In Jax, Patrick Murphy scores fire union endorsements

Patrick Murphy

On Wednesday, Rep. Patrick Murphy scored some important endorsements in his Senate campaign, as fire unions locally, statewide, and nationally are lining up behind his bid for Senate.

The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) and Florida Professional Fire Fighters (FPF) had representatives on hand in Jacksonville, and they extolled Murphy in considerable detail, saying that during this year’s elections, fire unions would have “boots on the ground” supporting the Democrat.

General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters Harold Schaitberger said, “The International Association of Fire Fighters proudly endorses Patrick Murphy for U.S. Senate. We know Patrick will continue to stand up for workers’ rights, fight to protect retirement benefits, and work to keep our firefighters and communities safe. Florida’s professional firefighters can count on Patrick Murphy to fight for them in the U.S. Senate.”

Schaitberger noted the “IAFF is a bipartisan union. We support those who support us.”

Jim Tolley, the president of the Florida Professional Fire Fighters, said, “Today, the Florida Professional Fire Fighters is proud to join the International Association of Fire Fighters in endorsing Patrick Murphy for Senate. He understands the issues that matter to us and will be a partner and an advocate in the U.S. Senate. Patrick has always had our back in Florida and we will have his back in this campaign.”

Tolley noted Murphy had “unanimous support” at the recent FPFF annual convention.

Murphy was described as a “problem solver,” willing to reach across the aisle to ensure collective bargaining rights for employees are protected.

“I am humbled to receive the endorsement of the International Association of Fire Fighters and the Florida Professional Fire Fighters and the hundreds of thousands of brave firefighters that they represent,” said Rep. Murphy. “In the U.S. Senate, I will fight to make sure our firefighters and their families have the resources and protections that they need to succeed. Florida’s firefighters work hard every day to keep our state and our country safe and they deserve a senator who will show up and work hard for them.”

Sounding like a general election candidate, Murphy noted that in the 2016 election, the “stakes couldn’t be higher.”

“Think of the two messages. Everything we fought for [over the last eight years] could be thrown out the door if we don’t win this race,” Murphy said.

Murphy has had an endorsement from Barack Obama in heavy rotation on Jacksonville airwaves, and the turnout at his event was that of a winning campaign.

Several prominent local Democrats were at the event, including Duval DEC head Neil Henrichsen, former Jacksonville City Council President Eric Smith, current councilman and former mayor Tommy Hazouri, and Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives David Bruderly.

After the endorsement event, Murphy took questions from media.

Murphy described the fire backing as “huge,” an “endorsement coming from so many working people across the state of Florida.”

Questions abounded beyond the endorsement.

When asked about Corrine Brown, Murphy gave her praise for her “service to the community,” but did not rush to her defense.

“I’m as concerned as you are,” Murphy said regarding the reportage of federal charges against Brown.

Beyond that concern, Murphy will “let the legal process play out.”

Meanwhile, regarding another controversial Florida congressman (Murphy’s opponent in the Democratic primary for the Senate seat), Alan Grayson, and recent allegations of domestic violence in his previous marriage — Murphy struck a similar posture.

“The latest allegations are disturbing,” Murphy said, and “it’s important that we don’t play politics” with them.

That said, “any survivor” of domestic violence should be “heard.”

Murphy also described as “disturbing” the “footage yesterday with a Politico reporter,” which involved a physical confrontation between Grayson and the reporter, ironically enough, at a Politico event.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


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