LETTERS

No offense meant to firefighters

Posted

To the Editor: 

As a state senator, I do what I think is right. 

 That’s how I’ll act, and that’s how I’ll vote. 

Last Thursday, a sizeable crowd of firefighters picketed a fundraiser I held at Iggy’s in Oakland Beach. Their contention was that, because of my vote on 2019-S 747 and comments on the floor of the Senate, I don’t care about firefighter safety. That’s simply not true. I am deeply concerned for the safety of firefighters, as well as the public.

Unfortunately, my words were taken out of context in video snippets of my remarks. From that, the contention was that I said firefighters don’t care about their own safety. I did not say that, and never would. Of course firefighters are concerned for their own safety.  

The firefighters were exercising their First Amendment rights by protesting, and I have no problem with that. However, I was disappointed that many of them did not know that I had apologized. In mid-May, when I learned that my remarks had been considered offensive by some, 

I spoke with union officials Paul Valletta and Michael Carreiro and told them that I did not mean to offend the firefighters. Understanding that I did, though, I apologized. 

For every bill, though, there are arguments in support and against. I didn’t consider the safety argument to be strong, given the extent of voluntary OT many firefighters choose to take. I’ve heard this from firefighters before. I simply noted my thoughts on that argument. At the same time, I spoke about the dangers firefighters face, on our behalf, on a regular basis. I made clear that I appreciate that. I appreciate the service of all those who put themselves in harm’s way.

I am a new senator. I don’t purport to be a veteran speech-giver. So, sometimes what I’m looking to say might not come across perfectly. But I wish the folks picketing had known that I had apologized – long before my event.

These are difficult times, financially, in Warwick and elsewhere. We are seeing cities and towns have a lot of trouble balancing their budgets. I fully expect firefighters and other workers to advocate for themselves and try to get everything they can get. It’s elected officials who have the obligation to look at all sides of every issue and make the tough choices.

I appreciate the support I’ve received from firefighters. While we may not always agree on everything, I’m always grateful to them for the work they do to keep us safe. I’ll work to help them do that, just as I work every day to do what I think is right for the people of Warwick and the State of Rhode Island.

Mark McKenney

Senate District 30

Warwick

Comments

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davebarry

Ask Bob Cushman how hard the firemen will come after you for speaking truth to their power senator.

Tuesday, June 4
Cat

Unfortunately, I doubt your apology holds any weight with the WFD and union. As seen from the amount of people that showed up to protest, I doubt you will be seeing a dime from them during campaign season. Best bet is to spread your net out further and see who else is willing to contribute. I would be shocked if this was a 1 time deal. This could potentially be a part of every fundraising event you run. The real loser regarding this protest was the businesses and local community that were there for no other reason than to enjoy one of the perks of our city.

Why do you have to make your particular issue an issue for everyone? S&S you couldn't cross the picket line without getting shouted at and pictures taken and posted to social media, teachers union with their sick outs, FF union in OB and making it difficult for anyone to get around. Your issue is your issue. Why make it a hassle for the public too? You made your point but in no way made me sympathetic to your issue. I am more inclined to lean towards McKenny now.

Tuesday, June 4
James

Cat, the unions issue has nothing to do with his vote. It had everything to do with his comments. Yes I heard he called the unions E Board. They told him (prior to his event) make a public statement and apologize and there will be no picket. While he did not do that prior, he did this week. I believe there will be no more pickets of his events. We support those who support us, plain and simple. Many important people showed up for the event and did not cross it. Our point was well taken.

Wednesday, June 5
george carver

The price of greed and mismanagement.

Wednesday, June 5
Cat

James,

"They told him (prior to his event) make a public statement and apologize and there will be no picket."

Do you know what that sounds like to me? You went against the family so the family will go against you unless you do things our way. That feels a lot like retaliation and intimidation.

Your issue with a politicians public comment became an issue for the entire PUBLIC! I am very glad you feel that your point was made and there shouldn't be any more picketing. Fingers crossed it won't happen again, right?

Friday, June 7
FastFRED Ward 4

FINISH

Monday, June 10
davebarry

Cat, James just identified himself as a RICO member. That's the way they are acting. 'Go against the family' is exactly right. They are acting like a criminal enterprise and will target anyone that disagrees with them. Any wonder that unions are disappearing?

Tuesday, June 11