Comments Show Romney Has No Idea What’s Going On With Wisconsin’s Middle Class Families

Democratic National Committee Communications Director Brad Woodhouse and President of the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin Mahlon Mitchell held a press call earlier today responding to Mitt Romney’s statement that we don’t need “more firemen, more policemen, more teachers.”

Listen to the Woodhouse/Mitchell call here.

Wisconsinites know that firefighters, police officers, and teachers are the backbone of a successful community, and Romney suggesting they aren’t vital to our well-being is shocking. These are hard-working Americans who want to make their cities and towns a better place and ensure 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 the reality of Wisconsinites.

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.

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. In Massachusetts, firefighters were among the many victims of Romney Economics. As Romney made clear on Friday, he doesn’t care about these jobs — 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.

From that earlier call, these remarks prepared for delivery:

DNC Communications Director Brad Woodhouse

Thank you for joining the call today. As you know, last week Mitt Romney showed just how out of touch he is with middle-class Wisconsinites.

In addition to joking that he is unemployed, that he thinks corporations are people too, and telling us that he likes firing people, in a moment of candor Mitt Romney said we don’t need more firefighters, policemen, and teachers. These types of statements and this type of sentiment is absolutely shocking.

Listening to that, hardworking Americans have to wonder just how much more disconnected from the concerns of middle-class Americans could Mitt Romney be?

These are hard-working folks who want to make their cities and towns a better place. To say anything otherwise is further proof that Mitt Romney is detached from the reality of hardworking Wisconsinites and the concerns of their everyday lives.

President Obama knows that firefighters, policemen, and teachers are the backbone of a successful community and that they have been hit hard by the recession. On top of creating 4.3 million private sector jobs over the past 27 months, President Obama has given Congress a clear plan that would create as many as one million new jobs and put firefighters, policemen, and teachers back to work. But Republicans in Congress are doing nothing to pass that plan and is leaving a million jobs on the table.

President Obama is the only one with a plan to move this country forward and strengthen our economy. Among the first things he did in office, President Obama saved more than 300,000 educators’ jobs and helped states prevent massive layoffs.

And he’s making sure they have the resources they need to do their jobs. He supported projects to modernize our children’s schools and smart reforms that give schools and school districts the flexibility they need to best serve students.

He also supported hiring programs, provided safety equipment and modernized firehouses and police stations that have helped thousands of police, firefighters and first responders keep their jobs and keep them safe.

President Obama understands that when these folks work, it not only helps our children in the classroom and keep our streets safe, but it also gives them more money to spend in their communities at the local shop or corner store.

President Obama is working hard to provide solutions. And what is Mitt Romney’s solution to strengthen the economy? Fire more people. Even Scott Walker in Wisconsin said that Mitt Romney learned the wrong lessons from Wisconsin in promising he will make cuts to these jobs.

Mitt Romney saying that we don’t benefit from more firefighters, police officers, and teachers is further proof of his philosophy of Romney Economics: more budget-busting tax cuts for the wealthy and fewer rules for Wall Street—the same formula that benefitted a few, but crashed our economy and punished the middle class.

And this is the same troubling formula that Mitt Romney put in place as governor of Massachusetts where he asked the middle class to continue to sacrifice more. Romney made drastic cuts in funding to education and first responders, and Massachusetts fell to 47th out of 50 in job creation. Middle class Americans can’t afford Romney Economics: tax cuts for the wealthy over investments in our community is not the formula for a successful community.

He’s promising the same solutions now. Make no mistake, though, the American people and the people of Wisconsin are going to continue to see through Mitt Romney’s devastating economic plan. It didn’t work in Massachusetts, it won’t work in Wisconsin, and it won’t work for America.

President of the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin Mahlon Mitchell

Thank you, Brad.

I’m Mahlon Mitchell, the President of the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin, which proudly represents thousands of professional firefighters across Wisconsin and this country.

First responders and teachers were among the many victims of Romney Economics in Massachusetts. Romney has made it absolutely crystal clear — he doesn’t care about our jobs. And apparently, he doesn’t care about Wisconsinites safety, either.

In his first year as governor of Massachusetts, Romney slashed investments in local aid, costing about 14,500 Massachusetts teachers, cops, librarians and others their jobs.
Romney also vetoed millions of dollars for fire-safety equipment. And it wasn’t funding in all-encompassing bill that Romney vetoed. He specifically targeted this safety equipment by vetoing it 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.

This type of funding would’ve saved 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.

Even personal-alert safety systems, air packs, tanks and compressors were on Romney’s chopping block. That’s the equipment that literally keeps firefighters alive and breathing while they’re surrounded by flames.

Firefighters simply cannot do their jobs without that lifesaving equipment.

Mitt Romney made it clear that equipment our first responders needed to keep themselves and our communities safe was not a priority to him. And these cuts were so contrary to the values of the Massachusetts people, that both parties in the State House and Senate overrode these vetoes unanimously.

But that didn’t stop Romney Economics. Governor Romney even had the gall to put a stop to building a fire station that would have been a living memorial for six local firefighters who died in a warehouse fire. This would have been important to both the families and the community, but it wasn’t important enough to Mitt Romney.

Regardless of what Mitt Romney might think, more cops and firefighters keep our streets safe and our communities protected. It’s a fact, and anyone who says otherwise is completely disconnected from reality.

The truth is Romney simply didn’t advocate for the folks who would’ve risked their lives to save him if his house was on fire – and his comments on Friday prove that nothing’s changed.

I don’t know a single person other than Mitt Romney who thinks we have too many teachers, too many police officers and too many firefighters in our communities.

Our first responders look out for us in tough times, and it’s our turn to do the same for them. Mitt Romney just doesn’t understand that.