Flickr / Gage Skidmore

Why a Romney Run is a Win for Utah

By Gary Shapiro

With Orrin Hatch’s retirement, Utahns lose not only a tireless, faithful, honest leader, but also one of the most relentless advocates of innovation and entrepreneurship in the U.S. Senate. With Sen. Hatch’s departure comes an opportunity to elect an equally skilled statesman who will continue to advocate for the innovation economy.

Mitt Romney is well positioned for the Senate, drawing support from across the state. And there is no better person for the job.

Romney has a history of supporting entrepreneurship and businesses across the country. Thanks to his long and successful tenure at Bain Capital, he knows what it takes to develop and grow a successful business — and how federal rules hamstring companies large and small across the country.

Romney is also a committed supporter of America’s innovation economy. I had the pleasure of introducing him when he spoke to the Northern Virginia Technology Council as the Republican presidential nominee in 2012, where he highlighted the need for “regulators in government who see their job as encouraging innovation in the private sector, as opposed to killing all potential risk.”

In the same speech, he recognized the value of strategic immigration reform to our nation’s growth. Although our top universities attract the best and brightest from around the world, our restrictive immigration laws mean many international students are forced to return home after graduation, taking their research and entrepreneurial skills with them. The University of Utah was home to more than 2,500 international students in 2016 alone. Romney recognizes the need for change, saying that the U.S. should “staple a green card” to the degrees of international Ph.D. graduates in STEM fields.

More, Romney has a unique gift for foreign policy and is committed to making our country as safe as possible. He foresaw many of the major threats currently facing our country — including the rise of Russia and the spread of terrorism in the Middle East — long before many federal leaders did. As a senator, the tech industry would readily partner with him and other members of Congress to bring today’s most cutting-edge technology to help manage and overcome these threats.

Most importantly, however, Romney has a gift for bipartisanship and unimpeachable character — qualities that our country desperately needs. As vitriol grows in the public conversation, gridlock grows among our political leaders and distrust grows among the voters and citizens, we need someone who has the courage to rise above the fray. We need someone who sees those across the aisle not as mortal enemies, but as friends and colleagues with whom one has good-faith disagreements.

Romney’s long list of bipartisan accomplishments as governor of Massachusetts, as well as his successful leadership of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, indicate that he would be just this kind of leader.

There’s no denying he’s had his disagreements with President Trump — and in terms of rhetorical style, it’s hard to imagine two men more different from one another.

But given President Trump’s recent call for unity in his State of the Union address, there’s good reason to believe that, as senator, Romney would work with President Trump and congressional leaders to achieve major policy goals such as immigration reform, health care reform and infrastructure investment.

With Mitt Romney’s strong record of bipartisan achievement and his dedication to American innovation and entrepreneurship, Utah — and indeed all of America — will have a bright future ahead.