On Wednesday, September 28, 2011, Student Life and Leadership invited students of Salt Lake Community College to have pizza with a politician.
Utah State Senate Minority Leader Ross Romero talked with students about higher education and his entering the Salt Lake County Mayoral race.
“Higher education and education is critical to our community’s success,” said Romero, addressing about 50 students who had gathered in the Student Involvement Center. “Our public institutions are a tremendous resource in our communities.”
Romero serves on the Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee. He acknowledged that “economics is making it difficult to fund higher education” and that “appropriations are shrinking.”
Because higher education has made such a difference in his own life, including meeting his wife at the University of Michigan, Romero has made it a priority in his terms of government service.
People who go to college “will put themselves in a position to help themselves,” and Romero wants “them to do for themselves and create a life for themselves where they can do for themselves.”
Romero said that it is critical that students have the prospect of jobs after school, and an educated workforce would bring more jobs into the county.
“Local community involvement is critical” when talking to people about how to improve the community. Government should be interactive, and Romero encouraged students to participate.
“There needs to be more voices reaching out to government at all layers,” he said.
If elected as mayor, Romero would work to address the county’s “competitiveness vis-à-vis other counties,” the East-West division in the Salt Lake County and education concerns.
Being competitive for businesses starts with the business permitting process. Ensuring that businesses know how long it will take to get permitted will go a long way to getting the businesses to move into Salt Lake County.
“We have to be strategic about how we grow our businesses,” said Romero.
Romero said that with the way the economy is now, raising taxes is not an option. That means that unless there is a public outcry, some items may have to wait to get funding.
“The Dream Act is a no-brainer at the federal level,” said Romero.
For people who want to do well in the United States, there should be a path. Immigrants have made several contributions to the United States. Undocumented immigrants should be able to pay in-state tuition rates at state colleges.
“I want an educated community,” said Romero.
Romero stressed that he needs to hear the problems that people are having so that he can address those problems.
“At the end of the day, it [government] should be about what’s the best thing to do for our community,” he said.
Romero kicked off his campaign for Salt Lake County Mayor on September 29, 2011 at Café Mediterranean.