ST. PAUL, MINN. – In a perfect example of constituents driving legislation, a resident of Chisholm in Sen. David Tomassoni’s (DFL-Chisholm) district was issued the first ever retired firefighter license plate. The legislation that passed in May allowed retired firefighters across the state to have their own license plates. Tomassoni authored the legislation after being approached by constituent and former firefighter of more than 21 years, Don Haenke.
“The ability for retired firefighters to have their own license plates is long overdue,” Tomassoni said.
Until now an active firefighter could buy a firefighter plate but upon retirement that plate would have to be surrendered. Mr. Haenke made the case that a retired firefighter should be able to buy a specialty license plate as well.
“The bill was enacted into law this year and because Don was instrumental in making it happen, it is only appropriate that he receive the first retired firefighter license plate issued by the state of Minnesota,” Tomassoni said.
After ordering his plates at the St. Louis County Department of Motor Vehicles Office in Hibbing, the very first set of license plates arrived in the mail last week at Mr. Haenke’s home. Retired firefighters must have had a minimum of 10 years of service and submit paperwork along with the fire chief’s letter of recommendation that signs off on their former service when applying for the plates.
“Fighting fires gives us a sense of camaraderie and responsibility to our communities, not having to give up that symbol of our work when we retire means a lot to us. I’d like to thank Sen. Tomassoni for authoring this legislation,” Chisholm retired firefighter Don Haenke said.