District 4 Native
Born and raised in Salt Lake City, Senator Iwamoto attended Highland High School, graduated in Mass Communications (Magna Cum Laude) from the University of Utah, and thereafter received a JD from the UC Davis School of Law. She practiced law as a partner in a prominent California law firm.
Senator Iwamoto was elected to the Utah State Senate, Senate District 4, in 2014. She serves in Senate leadership. She previously served on the Salt Lake County Council, District 4, becoming the first Asian American woman to be elected in the state of Utah. Her primary motivation with the legislation she sponsors, and the decisions she makes is that each must have a positive influence on the lives of those she represents. She has been successful in sponsoring and passing meaningful legislation, and to date, have had every appropriation request, funded.
Utah State Senate Leadership
As a state senator, Jani serves on the following committees and commissions, including (partial list):
Executive Appropriations (leadership responsible for the final state budget)
- Legislative Management (leadership)
- Public Education Appropriations
- Executive Offices and Criminal Justice
- Senate Rules Committee
- Senate Ethics Committee
- Education (and during Interim)
- Government Operations and Political Subdivisions
(and during Interim)
- Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment
(and during Interim)
- Commission for the Stewardship of Public Lands
- Federal Funds Commission, Vice Chair
- Legislative Water Development Commission
- Native American Legislative Liaison Committee
- Judicial Conduct Commission
- Numerous confirmation committees
She is a member of the Emergency Medical Services Committee (EMSC) and sat on the Utah State Instructional Materials Access Center (USIMAC Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind).
Jani also founded and chairs committees involving stakeholders representing diverse groups, to solve serious and important issues facing our state, on water quantity and quality, and fall prevention among our elderly and disabled communities (Utah Falls Prevention Alliance).
Prior to her time in elected office, Jani was appointed by Gov. Jon Huntsman, Jr. to the Central Utah Water Conservancy District Board of Trustees (and re-appointed by Gov. Gary Herbert), and the Court of Appeals Judicial Nominating Commission.
Issues and Efforts
Jani has been active in efforts and legislation involving environmental protection, non-discrimination, preservation of ethnic communities, veterans and the elderly. Passionate about children’s issues, Jani has received awards for her safety efforts. Jani initiated a community collaboration project that created a three-acre schoolyard/refugee garden. Jani has served on the boards of Asian Association of Utah (Executive Board), Voices for Utah Children, Bennion Center, and Primary Children’s Hospital.
Jani was a founding member of The Asian Pacific American Women’s Leadership Institute. Jani has been a speaker for The New American Leadership Project, which trained immigrant leaders at the White House; Asian Pacific American Institute of Congressional Studies (APAICS); Asian Pacific Islander American Health Initiative, American Association of University Women (AAUW), Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah, League of Women Voters (LWV), Real Women Run, and other national and local organizations.
Among awards, Jani received the Quintus C. Wilson Alumni Achievement Award from the Department of Communication, University of Utah (2011), the Foreign Minister’s (of Japan) Commendation, conferred by the Consul General of Japan in Denver Hiroto Hirakoba (2017), and the Asian Chamber of Commerce (2018).
Jani and her husband Steve live in Holladay with their three children – Nathan, Katie and Yuki (four-legged).