Fighting for first responders

Barack Obama

Made in Ohio tour with Joe Biden, May 16, 2012

Last month, I stopped by a fire station in Salem, Ohio, to thank some of the folks who put their lives on the line every day to keep our communities safe. Throughout my whole career, I’ve fought to assure that police and firefighters have the resources to protect our communities—as well as one another. I’ve made it a habit to thank them at every opportunity I have.

President Obama and I know that when we invest in police officers and firefighters, we’re building something that’s going to last: safer towns and cities all over the country, and more jobs for the middle class. That’s why the President and I have worked to make sure firefighters and police officers have the resources they need to do their jobs as safely as possible—and it’s why supporting first responders is a key part of the President’s plan to create up to a million new jobs.

For so many Americans, including myself, the debt we all owe to our firefighters and police officers is personal. To these men and women, what they do every day is a job—to the rest of us, it’s our lives, our homes, and our families.

So when I hear that Mitt Romney is calling for us to “cut back” on jobs for police officers and firefighters, that tells me one thing: he just doesn’t get it. Firing first responders won’t grow our economy—it will put our public safety at risk, and make an already tough job even tougher.

We’ve seen the consequences of these cutbacks before, when Mitt Romney tried to put the same plan in place for Massachusetts. As governor, he slashed local aid, forcing communities to lay off 14,500 local government workers—including police officers and firefighters. He raised fees for police training, and vetoed $2.5 million in funding for fire safety equipment and $1 million for fire education. Both vetoes were overridden unanimously. He also tried to strip union membership from thousands of government employees.

Actions like these aren’t just an attack on firefighters and police officers—they’re an attack on middle-class, working Americans who deserve better, and their families. It’s the interest of these Americans that the President and I are prepared to fight for every day.

The next few months are going to be a tough fight—and we can’t do it on our own. Join us by making sure your friends and family know exactly where President Obama and Mitt Romney stand when it comes to keeping our communities safe and supporting first responders—get a conversation started today.

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