Republican candidates for national and state offices emphasized the importance of job growth, welfare reform and reduced crime at a roundtable discussion yesterday at the Law School.
Lt. Gov. Paul Cellucci, seventh congressional district candidate Patricia Hardiman Long and contesters for Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's '54-56 U.S. Senate seat spoke at the event co-sponsored by the Harvard Law School Republican and the City of Cambridge Republican Committee.
Fifty Law School students and local Republican Party officials attended the event which was held at Austin Hall yesterday afternoon.
The speakers, who also included candidates for attorney general and for Massachusetts secretary of state, told the audience about their political experiences and expressed their positions on many issues.
The candidates also distributed pamphlets and urged students to become involved in their campaigns.
Cellucci set the tone of the discussion with a keynote speech which praised Gov. William F. Weld's '66 record since taking office in 1991.
"We took a state that was a financial basket case and by every financial indicator ready to go off the cliff," Cellucci said. "Since  we've seen a quadruple increase in our bond rating and the state's fiscal policy is the best that it has been in a decade."
Cellucci said that if Republican candidates in Massachusetts want to be successful in the upcoming elections, they need to discuss their plans for the future.
"Elections are not only about what you have done, but what you will do," Cellucci said. "We have to articulate an agenda for the future of the state."
Addressing crime, Cellucci said that the recent killing of two Massachusetts police officers should motivate Republicans to campaign for the reinstatement of capital punishment.
Massachusetts has not used the death penalty since 1947.
"We need to send a message to criminals that if you kill a police officer, you will get the death penalty," Cellucci said. "I believe it will be a deterrent."
The relatively unknown challengers for Kennedy's Senate seat introduced the audience to their political backgrounds and explained how their positions differ form the incumbent's.
Gary W. Todd, a Fitchburg, Mass. Regional sales manager for Blount Communications, said he shares the "values, hopes and dreams of ordinary people."
"I am not a celebrity nor a noted scholar. I'm just an ordinary man, but ordinary men often do extraordinary things," Todd said. "If I'm elected, you will get your vote and your voice back after 32 years."
Mitt Romney, chief executive of a Boston venture capital firm and a Harvard Law School graduate, said his experience in the private sector will help if he is elected to the Senate.
Romney added that, during his years in office, Kennedy has not been receptive to the needs of today's Massachusetts residents.
"We need a senator for our time, not his time or as I like to call it, the Leave it to Beaver times," said Romney, who is also is a Harvard Business School graduate.
Senate candidates Janet Jeghelian, John Lakian and Mildred Jefferson also spoke at the event.