This comes from Liberty County, FL. I think by now all adults understand how valuable and selfless hams operators are in emergencies. Apparently, Mitt Romney thinks you aren't all that important.
Be careful who you vote for!
Liberty County Emergency Coordinator
Romney "Disses" Amateur Radio In Televised Town Meeting Submitted by admin on Wed, 11/16/2005 - 15:48 Governor Mitt RomneyGovernor Mitt Romney dismissed the role of Amateur Radio operators in emergency communications during a televised "town meeting" program last night on WCVB's "When Disaster Strikes: Segment Two." The program featured public safety and volunteer organization officials from across Massachusetts among its audience.
Host and moderator Natalie Jacobson asked an increasingly-agitated Governor Romney questions about communications interoperability, and communication without commercial power. Romney was next asked by Jacobson, "...so does it come down to ham radio?..."
The Governor replied in a disgusted tone, "No, we don't need to deal with ham radio operators..."
Embarrassed public safety officials later tried to put in a good word for Amateur Radio. National Weather Service Warning Coordination Meteorologist Glenn Field was prepared to state the importance of Amateur Radio, when Salvation Army Colonel Fred Van Brunt was called upon. Van Brunt remarked about his organization's quest to improve its communications capabilities and how Amateur Radio has aided his organization. "The ham radio situation helps a great deal," he stated.
"I have already written and submitted a letter to the Governor's Office," wrote Eastern MA Section Emergency Coordinator Rob Macedo, KD1CY. "I have also written an email to Natalie Jacobson."
ARRL Section Manager Mike Neilsen, W1MPN sent a section-wide email today to all Eastern MA ARRL members describing the incident along with actions he and his staff were taking to mitigate the situation.
"[Romney's] attitude about us sets an unfortunate tone within the state's executive branch," wrote Neilsen. "As a former military officer, I see this as a failure in leadership. My immediate concern is our working relationship within the [Massachusetts Emergency Management Team] environment." Neilsen intends to address the Governor's comments as "an urgent matter" at a meeting on November 17 with Don Carlton from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.
"I was very disturbed about what the Governor stated on the program," wrote Ron Wood, W1PLW, the section's Public Information Coordinator. "It does show that more work is needed by all hams in the section. It's a great idea to write letters explaining the good we do." Wood is attempting to schedule a meeting with the Governor's office tomorrow so that EMA ARRL staffers might discuss the matter further.
Tom Kinahan, N1CPE wrote that Governor Romney's comment has made "a PR problem" for Kinahan in his role as MA State RACES Officer.
"I've got a roster of over 150 Amateur Radio operators that support local communities, and those of us that directly support the state government. There are at least double that in terms of people that are actually out there that I don't have formal paperwork on that support Amateur Radio emergency communications in some organized manner... The Governor has said that he 'certainly doesn't need to rely on ham radio' -- where does that leave the RACES program now?"
"I am ashamed tonight that I am a Republican!" remarked one ham radio viewer. "[Romney] speaks in derogatory tones about hams. He certainly shows an ignorance as to what we do and are capable of. I suggest a grass roots campaign of local hams calling the State House and The Governor's Office to protest."
The television program can be viewed at http://www.thebostonchannel.com/video/5334306/detail.html.