SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is bringing high-profile political figures, business leaders and campaign donors to Utah this summer for a retreat to discuss “key opportunities.”
The four-day event will feature speeches from Republicans, including Romney’s 2012 running mate, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and some prominent Democrats, according to a report in the Boston Globe.
President Barack Obama’s former senior adviser David Axelrod and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who served as chairman of last year’s Democratic National Convention, are also slated to speak, according to an email sent to Romney supporters.
The summit, titled “Experts and Enthusiasts,” will be held in June at the Deer Valley Resort in Park City.
Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman, Sun Microsystems co-founder Scott McNealy and Harvard Business School professor Clayton M. Christensen are also listed as speakers.
Event attendees must pay a $5,000 fee, which is not a political contribution but covers a portion of the cost of the conference, the newspaper reported. Many of the donors are investors in Solamere Capital, a venture capital firm founded by Romney’s oldest son, Tagg.
Kirk Jowers, director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah, told the Deseret News that Romney’s event shows he’s willing to play a role in the future of the Republican Party, but the bipartisan guest list doesn’t mean he’s trying to make the party more moderate.
“It strikes me as just a really interesting collection of people,” Jowers said. “Mitt has always been kind of the smartest guy in the room and he’s intrigued by other smart and interesting people.”
Axelrod told The Washington Post that he and his wife Susan will be discussing epilepsy research at the event. The couple has a daughter with epilepsy and founded an organization to search for a cure to the disease.
“We were pleased to accept, because we believe our common humanity in coping with disease far outweighs our political differences,” Axelrod told the Post.
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