Barbara Ehardt knew she wanted to be a politician in elementary school.
As a child, she was fascinated watching the aftermath of Watergate and how that affected President Richard Nixon. This fascination led Ehardt to pass out literature in her neighborhood for state and local candidates growing up.
Over the course of four terms in the Idaho House of Representatives, Ehardt has spent a lot of time reflecting.
“There are times I’ll get here late, late, late on a Sunday evening and I will walk up to the fourth floor in the gallery where I can sit for a moment and look out quietly on the House floor,” Ehardt said. “It is a very humbly sacred experience to sit there quietly and think that for a small moment in time, Heavenly Father has blessed me with this opportunity to serve not just the state of Idaho, but to serve the United States of America.”
Ehardt said one of the highlights of her time in the legislature is the passage of the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act in 2020, becoming the first state to pass such legislation. 23 states have since followed Ehardt’s and Idaho’s example.
“I was the first one to bring it forward and then to get it passed in Idaho,” Ehardt said. “Now I’ve been able to testify on this in person in most of the states that have passed and many of the others where it hasn’t been to be able to stand up and protect Title IX as it was intended to protect the rights of girls and women and our opportunities to participate in sports without having to participate against biological boys and men,”
With legislation passing through so many states throughout the country, Ehardt has received national attention and was invited by Kevin McCarthy to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Title IX and sit on a panel about women in sports.
Ehardt’s passion for the issue originates from playing basketball at North Idaho College and coaching basketball at UC Santa Barbara, Brigham Young University, Washington State University and Cal State Fullerton.
One guide for her political beliefs has been her faith as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“I don’t believe that my faith is inseparable from who I am as a person and I shouldn’t be expected to check my faith at the doors when I serve the people as an elected official,” Ehardt said. “That was not intended with our Constitution.”
Ehardt said being in the legislature as a member of the Church has been difficult but has also been rewarding. She said that the key to one’s success is embracing one’s faith.
“Don’t be afraid to be who you are,” Ehardt said.” If you’re a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. embrace that. If you’re a member of another faith, embrace it. You do not have to check your religion at the door to serve. And in following up on that, know that it is not easy. It is actually very hard. It can be very trying, but it is incredibly rewarding to know that, for a small moment in time, that you’re in a position to help make a difference in the lives of those people called to serve.”
To learn more about Representative Ehardt, visit her website.