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Sen. Jani Iwamoto Awarded the Eleanor Roosevelt Award

By November 4, 2022January 28th, 2023No Comments

Sen. Jani Iwamoto is pictured with her family as she accepted the Eleanor Roosevelt Award on Oct. 3 in Salt Lake City. (Photo: Courtesy of Floyd Mori)

By Floyd Mori

Utah State Sen. Jani Iwamoto is the recipient of this year’s Eleanor Roosevelt Award, which was presented to her at the Utah Democratic Party’s 29th annual Eleanor Roosevelt Award Luncheon on Oct. 3 at the Little America Hotel in downtown Salt Lake City. Sen. Iwamoto has announced her retirement from the Senate after this term.

Sen. Iwamoto was elected to the Utah State Senate in 2014. She serves in Senate leadership as Assistant Minority Caucus Whip, as well as a member of nearly two dozen legislative committees. She is passionate about criminal and social justice issues, campus safety and environmental quality.

Iwamoto previously served on the Salt Lake County Council, where she became the first Asian American woman elected to a political office in the state of Utah.

The Oct. 3 awards program began with a welcome by Diane Lewis, who also gave closing remarks, and the Pledge of Allegiance was led by Gwen Springmeyer, who was awarded the Eleanor Roosevelt Award in 2021. After the invocation, Executive Director Thom DeSirant gave remarks. The presentation of the award was given by Karen Hale, former Utah State Senator and a previous awardee.

During her acceptance speech, Sen. Iwamoto told much of the story of Japanese Americans during World War II when they faced extreme discrimination and were placed in American concentration camps. She mentioned Eleanor Roosevelt’s disagreement with her husband, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, with regard to the treatment of Japanese Americans during the period of WWII.

Also on hand to congratulate Sen. Iwamoto were her husband, Steve, along with her mother and daughter, in addition to many of her friends from the community.

Among her many accolades, Sen. Iwamoto was a founding member of the Asian Pacific American Women’s Leadership Institute, and she has been a speaker for the New American Leadership Project, Asian Pacific American Institute of Congressional Studies, Asian Pacific Islander American Health Initiative, American Association of University Women, Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah, League of Women Voters, Real Women Run and other national and local organizations.