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Letters to the Editor

Firefighter shortages caused by bad pay

Every year we hear about a shortage of firefighters somewhere in Georgia. With the median salary for the typical U.S. firefighter at $36,865, it's no wonder we have a shortage. We simply do not pay our firefighters enough. A shortage of firefighters puts us all in harm's way.

I'm sure we can find a way for higher pay in fire service to attract new hires and to keep the ones we already have. For example, we have subdivisions and strip malls popping up everywhere you look.

If developers really want to build something, let them pay the cost of services impacting our communities.

The majority of firefighters that I know work an additional full-time job. That does not leave a lot of time for families. With 24-hour shifts, additional part-time to full-time jobs, plus fire, EMT and hazmat training throughout their careers, public education and being on-call 24/7, it's no wonder divorce rates are high for firefighters. Being married to a firefighter with kids is often like being a single parent.

On a firefighter's salary alone, the U.S. median home price of $225,000 is shamefully out of reach. These brave professional men and women deserve better pay for the services they provide us. They should not be forced to supplement their incomes just to live in a decent neighborhood and to provide for their families.

I have heard many sign on for the benefits and retirement plans, but they too are fading fast. We rely heavily on this profession and it's time to show our support. If you feel the same, contact your local commissioner's office. Let them know it is time for better pay, benefits and pensions for firefighters.

- Eileen Stewart

Flowery Branch

GOP needs to get to the heart of problem

Well, it seems the GOP is up to its old tricks. They are going to pass four bills in the state House to stop illegal immigrants from getting food stamps, welfare assistance and some other things like that.

Why should these people, who are here illegally, get government assistance? Well, it is another instance where the GOP is showing who it really works for, and it is not the taxpayers of this state. Instead of passing meaningless bills, why not just throw these illegals out of our country?

Because then the GOP would lose all that money the big corporations, the chicken industry and the construction industry gives them at election time, and these industries would lose all those low-paid workers.

If you want to stop illegal immigrants from coming here and using up all our resources, make these industries obey the current laws. Fine these industries a substantial amount for each undocumented worker. About $100,000 per worker seems reasonable. But our leaders believe that these new bills will make it seem like they are diligently looking after our best interest, when in reality they do not care how many illegal workers come into this country.

There is only one answer. Vote out every incumbent and replace them with people who will vow to tackle illegal immigration at the source.

Vote in those who will stop printing everything in Spanish, which makes it easier for illegals to operate in this country and stop giving them driver's licenses.

Vote for politicians who will work for the American people, not for those that only care about large donations from those industries mentioned above.

- Fred Budin

Hoschton