Chairman Munisteri shifted gears to introduce a special guest speaker Ellie Simmons, one of the Finance Chairs for Mitt Romney who has been working hard in Texas politics and helping candidates around the state. Ellie came to me and said, “Would you like a Romney to address the delegation one morning?” Munisteri asked what time Mitt could come by, and Ellie said that that wasn’t the Romney he was offering, but I can get you the next best thing, Tagg Romney. Comedically, Tagg said I guess I could be the next best thing, since my Mom is one step better.
Tagg’s talk was aimed at telling us about his father Mitt Romney through several stories that he felt defined his Dad’s character.
The first story that Tagg brought to life was that of Mitt’s leadership in turning the US hosted Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah. The US Olympics host committee came to Mitt seeking his help and asking him to bring leadership to turn around a nearly bankrupt effort. They sought Mitt a first… and second time pleading their case and asking him to help. He carefully declined as he was extremely busy with his various business efforts and was concerned about having the time necessary to devote to the efforts to turn the situation around. The third time the committee wisely came and talked to his mother and Tagg learned an important lesson, convince Anne Romney.
Mitt went in with a huge deficit – $179 million dollars. The first thing he did, was to host a dinner for the US Olympic Host Committee. These dinners had been costing the committee thousands of dollars each, Mitt said lets save that money and do something at the headquarters instead of a five star restaurant. Lets use my favorite caterer – Dominos Pizza. After everyone had arrived, he said, “By the way, the pizza is a $1 a slice.” They began to understand that things were going to be different. Mitt quickly started having staff separate expenses into three categories: 1) things we have to do to have the Olympics, 2) Items we should do, 3) item’s that would be nice if we could do.
Through his leadership of cutting expenses, he was able to bring the Olympic committee out of the threat of bankruptcy. Then after finances were brought in order, my dad was able to get corporate buy-in and held one of the most financially successful Olympic efforts. By the time it was over he had run a 100 million dollar surplus. That just doesn’t happen, traditionally Olympic host efforts run some sort of deficit. Today, Olympic athletes are using training facilities paid for and have a budget for training and site maintenance from those funds.
From there my Dad, came back to Massachusetts and ran for Governor as a Republican with in a state with only 13% registered Republicans. The state had a $3 Billion budget deficit and a legislature controlled by 88% democrats. The citizens of Massachusetts had a clear choice, my Dad who was promising to come in and cut first before looking at raising taxes, and a Democrat whose first and only idea was to raise taxes. The local media chimed in that anyone with a second grade education could see that the only choice was to raise taxes. Massachusetts chose my Dad, because he came in and said, “Hey if we lower taxes, we’ll bring in more money through growth.”
My Dads proposal today is to cut taxes by 20% across the board for everyone, and President Obama is saying that Mitt Romney wants to raise taxes on the middle class. Somehow I guess he doesn’t quite grasp basic math. When Mitt left Massachusetts, there was a $2 Billion surpluss.
Tagg closed with a personal story about fishing at their childhood summer home on Cape Cod. Tagg had been fishing in their small dingy and realized after an hour that he hadn’t tied the rope on the anchor to the boat. “So I rowed back to shore and brought the fish in and told my dad that I had lost the anchor. He looked at me and said what do you mean you lost the anchor? So he told me I was going to go find it, after a heated discussion (on my part) my dad gently took me down walked with me down to the shore. As a parent, I’m now amazed by his patience. He showed me how to chart a grid and search and in less than an hour we had found that anchor. I now realize that he was taking the time to demonstrate some values that he holds dear. Those of patience, integrity, honesty, love of God, and his and distaste for waste – I mean my dad really hates any kind of waste, and how much he cared about me to patiently teach me these values. I can promise you that if Mitt Romney is willing to find an $8 anchor that was worth less than the rope it was tied too, he’s going to go to Washington DC, and root out the waste from every corner of our government!