Mitt Romney and Ham radio

Jan 31, 2008 5:02 am

From Southgate Amateur Radio Club:
Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney says that he never intended to demean Amateur radio in an exchange with a television reporter two years ago. This, as the debate over his comments flares anew on the ham bands and on hobby radio blogging websites nationwide....during a televised town meeting that aired on November 16 of 2005 on segment 2 of WCVB television's "When Disaster Strikes." The program featured public safety and volunteer organization officials from across Massachusetts.

Moderator Natalie Jacobson had asked Governor Romney questions about communications interoperability, and communication without commercial power. During the exchange Jacobson commented ' you don't see yourself getting down to ham radio operators?...' The then governor replied: "No, we don't need to deal with ham radio operators. We have power systems that allow us to speak with one another and to manage our response."

Hams across Massachusetts and eventually across the nation only seemed to hear the words "we don't need to deal with ham radio operators" and reacted negatively.... The issue eventually died away only to reappear on the ham radio blogs in recent weeks as a result of Romney seeking the Republican party's nomination to run for the U.S. presidency. For example, in the Talk and Opinion area of there is a subject titled: "Do we want a President who hates ham radio?" Reading the ongoing discussion shows that few of those taking part have ever have seen or heard the show in question,

Amateur Radio Newsline's Don Wilbanks was the one who contacted Mitt Romney and asked him to explain. The Romney staff wrote back: "The exchange with Natalie Jacobsen was meant to imply that we need to strengthen our emergency response infrastructure, rather than demean the important role I recognize that Ham Radio Operators play around our country."

The entire segment of the program "When Disaster Strikes" can be seen at the WCVB website. The url is
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