Friday, July 28, 2006

A$$hole Senator blasts firefighters

Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT) is running for re-election this year in a state where Democrats normally fare poorly. However, his opponent is leading in many polls because Burns, among other things, was pretty cozy with disgraced ex-lobbyist convict Jack Abramoff.

So what does Burns think will help him in his dogfight bid for re-election? Apparently, he thinks criticizing Virginia firefighters who come into his state to battle a wildfire will resonate with the folks back in Big Sky country. From FNC:
Sen. Conrad Burns confronted members of a Virginia firefighting team at an airport and told them they had done a "poor job" battling a southern Montana wildfire, according to a state official's report obtained Thursday.

A spokesman for the Montana senator confirmed that Burns talked to the firefighters but said he couldn't comment on the conversation because he didn't witness it.

"Senator Burns takes the responsibility of representing Montanans very seriously, so when he hears from landowners about the tens of thousands of acres lost to wild fires, his heart breaks," Matt Mackowiak said.

Members of the "hotshot" wildfire crew said Burns confronted them in the Billings airport on Sunday while they were awaiting a flight home, according to the report by Paula Rosenthal, a state Department of Natural Resources and Conservation employee who was serving as the fire information officer in the area.

The firefighters said Burns told them they had done a "poor job" on the fire and should have listened to the concerns of ranchers, the report said.

The hotshot crew was battling a 143-square-mile wildfire near Pompeys Pillar National Monument, east of Billings. The blaze started July 12 and was contained last week.

Rosenthal, who prepared her report at the direction of agency supervisors, said she was sent to the airport to meet with Burns after reports of an "altercation."

"The toughest part of the conversation was the point where the senator was critical of a firefighter sitting across from us in the gate area," Rosenthal wrote. "I offered to the senator that our firefighters make around $8 to $12 an hour and time-and-a-half for overtime. He seemed a bit surprised that it wasn't higher."
One can infer that by his poor attitude towards the firefighters, the ingrate Senator probably thinks the out-of-state firefighters are overpaid.

With the bloated spending, infighting from stem cell funding and minimum wage raising and illegal immigration, the last thing that the GOP needed to do was have their politicians doing anything else stupid. Obviously, Burns didn't get the memo.