The Mitt Romney who strides the national stage today is almost unrecognizable from the man who was once Massachusetts’s governor. He has lurched far right on a host of social issues, including immigration, abortion, and gay rights. He espouses a philosophy that demeans government and is far more skeptical — even cavalier — about the role of regulation in promoting a successful market economy. Romney now recalls his days as a “severely conservative” governor. Many remember something much different.
A case in point is Douglas Foy. In 2002, the freshly elected governor plucked Foy from his perch as head of the Conservation Law Foundation and, in effect, made him deputy governor, overseeing four state agencies (transportation, housing, environment, and energy). The position — titled Secretary of Commonwealth Development — was dreamt up by Romney as a way to coordinate the activities of different state agencies with often overlapping missions. “His idea of a superagency was really smart,” says Foy. Otherwise we get “silos” — agencies focused solely on their own agendas without regard for their effects on other state priorities.