Romney touts his connections as advantage over opponent, visits Dixie Tech

ST. GEORGE – Republican Senate candidate Mitt Romney made a campaign stop in St. George Monday, first touring a part of Dixie Technical College’s new campus and finishing the day taking questions at a gathering at Vernon Worthen Park.

Visiting Dixie Tech

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mitt Romney is shown how to code by a student at the Dixie Technical College during a campaign stop in St. George, Utah, May 21, 2018 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

While at Dixie Tech, the former Massachusetts governor was shown a part of the school’s digital media design and welding programs.

“It’s an impressive facility, number one. And number two, it was impressive to meet the faculty and young people getting skills that are actually going to lead to jobs,” Romney said. “Often times in education we are doing things that are interesting and mind expanding, but they’re not going to necessarily lead to a real job. When I go to Dixie Tech, I see people getting skills where they get hired.”

Read more: Dixie Tech celebrates permanent campus with ribbon-cutting

Following his short visit to Dixie Tech, Romney attended a town hall held in the SunRiver community. From there he and his team went to Vernon Worthen Park where he answered various questions from a crowd of over 100 attendees.

Questions at the park

A main theme of Romney’s message is that he believes the federal government has taken too much power from the states. If it is not a power specifically granted to the federal government by the Constitution, such as education and health care, it should be left to the states to manage, Romney said.

One of the most recent government power grabs was the Affordable Care Act, he said.

Mitt Romney speaks to a crowd of over 100 supporters and prospective voters at Vernon Worthen Park during a stop in St. George, Utah, May 21, 2018 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

A way he proposed to bring down as least some of the cost of health care was getting hospitals to publish the cost of their services and procedures, as well as be rated on overall quality so prospective patients could choose which hospital would work best for them. This concept was put into practice in Massachusetts during his time as governor, Romney said.

Other issues Romney addressed included school safety and use of America’s military.

“I hope we realize that schools and school safety are very different in parts of our country,” Romney said.

In New York City, where the police force is over 30,000 strong, he said, it’s not so much an issue to have police officers in school. However, in rural counties like those in Utah, the primary police force may only consist of a county sheriff and his two deputies. As a result, any federally-pushed, one-size-fits-all solution isn’t necessarily going to solve the problem, he said.

“I tend to think this is something that should be focused on at the state level,” Romney said.

Read more: From better background checks to mental health, Herbert, lawmakers consider ways to prevent school shootings

Signs for the Mitt Romney for U.S. Senate campaign set up at Vernon Worthen Park, St. George, St. George, Utah, May 21, 2018 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

As to use of military power abroad, Romney said the United States should only apply its might in extreme circumstances. More hurdles should also be put in place before military action can be taken, he said, adding that the president should always go to Congress for approval of military action.

America’s military also shouldn’t be used as a kind of world police force, Romney said, referencing the previous military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“We can’t win freedom for people. They must win that for themselves,” he said.

On Rep. Mike Kennedy

Romney was asked what made him different from state Rep. Mike Kennedy, who is running against him for the Republican senatorial nomination in the June 26 primary.

Kennedy, a 49-year-old physician from Alpine, has been a member of the Utah’s state House of Representatives since 2013, representing District 27.

Kennedy edged out Romney in the final delegate balloting at the state Republican Convention in West Valley City April 21, winning nearly 51 percent of the votes to Romney’s 49 percent.

Read more: Romney must compete in primary for Utah Senate seat

Since then, Kennedy has been campaigning throughout the state, trying to win over voters in hopes they’ll see him as a viable alternative to Romney.

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rep. Mike Kennedy during a campaign stop in St. George, Utah, May 5, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

However, Romney said he hadn’t noticed much difference between himself and Kennedy policy-wise, yet he believes he has an advantage over Kennedy due to his preexisting network of relationships in the nation’s capital.

Typically a junior senator isn’t going to have much influence when they first arrive in Congress, Romney said, yet with the connections he’s built over the years, he has “a good chance of getting things done.”

Roger Taylor, a Hurricane resident who showed up at the park wearing a shirt displaying his support for Kennedy, said he believes Romney’s connections are more of a disadvantage than benefit.

“I consider that his weakness,” Taylor said. “I think of his connections to Washington, and it’s what I don’t want. I want somebody who is independent, can think for themselves and think for the people of Utah.”

Romney supporter and St. George resident Jonathan Bacon sees Romney’s experience as an advantage for the potential junior senator.

Mitt Romney greets supporters and prospective voters at Vernon Worthen Park during a stop in St. George, Utah, May 21, 2018 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

“I really like the fact he’s not going to be a traditional junior senator,” Bacon said. “He’s going to carry a little more clout in Washington, D.C., unlike some other candidates in Utah.”

Medical marijuana

Pertaining to medical marijuana, an issue that has been highlighted in Utah recently due to the ongoing battle over the medical marijuana ballot initiative, Romney said he’d like to see marijuana legally prescribed by physicians and distributed through regular drug stores.

Read more: Utah medical marijuana supporters push back in court

“I don’t want to see corner stores selling brownies and gummy bears laced with marijuana,” he said.

As for where the candidate stands on the current ballot initiative?

“I do not support the initiative in Utah which makes it close to being a recreational drug,” Romney said.

St. George News reporter Jeff Richards contributed to this story.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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  • Not_So_Much May 22, 2018 at 7:20 am

    Myself and most likely you, believe the swamp must be drained. Why would we send someone ‘who’s connected’ to that swamp? The powers that are back Mr Romney and there’s no doubt about that. While not having an awe inspiring personality, DR Mike Kennedy is an intelligent, hard working doctor/legislator (with a law degree!) who has raised his children here in Utah. DR Kennedy deserves your consideration in the June 26 GOP primary. Take a little time and check him out at

  • Lastdays May 22, 2018 at 7:44 am

    JUNE 26th !! Please motivate people to show up and vote against Mitt. Utah does NOT need him as a voice for Utah.

    • Loyal Opposition May 22, 2018 at 3:32 pm

      Lastdays, as one who has supported Dr. Mike Kennedy and continues to do so, I think that I can speak for his feelings in saying, he would rather have someone vote FOR KENNEDY , rather than vote AGAINST Romney. He is a candidate that wants to run a positive campaign.

  • Vic May 22, 2018 at 7:55 am

    I’m sorry but I’m not warm and fuzzy about this “carpetbagger” I would much rather see a long time Utah resident as our senator.

  • No Filter May 22, 2018 at 9:28 am

    I don’t want Romney either, but we all know it will be decided by who paid the most tithing.

  • comments May 22, 2018 at 10:25 am

    On the bright side, at least Romney isn’t paying old washed up porn stars “hush money”. At least that we know of.

    • John May 22, 2018 at 10:38 pm

      No,. he just takes money from washed up democrats

  • NotSoFast May 22, 2018 at 11:05 am

    It’s going to be interesting watching the primary votes tally up. I know this article is about pushing Romney’s visit, his wants and don’t wants, his connections to existing swamp people, etc. The other guy? just a doctor from a remote area somewhere.
    The question for me is; who will represent UTAH best?

  • John May 22, 2018 at 11:37 am

    Utah does not need another democrat running as a republican in our government. mittens is as fake as they come, two faced as a counterfeit coin and as wish-washy as a waste separator at a sewage treatment facility.. HE STINKS

    • RadRabbit May 22, 2018 at 1:02 pm

      Exactly no more RINO’s, Kennedy is the only way to go. Romney did enough to ruin healthcare and gun rights in Mass. we don’t need any more of it from him.

  • Eric May 22, 2018 at 1:04 pm

    Connections … to the liberal eastern establishment.

    To the same establishment that led Romney to push Romneycare (in cahoots with Ted Kennedy!), and now leads him to continue his elitist and leftist view on “climate change” and other issues.

    No, the ultra-competent Dr. Mike Kennedy would build connections quickly, and Mike Kennedy is a small government conservative which is more than you can say for the double talking Mitt Romney who in one breath calls himself “a severe conservative” while in another says “I’m a progressive.” Which is true? Look at how the Planned Parenthood supporter governed in MA — as A PROGRESSIVE, and Romney’s talk about cutting the deficit is .. just talk which is inconsistent with the big spending programs (as socialized health care) he advocates.

  • tazzman May 22, 2018 at 3:00 pm

    Carpetbagging mittens.

  • Loyal Opposition May 22, 2018 at 3:27 pm

    I’m sorry that you didn’t post the video that you did of me, Mori Kessler, but you quoted me correctly. His many connections to the Washington “swamp” is a disadvantage for me NOT an advantage. I hope that Utah will recognize this and vote for Dr. Mike Kennedy for US Senate from Utah.

  • ScanMeister May 22, 2018 at 8:53 pm

    Dr Mike Kennedy a better option and will do a better job for the people of Utah. Mitt too much of a chameleon for my vote.

  • jaltair May 22, 2018 at 9:32 pm

    Dr. Mike Kennedy has served Utah and knows Utah. I believe he will be a better representation of Utah as he already knows the needs of Utah. No debate on this issue. Romney has never appealed to me for reasons already stated above.

  • commonsense May 22, 2018 at 10:07 pm

    Can’t support Romney if he is a never Trumper. It’s not to going to MAGA to have another McCainesque swamper in DC. It’s not about party or power. We have to be about principle.
    Vote for Kennedy.

  • comments May 22, 2018 at 10:38 pm

    right wing loons all oozing out of the woodwork on this one. I have no idea who mike kennedy is, but if you loons like him I’m betting mittens is the better option.

  • maggie May 23, 2018 at 9:57 am

    Kennedy obviously knows healthcare better,not involved with the swamp so would be easier for him to drain. Just an all around better choice for the average Utah family who has to live within the means of a paycheck.

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