Unions for Cops, Firefighters Endorse Jefferson Smith
The two unions representing rank-and-file police officers and firefighters decided they'd ratgher have some skin in next month's mayoral primary than not—announcing, this morning, a joint endorsement for State Representative Jefferson Smith. The decision comes months after the leadership of both the Portland Police Association and the Portland Fire Fighters Association both pointedly decided not to back a candidate in the race. The pick continues to cement Smith as (mostly) labor's preferred candidate, adding to endorsements from AFSCME, the Portland Association of Teachers, the Communication Workers of America, and current City Commissioner Randy Leonard, a labor ally and former PFFA president. It means he can use cops and firefighters in campaign ads (that union contributions will help fund.) The endorsement also comes a few weeks after PPA President Daryl Turner promised his members, in the union's monthly newsletter, that his organization ought to get more political in hopes of backing candidates who will remember their issues once elected. What's interesting is where Smith lines up on policy matters important to the PPA, compared to his two leading rivals: businesswoman Eileen Brady and former city commissioner Charlie Hales, who butted heads with the PFFA back when he was on the council. Neither candidate perfectly aligns with the PPA on public safety policy, but president Daryl Turner says that wasn't the only factor and talked about Smith's "political record" of supporting workers and schools. "We're looking for a candidate who will be a leader and at least listen," Turner told the Mercury, saying he's met with each candidate at least twice personally and that each one has visited the union's executive board. [ Subscribe to the comments on this story ]
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April 23, 2012
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