Helena – In Montana, we all recognize the critical role that our state’s firefighters take on every day to keep our communities safe. All of us except wealthy East Coast developer Matt Rosendale, that is. Rosendale has a shameful history of voting repeatedly against Montana’s brave first responders.
Rosendale voted against covering Montana’s volunteer firefighters with workers compensation insurance, while the Montana Fire Alliance called workers compensation their top policy priority for Montana’s firefighters.
Maryland Matt also opposed a bipartisan measure increasing the maximum allowance for volunteer firefighters from $300 per year to $3,000 per year. It passed with a large majority, despite Rosendale’s no vote.
Of Montana’s 388 fire departments, 374 are volunteer fire departments.
Rosendale has been consistent in his opposition to increasing our brave volunteer firefighters’ salaries and benefits; he voted three times against measures backed by the Montana Volunteer Firefighters Association and volunteer firefighters themselves to increase pension benefits for volunteer firefighters. That includes a bill that Ryan Zinke said would help volunteer firefighters, whom he called “the backbone of rural communities,” by allowing service after 30 years to count towards their pensions.
Rosendale’s bad record doesn’t end there. Not only that, he voted against a bill to ensure that Montana’s rural firefighters injured in the line of duty receive the same financial protections as city firefighters – the legislation didn’t even cost the state any additional money.
And just as egregiously, Rosendale voted against a bipartisan measure to allow Montana’s volunteer firefighters—and other first responders—who are critically injured in the line of duty to fish with a conservation license during rehabilitation trips. He even voted against increasing per diem meal costs for wildfire firefighters, who weren’t getting enough calories at the standard per diem meal rate due to the strenuous nature of their job.
The brave men and women volunteering to put their lives on the line for us deserve better than that. If Matt Rosendale had Montana values, he’d recognize that.
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