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Widow of fallen Houston firefighter talks pension bill fight


HOUSTON – The widow of Houston Fire Department Captain Bill Dowling urged state lawmakers to vote against the city’s pension reform plan.

“I need everyone to go out there and take a stand for the firefighters,” said Jacki Dowling.

It was a strong message from Jacki Dowling who posted a video on Facebook Monday night. It had garnered hundreds of shares.

“Anytime you call 911, guess who’s going to be there? The fire department.”

From Colorado, Jacki Dowling talked with KPRC Channel 2 News through video chat.

“The state sees that. They see deep pockets. They want to go after it. That’s not fair,” she said.

The plan could come up for a final vote in the Texas House and Senate as early as Tuesday evening. It’s expected to reduce the $8 billion pension deficit.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has warned of up to 2,200 layoffs, if it’s not passed.

“I think he (Mayor Turner) mislead the firefighters to support him and back him up,” said Jacki Dowling.

She said it would take away years of hard work and sacrifice.

“I don’t know how you can plan on having a certain amount of money for your retirement and that getting stripped from you,” she said.

A leader with the HPOU said the plan would impact future increases for police officers and firefighters, not retirement savings.

Jacki Dowling encouraged Houstonians to contact their state representatives and senators before the vote.

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Posted by Jacki Dowling on Monday, May 22, 2017