mike turnerAs Mitt Romney made his way to collect money from wealthy special interests in Williamson County yesterday, Rep. Mike Turner, a career firefighter, and Principal Roxie Ross, a lifelong educator, held a press conference call in response to candidate’s claim that we don’t need “more firemen, more policemen, more teachers.”

Tennesseans know that firefighters, policemen, and teachers are the backbone of a strong and successful community. Romney’s suggestion that these people aren’t vital to our wellbeing is nothing short of shocking. These are hard-working Americans who want to improve their cities and town, ensuring that every American has a shot at the American Dream and the opportunity to live in a safe, prosperous community.  To say anything otherwise is further proof that Mitt Romney is detached from reality in Tennessee, and indeed across America.

But this comes as no surprise, coming from a candidate who has joked about being unemployed himself, said he likes firing people, and claimed that corporations are people. Obviously, Romney doesn’t get it. Though he spent yesterday using Tennessee as a venue to supplement his campaign capital, he is clearly out of touch with the realities our middle class families face on a daily basis.

Mitt Romney saying we don’t benefit from more firefighters, police officers, and teachers is further proof of his philosophy of Romney Economics:  tax cuts for the wealthy over investments in our community—the same formula that benefitted a few, but crashed our economy and punished the middle class.  His track record isn’t good: in Massachusetts, firefighters were among the many victims of Romney Economics. As Romney made clear on Friday, he doesn’t care about these jobs or the people that hold them, but as governor he didn’t seem to care about their safety, either, vetoing millions of dollars for fire-safety equipment, and targeting that equipment with a line-item veto.

“Mitt Romney first cut funding for our coats, pants, helmets and boots – equipment that is essential to do the job and that protects firefighters when they run into a burning building. He went a step further when he cut funding for handheld lights that help firefighters see through the smoke, and the devices that help them communicate with other firefighters,” said Rep. Turner. ”This type of funding could save more lives by giving firefighters the tools they need to find the victims in a fire, and to track their fellow firefighters to make sure they make it out okay.”

Why put our struggling economy in the hands of someone who so unabashedly slights the value and safety of our vital public servants?

“In his first year in office, Romney slashed investments in local aid, costing about 14,500 Massachusetts teachers, cops, librarians and others their jobs. This put major stress on the state and local school districts, and inevitably led to thousands of teacher layoffs and larger classrooms in Massachusetts.  Teachers can’t be expected to do their jobs and provide the best education for our kids with larger class sizes and without the technology needed to teach our kids in an advancing world,” said Principal Ross.

To keep America on an upward trajectory of job creation and economic growth, we must entrust our economy to someone who values the jobs that hold communities together and won’t sacrifice the safety or well being of any citizen. That person is clearly not Mitt Romney.

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