FireRescue1 Asks Congress: Rep. Mike Bost
Rep. Bost shares his priorities for the Congressional Fire Services Caucus in 2020
Rep. Mike Bost (R-IL) was a firefighter before joining the Illinois House of Representatives in 1995. A former Marine, Bost was elected to the U.S. House in 2014. Bost is an active member on the Agriculture, Transportation and Infrastructure, and Veterans’ Affairs committees. Bost is also co-chair of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus.
Kirby: What do you consider as “wins” this Congress?
Rep. Bost: As a former firefighter, a top priority for me this year was extending the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act, ensuring that the heroes who ran selflessly toward danger have the resources they need to fight serious illnesses as a result of their service at Ground Zero.
Despite a deep partisan divide in Washington, both parties in both chambers of Congress came together to pass the extension, and President Trump signed it into law this summer. Finally, these brave first responders will have long-term certainty in knowing that their government will provide them the support they need.
What are your priorities for the Fire Services Caucus in 2020?
I’m looking forward to continuing working with my colleagues to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with firefighters across the country on issues like ensuring continued support of the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grants that allow local fire departments to train firefighters who are on the front lines of danger. Supporting our first responders through the Fire Service Caucus remains a truly bipartisan effort.
What should fire service voters look for in a candidate?
The voters in the 435 congressional districts across the country understand best the qualities they want in their local representative. But there are certain defining characteristics that the most effective representatives share. They are the ones who can cut through the partisanship without letting go of their principles. They are the ones who stay close to their constituents and hear their concerns. They reflect the values of their people and have a tireless commitment to strengthening their community.
What would you say to current first responders who might be considering another career in public life?
Firefighters have a heart for public service and a commitment to community and serving in Congress is an enriching extension of that service. Unfortunately, partisanship in Washington seems to be at an all-time high, and we could use more of the no-nonsense, get-it-done attitude that most firefighters live by.
It might not make national news every night, but there are so many issues where Republicans and Democrats are working together to affect positive change, and I think including the perspective of more firefighters in these conversations would be of a huge benefit to Congress and the country.
There is no one more passionate about their neighbors than a firefighter. They understand the importance of safety, certainty, family and community. I believe it would benefit the voters if they encourage more firefighters to get involved and run for office.
About the Author
Michael Kirby is managing editor with Federal Network, a credentialed news bureau on Capitol Hill that provides digital video and information services to news organizations across the web.