Jeff Kronser: Firefighter, Eugene Springfield Fire District

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“I have been a firefighter here for 26 years. I love my job. It might sound cliché, but I believe in the importance of helping people. It is one of the biggest reasons I chose a career in firefighting. I am lucky that I have not experienced a serious injury on the job. I can see retirement approaching and I had been hopeful it would be a time of peace and security.

Now, some people in Salem are threatening that security. When I was hired, I was offered a retirement benefit. That’s the benefit I was planning for. My future is being thrown into the air just when I am close to retirement.

I admit it galls me that these politicians want to take money from my retirement account to pay their obligation to current retirees. And the thing is, things would have been better if there hadn’t been two lengthy lawsuits over PERS. These lawsuits were expensive and the state fought a losing battle. Finally, the Oregon Supreme Court said that the state must keep its promise to workers. It seems now they want me and my family to pay for the state’s mistake.

I know that there are women and men of honor in Salem who believe in keeping their word to the people who teach their children, keep them healthy, protect their homes and families. I just hope there are enough of them.”

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