Jani Iwamoto was elected to the Utah State Senate in 2014. She serves in leadership as the Assistant Minority Whip. She previously served on the Salt Lake County Council, becoming the first Asian American woman to be elected in the state of Utah.
Jani graduated Magna Cum Laude in Mass Communications 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.
As a state senator, Jani serves on over 20 committees, including Executive Appropriations, Natural Resources Appropriations, Legislative Management, and senate Rules, Ethics, Government Operations and Political Subdivisions, Health and Human Services, and Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment. She also serves on the legislative liaison committees addressing issues affecting Utah’s Native Americans, and rural communities. She also sits on various commissions including Judicial Conduct, Federal Funds and Legislative Water Development.
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 the Court of Appeals Judicial Nominating Commission.
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), and the Foreign Minister’s (of Japan) Commendation, conferred by the Consul General of Japan in Denver Hiroto Hirakoba (2017)
Jani and her husband Steve reside in Salt Lake City with their three children – Nathan, Katie and Yuki (four-legged).