Before the town hall meeting hosted at Southern Utah University on Wednesday, Aug. 28, University Journal staff had the opportunity to sit down with Utah Senator Mitt Romney. The discussion focused on the importance of having Town Hall meetings and his concerns for Utah and the nation.
Sen. Romney stated that he came to Cedar City because the community represents an important population of Utah.
“A lot of people live here and it represents a good part of the rural portion of our state but it is also fast-growing,” Sen. Romney said. “It has a couple of streams of public interest that makes sense for me to connect with and to hear what people are thinking.”
For Sen. Romney this meeting was not about campaigning (he stated that he won’t start another campaign for another five and a half years), it was about the people of Cedar City.
“I hope to learn,” Sen. Romney told the University Journal. “This is about listening to what people are concerned about and hearing their perspectives… my job is to represent the people of our state. They’re my boss. So I come here to listen to what the boss has to say.”
Since being elected last year, Sen. Romney has focused on helping Utah in two specific fields.
The first is through the management of public lands. Sen. Romney is trying to “find ways to have greater Utah involvement in decisions relating to public lands.” Although the Land Act was passed by Congress this past February, Sen. Romney said that there is “still a lot more to do.”
Sen. Romney is also focusing on the threat wildfires southern Utah faces. He is focused on, “how we can do a better job of managing our national forests to reduce the threat of wildfires.”
In the interview and the Town Hall meeting, Sen. Romney stressed the importance of fixing the healthcare system and reducing out-of-pocket healthcare costs.
“Our effort to reduce the out-of-pocket health care, particularly prescription drugs and surprise billings is something of importance to people of our state,” Sen. Romney said during the interview.
The last major discussion of the night concentrated on the growth of China.
“We always have considered China a sort of backwater,” Sen. Romney said. “But at this stage, it is actually a very powerful economy, with an increasingly powerful military. It is exercising its geopolitical strength on the world’s stage… [so] we need to be a stronger nation, have a stronger balance sheet–financially– stronger education system for our young people to stand up to the challenges of a much larger and a well-educated nation.”
For more information on Sen. Romney click here.
Story by: Cassidy Harmon
Photos by: Christopher Dimond