GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Breaking News

Top Stories

October 8, 2012

Party lines divide state lawmakers on Romney

Last month’s Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., attempted to showcase the real Mitt Romney for American voters.

In Massachusetts, no such pomp and circumstance is needed.

Local politicians have a very clear picture already of the man who led the state from 2003 to 2007, and not surprisingly, opinions of the former governor change dramatically on party lines.

“He had fortitude and focus. He set his sights on goals and never wavered,” said Gloucester lawmaker Bruce Tarr, the Republican minority leader in the Massachusetts Senate.

“The man has no core, no foundation. There’s nothing to him but ambition, and he has enough money to carry out those ambitions,” said Rep. Ted Speliotis, a Democrat from Danvers.

Republican lawmakers speak of Romney as a tireless worker with strong convictions and a penchant for getting things done, despite inheriting a huge budget deficit and a Legislature controlled by Democrats.

Democrats contend the former governor was distant, disingenuous, and governed with one leg out the door and one eye on higher office.

“A lot of people like myself knew he was only visiting,” said Senate Majority Leader Fred Berry, the second-most powerful senator during the Romney era. “It was really obvious.”

On the budget

Upon taking office in 2003, Romney had to close a budget gap of between $1.7 billion to $3 billion, depending on whom you ask. To fix this, the governor slashed local aid and other spending, dramatically increased fees and closed tax loopholes, but notably did not raise taxes. The state soon had a budget surplus.

“We needed a true leader, someone who could partner with leadership on both sides and come up with a plan to guide us through the economic downturn. He did that,” said Rep. Brad Hill, the Ipswich Republican whose district includes the town of Manchester. “And he didn’t have the federal government bailing us out to the tune of billions of dollars.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Top Stories

Pictures of the Week
Your news, your way
AP Video
US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating