Colorado Gov. Roy Romer thinks Ted Wilson would make a great governor. That's not too surprising, considering Romer is a Democrat like Wilson.
Romer came to Salt Lake City on Monday to campaign with Wilson. But while Romer thinks Wilson is great, he wouldn't say what he thinks of Republican Gov. Norm Bangerter."I won't make any comparisons with Norm Bangerter. None," Romer said at a press conference. "Norm is a good, personal friend."
While Romer wouldn't say anything good about Bangerter, either, without seeing where reporters' questions were leading him, he did say that a governor shouldn't be blamed for the economic woes of his state.
A major theme of Wilson's campaign is that Bangerter has mismanaged the state, mismanaged the economy and should be replaced.
Romer said neither he nor his Democratic predecessor should be blamed for the downturn in Colorado's economy.
"Colorado was hit hard (economically). We're still coming out of the trough." Colorado oil and mining industries suffered greatly the past several years, as have Utah's extraction industries, Romer said. "We were hit hard on construction. We're over-built, still. Downtown Denver has 24-26 percent vacancy rates," he said.
"All the Western states were hit," he said. In fact, Bangerter could have been speaking when Romer said the West's economy was harmed by national and international changes outside the control of local officials.
Asked if Bangerter should be blamed for Utah's economy - as Wilson has blamed him - Romer said he wouldn't discuss the governor. Asked if any politician should be blamed, he realized where the questioning was leading. "I don't have the personal knowledge on the Utah economy to make that judgment. I leave that judgment to the people of Utah," Romer said.
Wilson then jumped in, saying that leadership at the state level can make a difference, as Romer's has done in Colorado and as Gov. Neil Goldschmidt's has in Oregon.
"We need a new spirit in Utah. And we need to focus the state's resources on things in Utah that need to be done," Wilson said. "We've had a unique economic situation in Utah" that can't be compared exactly with other Western states.
Romer went on to say that Utahns have a history of good, Democratic leadership in the governor's office. "I want to see that again," he said. "You look at the competence of the man first, then at political affiliation. In Utah, you choose the best man. Ted Wilson is not ideological. He's not to the right or left. He solves problems. And that is the most important thing a governor can do."