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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended May 14, 2000
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Sent on Mormon-News: 26May00

Summarized by Kent Larsen

LDS Grandmother To Challenge Hansen
Salt Lake Tribune 12May00 D2
By John Heilprin: Salt Lake Tribune

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- An LDS mother of 10 and grandmother of four will challenge Representative Jim Hansen (R-Utah) for Utah's 1st Congressional District seat in November. Kathleen McConkie Collinwood is an attorney and community activist from Bountiful, Utah who will try to prevent Hansen from re-election to an 11th term in the US House of Representatives. Hansen is also a member of the LDS Church.

Challenging Hansen in the sprawling 1st district, which extends from Brigham City in northern Utah 400 miles south to St. George may seem daunting, but McConkie Collinwood has at least one major advantage, her family name. She is the niece of former LDS Apostle Bruce R. McConkie and of current LDS Apostle Joseph B. Wirthlin. Other uncles include Bruce R. McConkie's brother Oscar, a senior attorney for the LDS Church and Joseph B. Wirthlin's brother, pollster Richard B. Wirthlin, who is a member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy.

But McConkie Collinwood's advantages aren't limited to her name. She thinks that the fact that she is a woman is an advantage, "One of the reasons I think it's winnable is because I really think women haven't been represented, but there are more women who are voting than men in some of the counties," she said in an interview with the Salt Lake Tribune.

Friends compare her to Utah's most well known female politician, Martha Hughes Cannon, who in 1897 became the first woman state senator in the US. Others compare her to Reva Beck Bosone, the former Salt Lake City judge who became Utah's first woman in Congress in 1950. "She is the epitome of what a Democratic woman is -- moderate and LDS, homemakers, but, like a lot of Utah women, she works," said Meghan Holbrook, head of the Utah Democratic Party.

McConkie Collinwood hasn't had any prior elected experience, but was involved in Concerned Citizens of Bountiful, and in 1996, she ran for a four-year term on the Davis County Commission, loosing to incumbent Gayle Stevenson. She taught public school after graduating from BYU and before receiving her law degree from Minnesota's Hamline University in 1983. She is a senior partner at the Salt Lake City firm Randle, Deamer, McConkie &Lee.

Weber State University Political Scientist Marcy Everest says that McConkie Collinwood faces a major challenge, however, "The biggest challenge that she's going to have, as with any challenger, is getting name familiarity and getting some image out to the public. How well she does that is largely dependent on her organization and her money."

McConkie Collinwood says that she will emphasize children's issues. "We're no longer this little place that's set apart from the world. In today's world, you're a world citizen, not just a Utah citizen, and our children need to be educated well so they can compete nationally and internationally," she said.


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