To make that happen, it’s going to take a grassroots movement of people who understand that this is truly the most important election in our lifetimes. We’re building that movement here in Utah, and, because of that, I’m more optimistic than ever about the future of our state and our nation.

Caroline Gleich is a professional ski mountaineer, advocate, and the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate in Utah. Her campaign is focused on protecting Utah’s families, freedom, and future. 

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