Former governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney, who ran as the Republican Party’s nominee during the 2012 presidential election, visited UVU Feb. 16 hours after he announced his campaign to run for a seat in the U.S. Senate.

Romney posed in photos with students for half an hour as volunteers asked for student’s signatures in order to gather the signatures necessary to get him on the ballot.

Earlier this year, Sen. Orrin Hatch announced he would not be seeking re-election after serving as the GOP’s longest serving senator. Romney had originally planned to announce his run Thursday, Feb. 15, but delayed his announcement in light of the mass shooting at a Florida high school.

“I wanted to really be a part of the Romney campaign,” president of the College Republicans at UVU Club Brittney Harrison, who helped organized Romney’s visit to campus, said. “We said just ‘yes let’s bring him here, I’m sure the students would love to meet him’ and it’s turned out to be a great thing for all of us. Obviously students are really excited to meet him too.”

President of the College Republicans at UVU Club Brittney Harrison walks alongside Mitt Romney at the Hall of Flags Feb. 16. Photos by Maricel Evangelista.

Dustin Draper, UVUSA’s vice president of student activities, said he likes Romney’s stance on gun control as well as his conservative values.

“I like to be politically active and know who my candidates are,” said Draper.

Megan Hepworth a nursing student said she stopped studying to say “hi” to Romney. She was impressed by Romney’s campaign video, which was posted on his official Twitter page.

“I think he stands for some really good traditional values that I think our government needs to kind of move back towards,” said Hepworth.

Students swarmed to meet former governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney at the Hall of Flags Feb. 17. Photos by Maricel Evangelista.

After meeting with students Romney sat down with the UVU Review for an interview.

On support for DACA recipients

“We welcome legal immigration. And I think immigrants provide a growth for our economy and a diversity in our outlook and share family values and a commitment to American principles. At the same time I think illegal immigration is detrimental to the country and we need to end illegal immigration.

That means, yes, a border fence, it means an e-verify system to shut down companies who are hiring people here illegally. I also think that we need to stop the process of chain migration and the lottery migration system.

So, yes to legal immigration and [being] welcoming in our words and in our approach in people who have come here as immigrants. Someone who comes here as an immigrant and becomes a citizen, for instance, is every bit as much an American citizen as someone who was born here.”

On guns on campus

“I’m going to let the people at UVU and the state legislature decide where people will be able to carry guns, but in regards to protecting our kids in our schools, it’s time for us to actually do something as supposed to just wring our hands and hope things will get better.

I think the Utah legislature is the best place to get something done on this front and they should consider the widest array of options. Whether that’s an intervention team that would come in to deal with a student or someone that was threatening, or whether it is a protection in the school by police or perhaps volunteers, or restrictions on purchases on fire arms in cases of background checks that suggest a problem.

Senator Hatch has a piece of legislation in Washington that calls for enhanced background checks, particularly with regards to those that have psychological or anger issues.”

On Trump’s $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan and how it will affect Utah

“Utah has significant infrastructure needs because it’s the fastest growing state in America, particularly in Utah County. As a result of that we’re going to need help on transportation options and that will require federal funds, in some cases, matching state funds as well.

We’re going to need federal support for some of the projects that are going to be put in place in this county. So, the job of a senator is to do one’s very best to secure federal funding where that option is available.”

Kimberly Bojorquez

Kimberly Bojórquez is a Los Angeles native currently pursuing her Bachelor of Arts in Communication with an emphasis in journalism, and a minor in Latin American Studies. From 2017-18 she served as the editor-in-chief of the UVU Review and worked at ABC4’s morning show “Good Things Utah”, Salt Lake City Weekly and the Daily Herald.

She has written stories that relate to national issues, local crime and social justice. In her spare time, she loves to take photos, hike Utah’s national parks and attend live rock concerts.