The Sun Coast Police Benevolent Association has endorsed St. Petersburg City Council candidate Ed Montanari in his District 3 race.
“The Sun Coast Police Benevolent Association Inc. is proud to inform you of its endorsement of your candidacy for St. Petersburg City Council, District 3,” wrote Sun Coast PBA senior vice president George Lofton in a letter. “We will ask our members, their families and friends to cast their votes for you in the general election.”
Montanari said he spoke to members of the PBA, some of them in leadership, at his campaign kickoff. Leaders of the group asked for a meeting.
“I always use an interview like that as a way for, not just people to learn about me, but for me to learn about their organization,” Montanari said.
During the meeting he said he made it clear public safety is a top priority for government.
“It’s going to be a priority for me to make sure that we’ve got the best police department that’s got the best training and equipment,” Montanari said.
That includes a new police station. Montanari supports the city’s plan to fund a new headquarters to replace the city’s aging station.
The endorsement may not come as much of a surprise to those who know Montanari. His brother is a nearly 30-year veteran of the St. Petersburg Police Department.
“What they do on a daily basis, it’s something that’s near and dear to my heart,” he said.
Montanari said he’s “thrilled” by the endorsement, especially because of the timing.
Just hours before receiving the endorsement a St. Petersburg police office was shot while trying to apprehend a suspect in a shooting. Austin Goodner, 18, was killed after firing shots at officers and shooting one near Northeast High School.
“They’ve got a very difficult job and they do it so well,” Montanari said.
So far Montanari is running unopposed for the seat being vacated by Bill Dudley because of term limits. Dudley himself has endorsed Montanari.
The longtime airplane pilot has also been endorsed by City Council Vice Chair Amy Foster.
“Our endorsement carries with it our permission for you to use the association’s name, should you wish,” Lofton wrote in his endorsement letter to Montanari. “Public officials are very important people to law enforcement officers, so we try to select the very best. We feel that you will be of the very best and we wish you a successful election.”