Author and activist Darlene McDonald will challenge Rep. Burgess Owens in the 4th District race

Democrat is the founder and director of the 1Utah Project.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Darlene McDonald speaks on the steps of the Capitol as hundreds of protesters gather for a gerrymandering demonstration, Wednesday, November 10, 2021.

Author and community activist Darlene McDonald announced her campaign for Utah’s 4th congressional district on Saturday, challenging Republican Rep. Burgess Owens.

McDonald recently founded the 1Utah Project, an organization that encourages civic engagement within underrepresented communities and combats misinformation. She is also a member of the Salt Lake City Police Department’s Commission on Racial Equity in Policing and was chair of the 2019 Utah Black Roundtable.

McDonald previously ran for a Salt Lake County Council seat in 2019 and ran for the Democratic nomination for the 4th District seat in 2017, though both campaigns were unsuccessful. In December, McDonald’s criticized Owens for an opinion piece he wrote who compared vaccination mandates to segregation.

In a press release, McDonald’s said she was running for Congress so she could fix overlooked issues, such as the country’s supply chain, its “crumbled infrastructure” and the national debt.

McDonald told The Tribune on Saturday that she did not plan to run because she did not want to be distracted from her work on educational equity. after the recent racist incidents in Utah schools. But she made the decision to run for Utah’s 4th District “when no one else would.”

“Democratic values ​​are Utah values, and we just need to learn what those values ​​are,” McDonald said. “And as long as we do that, people will see us. So we just have to hold on to that message – really not just make Utah a better place to live in, but make it a bigger and better America for everyone.

McDonald said she hoped to be a candidate for unity because she hasn’t heard “nothing positive at all” from Owens, and that even her social media is meant to “divide us as a country.” She understands that the people of Utah’s 4th congressional district might not agree with her on everything, but if they get elected, they’ll know she has her back.

“As a mother and grandmother, I want to ensure that our future generations have access to education, employment and home ownership,” McDonald said in the statement. “We can’t afford to just cross our fingers and hope for the best. We need members of Congress who, instead of focusing on distractions, do real work, on real issues that affect real Americans from all walks of life.

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