Editorial: He may not be Park City’s first choice, but Romney would serve admirably in Senate
January 14, 2018
More than 15 years after shepherding the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympics to success, Mitt Romney may be preparing to take up another important post in Utah — this time, in the U.S. Senate.
His name is the most prominent of those rumored to be considering a campaign to replace Orrin Hatch, who announced his retirement early this month. If Romney chooses to enter the race — and most political observers expect he will — he would likely waltz to a win.
And that would be a triumph for Utah residents. Of the politicians who could realistically win the seat, Romney is best prepared to serve the people. He would be a dignified statesman in Washington, and despite his long history in the public eye, his presence would be a breath of fresh air, as it became clear in recent years that the time had come for Hatch to move on.
It should be noted that Romney wouldn't be the perfect choice, nor the preferred one of many Parkites. There's another challenger, in fact, whose values align more closely with those of Park City. Jenny Wilson, a member of the Salt Lake County Council, has harnessed a bipartisan approach, acted on efforts like ethics reform and open space preservation, and has significant experience in the nonprofit sector. She would be a fantastic pick.
Alas, she's running with the wrong political party attached to her name to win broad support in Utah.
Romney would serve honorably in her place.
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He's no progressive and wouldn't vote like one, but he would bring a reasonably centrist and even-handed approach to the office. That's a particularly important trait considering Mike Lee has spent the last seven years prioritizing his far-right ideology over the best interests of his constituents and, worse, Hatch's transformation into a lapdog for President Trump.
In contrast, electing someone who would both reach across the aisle and stand up to the president would send a clear message. As one of the most vocal Republican critics of Trump since the early days of the 2016 election, Romney has proven he's willing to put country over party and serve as a voice of reason when the president violates American values. Speaking out against Trump from within his own party would be critical at a time when most Republicans have abdicated their responsibility to be a check on the executive branch.
Come November, Parkites should still vote their conscience, whether that's for a Democrat like Wilson with little chance of winning or for someone else. But, they should also recognize that a Romney triumph would be a victory for Utah. Maybe not a total one for those who'd like to see a Utah senator put forward a progressive agenda, but certainly for those who understand that, at a time like this, serving Utahns with dignity is just as important.
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