LANSING — This week, Republican legislators are considering efforts to strip away critically important benefits for retired police and firefighters, such as health care. In response, state Representative Kevin Hertel (D-St. Clair Shores) issued the following response:

“I will stand firmly against any attempt to take away retiree health care benefits that our police and firefighters have earned. Our police and firefighters put our welfare and safety before their own every day of their professional careers, sometimes at great cost. First responders are at greater risk for serious injuries on the job, and for firefighters, who are at a greater risk for certain cancers because of exposure to carcinogens in the flames, the danger doesn’t end when the crisis does. We need real, thoughtful reforms to keep our local governments fiscally healthy without stripping promised health care from first responders—a situation we wouldn’t be in if Michigan Republicans had not given tax breaks to corporations at the cost of revenue sharing with communities. I stand with our police, firefighters and local governments against this attempt to strip away the benefits they earned.”