By Bethany Biron, Managing News Editor
Published February 16, 2012
FARMINGTON HILLS — In front of a packed house of professionals hailing from private sector industries around the state, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney professed his adoration for his native state of Michigan, lauding the work of Republican Gov. Rick Snyder in using his vast business experience to revitalize the ailing economy.
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Romney’s adulations come on the heels of a formal endorsement of the Republican presidential candidate hopeful by Snyder, during an event sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce at the Farmington Hills Manor in Farmington Hills yesterday afternoon. A crowd of almost 500 listened as Romney discussed the importance of understanding business operations when working as a government official seeking to absolve persisting problems of national debt.
With recent polls indicating a near tie between Romney and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum — who also held a campaign event yesterday in Detroit — leading into the Michigan presidential primary on Feb. 28, Snyder said it’s crucial to support a candidate with business knowledge.
“We’ve got Governor Romney, who has that acumen,” Snyder said. “He has a great combination of private sector experience, but also knowing what it takes to create a job and how difficult that is, how to succeed in the private sector.”
Romney echoed Snyder and said utilizing the business principles in developing government policy is critical to assist a country facing prolonged economic peril. He praised Snyder for his work in cutting costs in Michigan in the past fiscal year, in which he brought a debt-ridden state into a $457 million surplus, as revealed during Snyder’s fiscal year 2013 budget proposal last week.
“If we can do in Washington what you guys have done here, we’d be in a great position as a nation,” Romney said. “I hope to do in Washington as the governor has done here.”
Romney added that government officials at all levels must carefully monitor budgets so as not to spend money outside of their thresholds and create further debt.
“You see, in the private sector that you all are in, you’re either fiscally conservative, or you’re out of business. You can’t borrow money year after year after year spending more than you take in, or you go bankrupt.”
Romney’s father was governor of Michigan in the 1960s, and was chairman and president of American Motors Corporation. During his speech yesterday, Romney expressed compassion for the state’s rejuvenated automobile industry, following an op-ed he wrote for The Detroit News this week that was critical of the federal government's bailout of the automotive industry, and an announcement by General Motors yesterday that the company earned a $472 million profit in the fourth quarter of 2011.
“I love cars. I grew up totally loving cars,” Romney said “It used to be in the ‘50s and ‘60s you showed me one square foot of a car, I could tell you what brand it was, model and so forth … I love American cars, and long live they rule the world.”
Romney said job creation will be a major priority of his if he is elected president, adding that he will work with businesses to generate increased revenue to spur job creation.
“The whole idea of profit is to create incentives to entrepreneurs and innovators to find ways to do things less and less expensive with better and better quality,” Romney said.
Mark Cords, a University alum who has worked for General Motors for 30 years, said in an interview after the event he has “mixed feelings” about Obama’s handling of the auto bailout, but ultimately understands the need for government intervention to assist one of America’s most coveted industries.