Sununu Flip Flops On First Responder Communications

Republican Senator John Sununu appeared on the Senate floor today to highlight the need for an interoperable communications system for first responders and offer an amendment addressing those needs. But Sununu’s election year rhetoric won’t cover up his four year record–Sununu has repeatedly opposed improving first responder communications,voting against funding for a better system at least four times.

“First responders don’t just put their lives on the line in an election year, they do it every day, and John Sununu owes them more than transparent political rhetoric,” DSCC spokesman Matthew Miller said. “New Hampshirites can’t afford a Senator who only shows up to fight for them when his own career is on the line.”

When Up For Reelection: Sununu Talks about The Need for Better Communications For First Responders. Introducing an amendment on first responder communications today, Sununu talked about the need for “communications systems that work reliably, effectively, robustly and that work together with one another” among local, state and federal authorities. “I think it’s essential that we make sure that, to the greatest extent possible, we look at all available technologies for meeting these goals.” [Sununu Floor Speech, 3/1/07]

When Not Up for Reelection: Sununu Voted Against Improving First Responder Communications Four Times . Since 2003, Sununu has voted against increased funding for interoperable communications four times. In March 2006, Sununu voted against $5 billion in first responder communications funding, even after the independent 9/11 Commission gave Congress a failing grade in terms of first responder communications. Sununu voted against similar amendments twice in 2005, including one vote just weeks after Hurricane Katrina. [Vote 45, 3/15/06; Vote 227, 9/14/05; Vote 183, 7/14/05; Vote 3, 1/16/03]

80% of Local Governments Say They Aren’t Getting Federal Help They Need to Improve Communications Systems. A 2006 study by the U.S. Conference of Mayors showed that 80% of cities surveyed said they had not received enough federal resources to achieve full communications interoperability so that first responders can communicate with each other and with their neighbors in the event of an emergency. [U.S. Conference of Mayors, 7/26/06]