What Mitt Romney learned from the 2002 Olympics

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A very successful businessman, governor of Massachusetts and Republican presidential candidate, Utah Senator Mitt Romney says his most rewarding professional experience was leading the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City.

“I say that not because it was the most famous or the most financially rewarding event or it made me know a name or anything like that. I say this because we had a large group of people, almost 2,000 people, in the organization and we all knew that we would all lose our jobs at the same time, ”he said during a Sutherland Institute Thursday forum.

Romney resumed the Games after allegations surfaced that Salt Lake bidders tried to buy International Olympic Committee votes with lavish gifts and trips. Salt Lake City plans to host the Winter Games again in 2030 or 2034.

Recognizing that everyone on the Salt Lake organizing committee would be out of work when the Winter Games ended in February 2002 created an unusual dynamic, he said.

Nobody was looking for a promotion or trying to get ahead of someone else. Employees, he said, didn’t point fingers at those who weren’t doing a good job, but asked how they could help. There was no politics in the organization, Romney said.

Everyone realized that for their CV to look good, the Games had to be successful and they were all focused on the same thing, he said.

“It was a fantastic experience. It’s totally different than working in the Senate…because everyone has different agendas,” Romney said.

“Of the 100 senators, probably about 95 really think they should be president and are laying the groundwork to become president, all these different ideas of who’s going forward. So it’s a very different environment.

Romney, who did not say whether he would seek a second term in the Senate, said he learned quickly that he would have to work with both political parties to get things done.

“It didn’t take me long to realize that if I wanted to do anything in the United States Senate, I had to find Democrats and Republicans that I could work with,” he said, noting that the most bills required 60 votes to pass. in the evenly divided body.

Romney said he ran for the Senate for two reasons. He said he felt more “stable, sober” as well as “serious and mature” people were needed to deal with crises.

“I thought I was in that category,” he said.

He also raced to pass laws that would help Utah and the nation.

“I wanted to get things done. For me, it’s not about acting so I can get a great job on Fox as a commentator. It wasn’t about getting famous…” Romney said, adding that fame is fleeting.

Romney has worked with a bipartisan group of senators on major legislation, including the infrastructure bill that he says will bring billions of dollars to Utah.


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