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Perry’s jab at federal workers draws rebuttal

Union chief says GOP presidential candidate’s threat of reassignments insults Texas firefighters.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry punctuated a campaign stop in New Hampshire on Tuesday with a blast at federal employees he envisions thwarting state efforts to gain greater control over federal dollars.

"If you have Health and Human Service[s] bureaucrats who try to block our being able to block-grant dollars back to the states . . . you all can decide how best to deliver health care in New Hampshire," the Republican said, according to news reports. "I don't think you can fire federal bureaucrats, but you can reassign them. But reassign them to some really god-awful place."

A rebuttal was issued Wednesday by William Dougan, president of the National Federation of Federal Employees. "Gov. Perry's comments are irresponsible and insulting to the 2.1 million dedicated federal employees serving our country every day," Dougan said.

"These 'federal bureaucrats' he so often refers to are not a bunch of overpaid, underworked paper-pushers in Washington like the governor would like people to believe," Dougan continued. "They are the nurses and doctors who care for our veterans, the Border Patrol agents that protect our nation from drug and human smuggling, and the firefighters who save thousands of homes and businesses each year fighting wildfires -- including those that ravaged Texas just this year."

The union leader added: "If Gov. Perry wants to know what 'a god-awful place' looks like, he should imagine Texas without thousands of dedicated federal employees defending its border, staffing its VA hospitals and extinguishing its wildfires."

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