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Wade Heath What I like — and do not like — about Mitt Romney

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Wade Heath

Posted: Wednesday, February 22, 2012 12:00 am

Willard Mitt Romney. Where to begin? His tax personal income rate? His horrible inability to connect with normal people?

I know. I'll start on the most important topic. Is ol' Mittens as "severely conservative" as he claims? One only needs to look at how he governed in Massachusetts.

During his tenure, Romney supported several pro-Second Amendment bills and signed them into law. He walked into a state with a financially deteriorating core. Throughout his reign as the executive in charge, Romney oversaw a balanced state budget and slashed spending. Several surpluses also surged forth, taking the struggling state from billions in the red to billions in the black. Unemployment drastically shrunk during his time in office.

Romney attempted to lower the state's income tax rate from 5.3 percent to 5.0. However, the majority Democratic legislature didn't agree. It wasn't all bad, though, as Romney found other ways to cut taxes, and that trimming took Massachusetts from the 13th highest taxed state in the nation to the 17th.

Hope you speak English. Romney instituted an English immersion program in Massachusetts public schools. He strongly opposed the legislature's proposal to allow illegal immigrants the opportunity to receive drivers' licenses. But that's not all — he also shooed away the concept of illegal immigrants being allowed to pay in-state tuition, stating that no family should receive an incentive for breaking the law.

Romney called for a mandatory employment verification program, checking the legal status of people. He also proposed a plan to work with the federal government in order to allow Massachusetts state troopers the ability to identify and detain illegal immigrants. This was before Arizona, people!

As governor, Romney felt that gays should be respected and not be discriminated against. Although, traditional marriage must be preserved. The Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that gay marriage was considered valid. Romney urged an amendment to the state constitution that would outlaw gay marriage.

While he did at one time support abortions, Romney's record as governor shows him consistently pro-life. At one time, Romney vetoed a bill that tried to mandate that Catholic hospitals administer emergency contraception.

Romneycare? Many claim Obamacare was modeled after it. And while it may appear similar, there are several differences. At the time, healthcare was desperately in need of reform in Massachusetts. So Gov. Romney, only after balancing the budget, drafted his plan so that it didn't burden citizens with fees if they decided to opt-out. Sadly, the legislature disagreed and fees were put into place.

Multiple federal judges have declared Obamacare unconstitutional. Romneycare, not perfect by any means, has never been challenged as being unconstitutional. Under Romney, insurance price controls were never suggested, taxes weren't raised on businesses or citizens, nor was the plan 2,000 pages long like President Obama's. Instead, it was a lowly 70 pages deep.

The legislation was not a government takeover of healthcare.

It should also be noted that multiple changes to Romney's free market approach to healthcare have been implemented by state lawmakers since the governor has left office.

Under his administration, state public schools tested first in the nation for math and sciences. He proposed financial bonuses for math and science teachers and for teachers with a proven record of results. "We have to raise the bar in education. We have got to invest more in technology. We have got to change our immigration laws. We have got to be serious about shrinking the size of government and releasing more entrepreneurial activity," Romney said in a C-Span interview in 2006.

Romney created the Welcome Home Bill that would honor members of the military with free tuition to state schools at the community and university level, reduced life insurance premiums and increased active-duty pay rates, and provided high school diplomas for those veterans who dropped out to enlist in the Korean war, Vietnam and World War II.

Fast forward to today and those messy debates he's fumbled in, and you'd wonder if this was the same man. He seems to have a hard time speaking to his conservative values, and awkwardly suggested we should all be concerned with his taxes when he never had a solid answer on the matter whenever questioned.

For the record, he is my least-favorite candidate because of his pure inability to connect with the voting public and the conservative base. But the question I started out with was, is Mittens as "severely conservative" as he says he is?

According to his record, I'd say he is definitely conservative. You can have a great record, a strapping young family and perfect hair. But if you don't understand what the core of this nation needs right now, you are not going to win. We don't need another figurehead; we need a leader who gets that the United States is falling off a cliff.

Columnist Wade Heath is a contributing editor to He can be reached at

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