Mitt Romney met with community members and local business people at Hires Big H in Salt Lake City Friday to discuss their concerns with the current administration.
Romney was quick to give them assurances that if he was elected, things would be different.
“There are very few people in business today who think the government is on their side,” Romney said. “I’m still a business guy, and I love business because business creates good jobs for good Americans, and that’s what I’ll fight for.”
Although there were policemen walking around the premises and workers making preparations for the rally outside the popular burger restaurant a couple hours before Romney’s appearance, not everyone knew the candidate would be speaking at that very spot a short time later.
“We had no idea that he would be coming, to be honest,” said Brady Johnson, 31, from Dallas. “We were just meeting up for lunch and found out he was going to be here.”
Scott Halle, a sophomore studying psychology at BYU and a Jon Huntsman Jr. supporter, came to find out more about Romney.
“I want to find out why I should vote for Romney over Huntsman,” Halle said. “Both are fantastic and have business experience. I want to know what Romney has that Huntsman doesn’t.”
Shortly after Romney’s arrival he spoke from the back of an American-made truck with American flags flowing in the background. Romney delivered his standard stump speech, speaking about patriotism, the economy and the challenges Americans face.
Meggie Winn, 25, from Salt Lake City, was excited to see Romney in person.
“Mitt is a popular candidate in Utah particularly, and I have friends who are big supporters,” Winn said. I’m impressed with Mitt Romney in general, and so I wanted to see him and what he had to say. I had never been to a politcial rally at this type of level so it was something interesting to be involved in.”
After speaking to a crowd outside, Romney went inside Hires Big H, a restaurant that he used to frequent with his family when he worked on the Salt Lake Olympic Organizing Committee. Waiting for him were members of the business community who wanted to express concerns with the current administration’s policies.
Joe Reyna, president and CEO of the Viva! market retail chain, spoke to Romney about his concern for consumers.
“I told Romney, when you become president please help the consumers,” Reyna said. “The average consumer is having a hard time finding a job. They don’t have money to spend. If you have consumers, you have businesses.”
Romney sought to calm those concerns.
“The challenge is … there are some people who think the best way to balance the budget is by raising taxes on the American people,” Romney said. “That will slow down the growth of the economy and keep people from starting businesses and growing businesses, and that is a self-defeating proposition.”
Most of the business people who spoke to Romney were concerned about government regulation and taxes, which they said are preventing their businesses from growing.
Holly Richardson, a Utah House representative for District 57 and political blogger, expressed her concerns to Romney.
“My concerns that I’ve seen are really 10th Amendment issues,” Richardson said. “Having the federal government impose their restraints, but financially tying our hands, then mandating that we take care of whatever it is the federal government decides we take care of … we’re ready for [the federal government] to back off a little bit.”
Mark Hale, whose father founded Hires Big H, was honored that Romney chose his family’s restaurant to address the concerns of the community.
“He was unbelievably gracious to me and to everybody he met,” Hale said. “He is a real person. He’s had a ton of experience in the business world. In the end, our government needs to be run like a business to be successful. If it is, it will be successful. If it’s not, it turns out to be the situation we’re now in.”