By Susan Morse
Hampton Union, Friday, April 27, 2007
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
[Photo by Don Clark/SMG]
HAMPTON -- Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney told local law enforcement they played a crucial role in homeland security and needed better communication from the federal government to prevent another 9-11.
"Local law enforcement plays a critical role," said Romney, "to determine if terrorist activities are afoot."
The former Massachusetts governor who serves on the President's Homeland Security Advisory Council supports increasing military spending by $40 billion to $50 billion.
Romney addressed the Rockingham County Chiefs of Police Thursday morning in a meeting closed to the public at the Galley Hatch Conference Center.
He later held a press conference, stressing the need to bring local law enforcement into communication with federal agencies. Romney supports a "fusion center" such as one created in the Commonwealth, for the gathering, analyzing and dissemination of terrorist-related information.
"It's critical now in gathering data for the field," Romney told reporters. "... (to make) the connection between Washington and local law enforcement more smooth."
[Photo by Don Clark/SMG]
Romney compared his experience as president and CEO of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee at the Olympics in Salt Lake City in 2002, to that of the Democratic candidates running for president.
"The three front runners," he said, "have never run anything in their life."
He called his fellow Republican opponents, former New York City Mayor Rudolph Guiliani and Sen. John McCain, "men of character."
Romney opposes public funding for abortion.
He said he is a Washington outsider.
"With regards to my own political career," said Romney, "I don't have one. I lived my life in the private sector."
He is in government, he said, "because I love this country and am concerned about our future."
Hampton Police Chief Jamie Sullivan said it was always good to hear the viewpoints of presidential candidates. "It was good to hear him speak," he said.
Rockingham County Sheriff Dan Linehan supports Romney. "I've been on board with him since last spring," he said.
Romney has natural leadership, said Linehan, and carries no baggage.
Seabrook Deputy Chief Pat Manthorn said he asked Romney how he was going to support the troops in Iraq. Romney said that the troops needed upgrades in equipment and benefits and supported a $50 billion increase in the defense budget.
"It's going to have to come from taxes, and I have no problem with that," said Manthorn. "We've asked (our troops) to do a job and if we don't it's shame on us.
Hopefully we've got enough set in place to make sure incidents like September 11 won't happen again."