ST. GEORGE – On its way to rendezvous with presidential candidate Mitt Romney in Las Vegas, the Romney Bus Tour stopped by Dixie State College of Utah Thursday afternoon. Both supporters and detractors of the Romney campaign came out to see the bus, as well as hear from Utah Gov. Gary Herbert.
Before the Romney Bus rolled into the Dixie State College parking lot around 4:30 p.m., a crowd of between 60 and 70 people came out to greet it. Not everyone supported what the bus represented however, as members of Southern Utah Democrats among the crowd evidenced.
“We want to let people know not everyone in Utah supports Romney for president,” said Dorothy Engelman, the chair of the Washington County Democratic Party. “We’re here for awareness more than anything.”
Holding up high their Obama 2012 signs while the crowd of Romney supporters came between them and the bus, two Democrat women shared why they did not support Romney’s bid for president.
“I don’t like his social policy,” Kathi-Ann Busha, of St. George, said. She said Romney’s policies wouldn’t do enough for women like her who were single mothers.
“We deserve a president who supports us,” said Wendy Worthington, who also identified herself as a single mother.
The fact that Romney would not appeal to everyone was echoed by Robert Sinnott, a DSC student and president of the College Republicans.
“There’s not always going to be a candidate you agree with 100 percent,” Sinnott said. Nonetheless, he said he was going to vote for Romney:
“I don’t approve of socialism or socialist ideas.”
Another Romney fan, Josh Hawks, said he could relate to Romney because he was a business man. As a “proven business leader,” Hawks said, Romney would bring better economic leadership to the White House than the man who currently occupies it.
Herbert, who was in Southern Utah Thursday touring flood damage in Santa Clara, visited the assembly at the Romney bus and spoke concerning Utah’s economic status while also stumping for Romney.
Herbert greeted the crowd and acknowledged those gathered who displayed Obama 2012 signs.
“Thank you all for coming out and supporting Mitt,” he said “There are some here who are standing for President Obama and that’s OK. That’s the American Way, that’s part of the system, and I applaud that effort. We need to find who to stand with and who to stand for, and then go out and work hard to get them elected.”
Herbert then told the crowd Utah had been named one of the best states for business by Forbes Magazine for the second year in a row, and added Utah had the second largest growing economy in the county.
He said this has been accomplished through tax reform, regulation reform, having an educated labor force, and providing an environment in which the private sector could prosper. Romney, who Herbert called “an adopted son of Utah,” understood the principles that made Utah a leading economy, the governor said.
“I’ve said to Gov. Romney,” Herbert said, “‘You don’t have to look any further than Utah if you’re looking for an opportunity to turn this county around. Just copy what’s happening in the state of Utah.’”
He also said that Utah is succeeding where the national government “had failed, because in Washington, D.C. they have not done what we’ve been doing here … We in Utah have cut our budget; made the tough decisions, lived within our means, don’t spend more than we take in. In Washington they’ve done just the reverse with (the Obama) administration.”
The governor then said Romney understood how to turn around the economic situation in America, as he has become “a great man in the private sector” who understands the principles of free market and free enterprise; that Romney also understands everyone should have the same opportunity he and others had to become “great success stories of the free market.”
The success of the 2002 Winter Olympics was another example Herbert cited as an example of Romney’s leadership and ability to fix a bad situation. His time as the governor of a largely blue state was also mentioned, which Herbert said illustrated Romney’s ability to work on a bipartisan level.
The governor left the college grounds soon after his speech. People were then given the opportunity to tour the interior of the Romney bus before it resumed its travel to Las Vegas at 6:30 p.m.
A video covering a portion of Gov. Herbert’s comments is provided below. Video shot by Brett Barrett, St. George News