Skip to comments.Romney "Disses" Amateur Radio In Televised Town Meeting (and why he won't get my vote)
Posted on 01/10/2008 11:30:21 AM PST by Rick.Donaldson
Romney "Disses" Amateur Radio In Televised Town Meeting Posted on Wednesday 16 November 2005 @ 15:48:10
Governor Mitt Romney dismissed the role of Amateur Radio operators in emergency communications during a televised "town meeting" program last night on WCVB's "When Disaster Strikes: Segment Two." The program featured public safety and volunteer organization officials from across Massachusetts among its audience.
Host and moderator Natalie Jacobson asked an increasingly-agitated Governor Romney questions about communications interoperability, and communication without commercial power. Romney was next asked by Jacobson, "...so does it come down to ham radio?..."
The Governor replied in a disgusted tone, "No, we don't need to deal with ham radio operators..."
Embarrassed public safety officials later tried to put in a good word for Amateur Radio. National Weather Service Warning Coordination Meteorologist Glenn Field was prepared to state the importance of Amateur Radio, when Salvation Army Colonel Fred Van Brunt was called upon. Van Brunt remarked about his organization's quest to improve its communications capabilities and how Amateur Radio has aided his organization. "The ham radio situation helps a great deal," he stated.
"I have already written and submitted a letter to the Governor's Office," wrote Eastern MA Section Emergency Coordinator Rob Macedo, KD1CY. "I have also written an email to Natalie Jacobson."
ARRL Section Manager Mike Neilsen, W1MPN sent a section-wide email today to all Eastern MA ARRL members describing the incident along with actions he and his staff were taking to mitigate the situation.
"[Romney's] attitude about us sets an unfortunate tone within the state's executive branch," wrote Neilsen. "As a former military officer, I see this as a failure in leadership. My immediate concern is our working relationship within the [Massachusetts Emergency Management Team] environment." Neilsen intends to address the Governor's comments as "an urgent matter" at a meeting on November 17 with Don Carlton from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.
"I was very disturbed about what the Governor stated on the program," wrote Ron Wood, W1PLW, the section's Public Information Coordinator. "It does show that more work is needed by all hams in the section. It's a great idea to write letters explaining the good we do." Wood is attempting to schedule a meeting with the Governor's office tomorrow so that EMA ARRL staffers might discuss the matter further.
Tom Kinahan, N1CPE wrote that Governor Romney's comment has made "a PR problem" for Kinahan in his role as MA State RACES Officer.
"I've got a roster of over 150 Amateur Radio operators that support local communities, and those of us that directly support the state government. There are at least double that in terms of people that are actually out there that I don't have formal paperwork on that support Amateur Radio emergency communications in some organized manner... The Governor has said that he 'certainly doesn't need to rely on ham radio' -- where does that leave the RACES program now?"
"I am ashamed tonight that I am a Republican!" remarked one ham radio viewer. "[Romney] speaks in derogatory tones about hams. He certainly shows an ignorance as to what we do and are capable of. I suggest a grass roots campaign of local hams calling the State House and The Governor's Office to protest."
The television program can be viewed at http://www.thebostonchannel.com/video/5334306/detail.html.
That’s basically what we’ve been doing, BA. In reality, that’s precisely what Amateur Radio IS anyway. There’s certainly a hobby aspect to it, but many amateurs are involved in providing emergency communications when necessary, and they practice this, prepare and keep their equipment ready for the moment’s notice.
There are others involved in satellite communications and Amateurs have launched many satellites into space. The International Space Station contains a full set of both voice and digital radio gear, and nearly every American and most Russian Astronauts are also amateur radio operators as well.
Ham radio is something that most people don’t “see”, but it can be felt. Everything from digital communications we use today in Wifi systems, to cellular telephones, satellites and other forms of communications (not to MENTION computers) had it’s beginning somewhere on the desk of a Ham Radio Operator. Every piece of technology out there has been touched in some way by Amateur radio and had it’s meager beginnings with Ham radio at some point or another.
You know, I remember when all the “first responders” (What everyone used to call the Police, Fireman, Ambulance, etc) used Motorola radios for everything. Hell, they probably had tubes in them.
But comms was never an issue, till our city bought a whole passle of new digital “trunk” units (whatever they are) and the end users started complaining about dead spots and difficulties. They aren’t cheap, either. Now I’m all for modernization, but sometimes simple and robust is better - particularly in an emergency, and particularly as backup.
If the city fathers are in charge of public finances as well as some level of safety and communication with the public, they ought to KEEP those old radios at some level of maintenance and/or as a backup. I’d bet they DIDN’T.
HAMs *live* for that kind of thing - and they typically don’t require AC power, but have transceivers that work on backup DC - batteries. There’s something to be said for that. Why Gov. Romney would cavalierly dismiss a great bunch of guys doesn’t make sense. He has to be taken out of context, if only because no politician would ever do that knowingly.
Everything you stated in your post is true, RD. While I’ve never been a ‘ham operator’ I did grow up with a CB base station, and was a Radioman in the Navy for four years.
(And I’ve slept at a Holiday Inn Express)
The one part you fail to address is the simple fact that if everything goes down the tubes to the point only ham operators are ‘up and running’ nobody but other ham operators will hear them....(chuckle)
If Romney buys a ham radio, eats a ham sandwich, shows up wearing a nice set of headphones on Leno, installs large attena’s at every home he currently owns, every home he passes by over the next six months while campaigning (he could afford you know) falls to his knees and then taps out Morse Code for ‘please forgive me my hammy friends’ will you reconsider?
Obviously his worst fear is The People who do not need the government to facilitate every service, especially communications.
And local emergencies too. They do yeoman work without fanfare or pay. Maybe thats this businessman's problem...no profit in it.
This was an incredibly ignorant and stupid remark.
I wasn’t attempting to “garner a reaction”. Sorry for disappointing you. I was explaining a point of view. Apparently several folks here are nothing but trolls anyway, because they post immediately and obviously didn’t TAKE some time to actually read the article. /shrug. So, whatever “reaction” garnered by the article is not something I looked for, rather expected.
The trolls come out of the woodwork, and that’s pretty obvious. LOL
Neighbor two doors down from me has a HUGE antennae. Doesn’t bother me one bit.
And if TSHTF I know where to go for news.
It just proves it, MR is a stupid man.
ARO - rock!
I feel the need to reply just because my username is a ham radio callsign. Ahem.
I’m waiting to hear his stance on the really important issue of the day - the apparent collapse of HD DVD and the rise of Blu-Ray.
>[Romney] speaks in derogatory tones about hams.
I didn’t know that Romney was Jewish.
I agree. And it’s interesting that he has no knowledge of this.
I don’t necessarily think of Ham radio operators as geeky people without lives, but I do visualize them in a poorly lit basement chain-smoking and talking to somebody about nothing in Kuala Lumpur.
What a dickhead. I remember hearing Air Force one and a station from Texas trying to get a hold of someone in charge in NOLA during the flyover. They did talk with the EOC in Slidell though.
Would he be stupid enough to see little need for private radio operators on the great lakes and oceans?
Likely yes because he is a NE liberal without much experience in the real world or the outdoors.
Politicians think that if it doesn’t come from bureaucrats on a government salary it can’t be good, or controlled by politicians.
>What I dont understand is, how does this elitists[sic] idiot even know what a HAM radio operator is or does? And why would he have an opinion?