Jonia has a B.A. in History from Columbia College, but included stints at Ricks College, Fullerton College, BYU, and Cal Poly, Pomona. She did an unofficial minor in Journalism at Fullerton College and won awards for her writing, particularly while serving as editor of the college magazine, The Communicator.
She has worked in retail, in public relations as a writer and account executive, as an assistant editor and information services manager for a specialty publishing company, as a traffic manager at a court transcription company, as a school music and choral teacher, she published a children’s book, and started her own small business.
Jonia has also been involved in the community and politics throughout her life, working on campaigns for national, state, and local candidates. She put on annual community Fourth of July flag raising programs when she was a young adult and received a YWCA Woman of Distinction award for her community service.
Primarily, Jonia’s focus has always been on people. Her family – her late husband, Ben, and their daughter Elizabeth – foremost. But wherever she’s lived she has spent time listening to and trying to help individuals solve their problems. Whether that was an alcoholic, teenage mother or a struggling widow or just someone fighting to keep their head above water, Jonia has found purpose in reaching out and trying to strengthen them. She has done so in a myriad of ways.
And that is what has led her to this point:
After her husband’s sudden death in 2015, Jonia, who never liked conflict to begin with, discovered she had a distinct lack of tolerance for incivility and seeming persecution of marginalized people. The political landscape of 2015-2016 was filled with such anger and contention that she found herself unable to vote for either of the major political candidates for president – for the first time ever. She left the Republican Party and campaigned and voted for a third-party candidate. She listened as people expressed their fear, their hurt, their sense of political impotence – and she knew that she needed to become part of the solution and not just sit on the sidelines. She just wasn’t sure how.
Then in 2017, Jonia and Elizabeth attended a rally at the Utah State Capitol where Richard Davis outlined his vision of a moderate third party that would emphasize bipartisanship and civility; a party that would work to find real solutions and not just deal in partisan extremes. That piqued her interest. She learned more and ultimately joined the new United Utah Party. She also became involved in other political action groups that focused on helping to give individual voters more say in the political process. Her involvement convinced her that the adage attributed to Edmund Burke was accurate, that truly, “all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
True to her philosophy of not being able to stand seeing people struggle without trying to do something to help, she is going outside of her comfort zone to give a voice to the many who feel they don’t currently have a voice in our political climate today. As she has said, after her husband’s death the people of Utah reached out and showed her love and compassion beyond measure; she now wants to give back, by giving a place for those who want to be heard.