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Mitt Romney addresses Utah business leaders, says nothing about possible Senate run

SALT LAKE CITY – Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is still mum on whether or not he’ll run for Senator Orrin Hatch’s seat.  However, he did speak to business leaders in Utah, telling them there are reasons to be optimistic.

Right after his keynote address at the Salt Lake Chamber 2018 Economic Outlook, the moderator asked, “People that give great speeches would look great in the U.S. Senate.  Have you ever thought about that?”  He laughed, then responded, “I have nothing for you on that topic.”  He continued to say he would make no announcement today as reporters pressed him for an answer as he was leaving the Downtown Marriott.

Instead, his speech focused on the economic lessons Utah could teach the rest of the state.  On a federal level, Romney says the government has done extremely little to relieve the country from what he calls “crushing debt.”  He says a large portion of that debt comes from programs like Social Security and Medicaid.  “About two-thirds of our spending is automatic.  Now you get a sense of why we have the challenges we do as we look longer term,” he says, adding, “The tax revenue can’t possibly meet the extraordinary growth of these entitlement programs.”

He also pointed out how a growing rift between the two major political parties is causing a large amount of gridlock in Washington D.C.  He says both parties used to vote mostly similar to each other in the early 80s, but, now, they only do so roughly one percent of the time.  Romney says, “Democrats have moved further in one direction, Republicans have moved to the other direction and the common ground, in terms of voting and economic perspective, has almost disappeared.”

However, he says Utahns have reasons to believe they’re in better shape than most Americans.  He says personal income in Utah is growing at a faster rate than the national average, and unemployment is lower.

(Photo Credit: Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)