In his latest Capital Report, Speaker of the House Rod Jetton explains why he is supporting former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney for president:
I've been getting lots of questions lately about my support for Mitt Romney. Folks seemed surprised because I'm willing to support a Mormon for President so I thought I might tell you my story about why I decided to endorse Mitt..
Governor Blunt was the first one to tell me about Mitt Romney. He said he was supporting him for President, and that I should consider getting behind him too. The only thing I knew about Mitt Romney was he was a Mormon from Massachusetts. I almost chuckled as I told the Governor there was no way a Mormon from Massachusetts could win the Republican nomination.
Governor Blunt didn't give up though. He told me that Mitt was very impressive and had done a good job in turning around a liberal state like Massachusetts. He explained that they had huge budget deficits and high unemployment, just like Missouri, and Romney had used good conservative business principles to fight taxes, cut spending and promote jobs. He asked me to come to Boston with him and meet Governor Romney for myself.
I really didn't want to go, but when the Governor is asking you to come and meet somebody its hard to say no, so I went. But I went with the intention of saying no to Mitt Romney, just like when you go to those time-share presentations. I had no intention of endorsing a presidential candidate this early, particularly when it looked as if there was no clear winner.
After arriving in Boston we had the chance to attend a private breakfast with Governor Romney and his wife. They also told us we could ask Mitt any questions we wanted. Along with myself, we had Governor Blunt, his chief of staff Ed Martin, and several key Republicans from across Missouri. The first thing most folks notice about Mitt Romney is how much he looks like a President. I was thinking he looks the part, but what does he believe and can he communicate it?
Of course the first question came from Ed Martin. What I love about Ed is he says just what he thinks, and he wasn't bashful about his question. He told Governor Romney he was an Irish Catholic from St. Louis, and he wanted to know about the Mormon faith and how Governor Romney was going to address it in the campaign. Governor Blunt and the rest of us looked down and were a bit embarrassed by Ed's question, even though we all wanted to ask it.
Mitt Romney replied, "That's a good question and I'm glad you asked it, because you're right. I will have to address it in the campaign." That made us all feel better, but he went on and added, "I can only tell you that Jesus Christ is my personal Savior and His blood is what saves me from my sins. If you want to know the exact teachings of my church you can check with our church fathers or go to the website, but I believe my church teaches the same conservative family values that the Republican party stands for, and that is how I've tried to raise my family and live my life. I'm not perfect and I've made mistakes but Jesus's forgiveness is what I believe in."
Sitting there as a Baptist preacher's son, I remember thinking, "Wow--that's the best Southern Baptist answer I've ever heard." I thought to myself how I wished all presidents felt that way. Mitt went on to answer questions about the turnaround in Massachusetts, his wife, his campaign and his view of the war. He did a great job and needless to say, I was impressed. It was evident he had a clear vision and plan for strengthening our families, our economy, and our military.
Though I was impressed by his words, I was still reluctant to endorse a man who hadn't researched fully. After I got back I started looking into Mitt's and other Republican's presidential campaigns. The funny thing was the more I looked into him the more impressed I was. I've always felt you can learn a lot by looking at a candidate's family. Mitt has a great wife and five boys who are all successful and have never been in any trouble. I have a few teenagers myself, and raising five boys with no trouble shows Mitt practices what he preaches.
I learned how he was asked to come in and straighten out the Salt Lake Winter Olympics back in 2002. With the 2002 Games mired in controversy and facing a financial crisis, Romney left behind a successful career as an entrepreneur to take over as President and CEO of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee. In his three years at the helm in Salt Lake City, Romney erased a $379 million operating deficit, organized 23,000 volunteers, galvanized community spirit and oversaw an unprecedented security mobilization just months after the September 11th attacks, leading to one of the most successful Olympics in our country's history.
Before he saved the Olympics Governor Romney had a very successful career in business. He started a company called Bain Capital whose mission was to take companies that were struggling and turn them in to profitable business again. Bain Capital helped guide hundreds of companies on a successful course, including Staples, Bright Horizons Family Solutions, Domino's Pizza, Sealy, Brookstone, and The Sports Authority.
After looking at his family and background, I turned next to his job as Governor of Massachusetts. He turned around a state that had a $3 billion budget deficit and high unemployment. Next week I will talk about what he did to fix Massachusetts. I will also explain his positions on some of the key issues as well as talk about several of his proposals to keep our economy strong, strengthen our broken families and dealing with terrorism