As both a soldier currently in Kuwait, a Morristown firefighter and a Tennessee citizen - SFC Rob Croxdale is reaching out to the Tennessee legislature and demanding they back off their efforts to silence his political voice. HB 0549 would prohibit public employees from having their organizational dues used to lobby the government and express their political will.
In a letter to committee chair Rep. Todd Curry, Rob writes:
"It has come to my attention that your committee is reviewing a bill (HB 0594) that would take away my right as a Firefighter to engage in the political process. This right ensures me that I have a voice in what takes place in legislation that covers my benefits, and most importantly, safety issues that cover my brother and sister Firefighters.
Taking the right or legislating it to the point to where it would become useless or even criminal to engage in the political process, is contradictory to the very reason I have been a twenty-year-plus veteran of the Tennessee Army National Guard.
My fellow Guardsman and I are also involved in the National Guard Association of the United States. This organization is involved with the political process as well. Even as a member of the Armed Forces, I am allowed to participate in the political process. I cannot do so in uniform. The same applies to me now as a Firefighter.
I have served this country and the Tennessee National Guard for over twenty years. I have done so because of the rights that were passed on to me by those who have given their lives to ensure that I could enjoy them. Now, I find out that one of these rights may be in jeopardy. I am truly offended that this particular legislation is actually being put on paper, not only as a Firefighter but as a Soldier.
If you are able to get this legislation to pass, are you gong to tell my fellow Soldiers that we can no longer be active in the political process?
Taking away the rights of others in order to make your job as elected officials easier is wrong and quite frankly lazy. ... Sitting down with a Firefighter and discussing issues that affect his/her livelihood should be considered an honor."
I've always been proud that Rob is a friend of mine as he has tirelessly served in a most selfless manner both here at home and overseas - he puts his life on the line daily. He and his family bear a burden most of us choose not to bear at all. He - and all those in the public sector who serve with him - demand more respect than the Republicans in Tennessee are offering. I encourage you to read all of his letter here and hope you will contact your legislator too and tell them how wrong they are with this proposal.