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Mitt Romney Visits the U’s Hinckley Institute for Congressional Series

Romney spoke about the CHIPS Act, foreign policy and social capital.
Marco Lozzi
Sen. Mitt Romney speaking next to Rick Larsen during the Sutherland Institute’s 2023 Congressional Series at Hinckley Institute of Politics on the University of Utah campus in Salt Lake City, Monday, Aug. 21, 2023. (Photo by Marco Lozzi | The Daily Utah Chronicle)


Sen. Mitt Romney spoke at the Hinckley Institute Monday as part of the Sutherland Institute’s 2023 Congressional Series. The talk was one of several visits this month by different members of Congress, including Sen. Mike Lee and Rep. Burgess Owens.  

The Sutherland Institute is a non-profit that seeks to educate teens, young adults and couples about the “success sequence,” which includes strengthening connections to work and marriage. Romney was accompanied by Sutherland Institute President and CEO Rick B. Larsen, who guided the discussion.


The CHIPS and Science Act was signed into law by the Biden Administration in August of 2022. The law allocated $53 billion to invest in the American semiconductor industry. One year later, companies have announced $166 billion in investments, as well as expanding programs in 50 community colleges in 19 states to help workers access jobs in the semiconductor industry. 

While Romney supported the legislation, he expressed concerns that too much of the semiconductor industry is still outsourced to China.

“Virtually everything you buy — cars, cell phones, iPads, TVs and so forth, require semiconductors,” Romney said. “I’m told a Ford pickup has 50 different semiconductors.” Currently, over 60% of semiconductors are manufactured in Taiwan. 

The CHIPS Act seeks to increase production on American soil. However, Romney said the current administration is not doing enough to simulate the American semiconductor industry.

“President Obama and now President Biden, when they named huge swaths of land in America as national monuments, the Enviros [environmentalists] are all very excited,” Romney said. “Well, that’s the land where we have uranium, and where we have the raw batteries. So we’re basically guaranteeing by doing that, America can’t be competitive in the new economy.”

Sen. Mitt Romney shakes hands with junior ROTC members during the Sutherland Institute’s 2023 Congressional Series at Hinckley Institute of Politics on the University of Utah campus in Salt Lake City, Monday, Aug. 21, 2023. (Photo by Marco Lozzi | The Daily Utah Chronicle) (Marco Lozzi)

Foreign Policy

Following the discussion of semiconductors, Romney was asked his opinion on American foreign policy regarding China.

“I can tell you we don’t have much of a relationship with China at this stage,” Romney said. “There’s an attempt on the part of the President and secretary of state to establish some links.”

Tensions between the United States and China have been on the rise. In a recent survey of American businesses in China, 46% expressed concerns about deteriorating relations between the two countries. Romney urged the Biden administration to develop further foreign policy regarding relations with China.

“China has a game plan by 2049 to dominate the world economically, militarily and geopolitically,” he said.

Last week, Biden signed an executive order limiting American investment in three sectors of China’s tech industry — including semiconductors. Currently, the U.S. Treasury Department is also considering a complete ban on investment in the production of quantum information technologies.

Social Capital

Both Romney and Larsen discussed social capital in Utah extensively.

“We get confused as to what it is that will make us happy,” Romney said. “The funny thing is getting married, having kids, having a job and having a purpose bigger than your own selfish interests makes you happier.”

According to the Utah Foundation, Utah ranks the highest in the country when it comes to social capital. Social capital is measured through positive relationships with others. Romney attributed Utah’s high social capital score to the state’s higher-than-average marriage rate and average kids per family

The next speaker in the Hinckley Institute’s 2023 congressional series is Sen. Mike Lee, who will speak Tuesday, Aug. 22.


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About the Contributors
Elle Cowley, Multimedia Managing Editor
Elle Cowley (they/them) is a Junior at the University of Utah pursuing a degree in Strategic Communications. Currently, they work for The Daily Utah Chronicle as Multimedia Managing Editor, at Slug Magazine as an Editorial Intern and at KUER as an Intern for RadioWest. Their favorite part of their work is talking to lots of different people and telling their stories. Some of the work they're the most proud of is their work on the narrative podcast, Can of Worms and their Op-Ed series on anti-trans legislation in Utah. When Elle isn't out in the field, they enjoy knitting, visiting record stores and reading pulpy sci-fi.
Marco Lozzi, Photographer
Born in Texas and raised by Italian parents, Marco Lozzi grew up with two vastly different cultures. Now a sophomore at the U, he is majoring in communication with a journalism emphasis while also minoring in photography and Italian. He joined the Chrony to gain experience working as a photojournalist for a larger entity. When he's not taking or editing photos, he can be found hitting the slopes, napping, or making pasta.

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