Great Falls Firefighters: Anderson defense for voting against firefighters “too little, too late”

Great Falls Legislators Fred Anderson and Jeremy Trebas have been in hot water ever since they went back on their word to firefighters. Great Falls is the hometown of Jason Baker, a firefighter who is battling stage 4 lung cancer because of toxins he was exposed to on the job.

Representative Trebas has stuck to arguing with the Great Falls firefighters he voted against on Facebook, but Representative Anderson defended his “change of heart” in an op-ed in the Great Falls Tribune. When you’re playing defense, you know you’ve done something out-of-line with your constituents.

In his op-ed, Anderson writes:

I want firefighters to know that I highly admire and respect them for their incredible job of protecting us and keeping our communities safe. My vote against the bill was the hardest one I have had to take in the legislature. The difficulty of my vote was compounded by the fact that I had told some of our firefighters that I would support the bill before I had heard the testimony and researched the bill. That was a mistake on my part and a lesson learned.

I want our community to know that my vote was against a flawed bill and not against our firefighters.

Great Falls firefighters weren’t buying it and responded on Facebook with the following:

We appreciate Representative Anderson’s opinion but it is too little too late.

1. Currently the City has no obligation nor does workers comp to cover Lung Cancer as an occupational disease, that is the point of the bill, so how can the bill transfer liability from the City to the State when there is no liability to the City right now?

2. All the testimony was in support of this bill explaining the direct corrilation between fire fighting and lung cancer, remember fire fighters are at a 63% greater risk to get cancer then the normal population. And there was no testimony against the bill.

3. The bill was written ONLY for fire fighters because fire fighters are the ONLY occupation that enter toxic atmospheres that are unknown to them. All other industries know the exposure limits of chemicals that the are being exposed to.

4. FIRE FIGHTERS ARE NOT A LIABILITY!!!!!

Call 444-3776 and leave a message for Representatives Anderson and Trebas.

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