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They didn't have a lot of turf to begin with, but women lost ground at the Legislature in this week's election.

In fact, women are even more scarce on Utah's Capitol Hill than Democrats.

Come January, 16 women will serve in either the state Senate or House. Even the Democrats will have more representation than that with 20 seats.

Right now, there are 12 women in the House. Next year, there will be 10. The Senate will have six women, up one from the current roster.

Rep. Jennifer Seelig, D-Salt Lake City, and one of five female lawmakers who opted against seeking re-election, doesn't warm to that gender split.

"In a democracy, the Legislature should mirror the population," she said Wednesday. "We're one-half of the population."

Women have different experiences than men, Seelig explained. And those views on culture, community and family should be better represented.

"We need to be part of the decision-making process," she said.

Seelig will give way to Sandra Hollins, a Democrat who defeated Republican Kristopher Smith.

Retiring state Sen. Pat Jones, D-Holladay, will be replaced in Senate District 4 by former Salt Lake County Councilwoman Jani Iwamoto, who thumped Republican Sabrina Petersen.

Iwamoto credits Jones and other female politicians for opening the door for her. Like them, she would like to be an example.

"It's important for young people to see that they, too, can take a role in policymaking," she said. "I want my daughter to know she can do anything."

Republican Ann Millner, a former president of Weber State University, will take the Senate District 18 seat vacated by Sen. Stuart Reid, R-Ogden. She cruised past Democrat Mat Wenzel.

In the House, Midvale's Christine Passey will take the District 44 seat of Tim Cosgrove, a fellow Democrat who is retiring. Passey edged out Republican Bruce Cutler.

Passey said Wednesday she is more aware than her male counterparts of women's challenges as mothers and breadwinners.

"In Utah, women make 70 cents on the dollar," she said. "As a woman legislator, I can see the nuances of women who are mothers and are in the workforce."

Passey noted Utah women also lag behind men in college degrees. While similar numbers seek higher education, women drop out to rear children, she said, and that can lead to less earning power later.

Although men far outnumber women in the Senate and House, Passey said, she plans to make a difference.

"I hope my peers in the Legislature will listen to me and respect me," she said. "That's what I expect."

In House District 1, Scott Sandall, a Republican, will replace retiring Rep. Ronda Rudd Menlove, R-Garland. He trounced Democrat Dorene Schulze-Stever.

In House District 30, Janice Fisher, D-West Valley City, will leave her post to fellow Democrat Michael D. Lee, who topped former legislator Fred Cox, a Republican.

Republican Kim Coleman will take the House District 42 seat vacated by Republican Jim Bird. Coleman, who lives in West Valley City, glided past Democrat Nicholas DeLand.

Dana Layton, a Utah County Republican, was ousted in a GOP primary by former Orem legislator Brad Daw. On Tuesday, Daw easily defeated Democrat Archie Williams III.

And not least, retiring House Speaker Becky Lockhart, R-Provo, also gave up hear seat. Republican Norm Thurston took it on Tuesday night, outdistancing Democrat Scott Ferrin.

Women still could pick up another seat — if the unofficial result in a particularly close contest changes. Rep. Larry Wiley, D-West Valley City, holds a narrow 33-vote lead against Republican Sophia DiCaro, a former executive in the Governor's Office of Economic Development.