Scanlon, a political independent, wasn’t a fan of the former governor.
“He never visited Beverly when I was mayor. He met with the Mayors Association once, it didn’t go well, and it never happened again,” Scanlon said, describing a Romney PowerPoint presentation that was “poorly received” and regarded by many mayors as distant. “I don’t think he was accessible to anyone. I think all the mayors felt he wasn’t very connected.”
Most meetings at the Statehouse begin with some lighthearted banter, but for Romney and then-Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey, “that wasn’t either of their styles,” said Rep. John Keenan, a Salem Democrat. “I would describe them both as matter-of-fact, very professional.”
Hill also described Romney as very professional, but said the governor was warm and frequently spoke about his family in caucus meetings. Hill disagreed with the perception that Romney’s CEO-like style was cold.
“When he was elected, he was not a creature of Beacon Hill; he had a business background. He wasn’t accustomed to all the backslapping that goes on here,” Hill said.
“When he took office, there was a huge tsunami of an economic downturn, and he had to put his business cap on and be very calculating about how to get us out of this storm. I saw someone who wanted to see the commonwealth persevere through very bad economic times.”
Tarr described Romney as a passionate leader who had the courage to fight for what he believed.
In May 2005, Romney introduced Melanie’s Law — named after a 13-year-old girl killed by a repeat drunken driver — which set new, harsher laws for people convicted of drunken driving. The House Judiciary Committee removed many of the tougher provisions, so Romney sent it back and demanded more.