Though Republican candidate for president Mitt Romney spent some time Tuesday boxing up food for firefighters and displaced residents in Colorado Springs, his comments about cutting federal legislation for firefighters are still haunting him.
"Firefighters don’t need another photo-op in front of the cameras with someone who doesn’t care about us,” Randy Rester, President of Aurora Fire Fighters Local 1290, an affiliate of the Colorado AFL-CIO said in a prepared statement Wednesday. “What we need is someone who has our back with personnel, equipment, pensions, and health care. Mitt Romney doesn’t back Colorado firefighters where it counts. And neither do any of the Colorado members who support firefighting budget cuts.”
In the press release, Aurora Firefighters also call out GOP Congressmen Mike Coffman, Cory Gardner, and Scott Tipton for voting for the Paul Ryan budget which would cut firefighting support by 19 percent.
But just the day before President Barack Obama visited the Waldo Canyon wildfire site in late June, all nine of Colorado's congressional members asked the president to declare the state a disaster area, freeing up federal funds for victims of the High Park and Waldo Canyon fires. Combined, the High Park and Waldo Canyon fires have cost at least $50 million just to contain.
The Waldo Canyon fire took 17 days to reach full containment by Wednesday morning, killed two people, destroyed nearly 350 homes and was the most destructive fire in the state's history.
“Given the severe fire danger right now is there anyone who really believes we need less firefighters?” said Aurora firefighter Steve Clapham. “The American people need leaders who will invest in firefighters and in public safety. We need the support of politicians who understand the importance of the job that we do.”