Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Teamster addresses nation at Democratic National Convention

Teamster Brother Ken Myers on the big screen at the Democratic National Convention.
Four days after getting a call out of the blue, Carroll County Deputy Sheriff Ken Myers is representing the Teamsters at the Democratic National Convention. This afternoon he addressed the assembled delegates -- and the country -- from a podium in Charlotte, N.C.

It's been an adventure, from the last-minute flight, a mix-up over hotel rooms, questions about what to wear and what to say and backstage jitters. But he did great. His speech was frequently interrupted by applause

Brother Myers started off by proudly stating, "I am a Teamster, and a father."

Here are his remarks:

I’m lucky to walk a pretty quiet beat, as they say.  
But one evening last spring, me and two other officers answered a call, a domestic disturbance. As one of my partners knocked on the front door of the house, I went around back. 
That’s when, through a window, I saw a man with a gun. And he saw us. 
A daunting venue.
He started firing. We took cover. Backup arrived, and we spent the night trying to convince the suspect to surrender.   
By morning, he walked out the door, hands in the air. 
Thankfully, no one was hurt. 
First responders like me put our lives on the line. We’re proud to do it. It’s the job we signed up for. To protect and serve.  
But we need a leader who will do the same for. And that leader is President Barack Obama.  
Governor Romney has said, “it’s time to cut back” on public employees like teachers, firefighters, and cops. And that’s exactly what his plan would do. 
When the Republican Governor of Ohio attacked the collective bargaining rights of police officers, Romney supported him.  
The Romney-Ryan budget could cut funding for first responders by 20 percent. 
That funding, it helps pays for the officers who heeded my call for backup last spring. 
It also helps pay for the  Fire and EMS vehicles that responded to the scene.  
And it helps pay for the bulletproof vest that – if, God forbid, I was shot that night – could have saved my life. 
But this isn’t just about me – or about my partners in the sheriff’s office. It’s about all Americans. 
In his big speech last week, Mitt Romney talked about helping families.  
We help families every day. And let me tell you – what Mitt Romney doesn’t understand is that there’s nothing helpful about undermining public safety. 
When you cut funding for first responders, that means there will be fewer of them. And that means help may take longer to get there – or may get there far too late. 
President Obama understands that.  
That’s why he’s helped keep tens of thousands of cops on the job – and helped create thousands of new law enforcement positions across the country. 
He’s made sure we’re outfitted with the best equipment, the most advanced technology to keep us safe.  
In New York City on 9/11, and on the Gulf Coast after Katrina, first responders saw our communications network break down, making it harder to get to the people we were trying to help. President Obama helped create a national safety communications system so that never happens again. 
In places like Carroll Country, we do things for ourselves. We’re not strangers to hard work.  
But part of that work is looking out for our neighbors. That’s why we need police. That’s why we need firefighters, and teachers. 
And that’s why we need a President who fights for us. A President who stands up for middle class jobs, and middle class communities.  
President Obama has our backs. And in this election, we have his.