Tallahassee City Commissioner Jeremy Matlow’s re-election has received the endorsement of the Tallahassee Professional Firefighters (TPF).
The TPF is the local chapter of the International Association of Fire Fighters union that represents firefighters in the Tallahassee Fire Department and Wakulla Fire Rescue Department. Union members voted to endorse Matlow. This is the first political endorsement the union has made during the 2022 election season.
In a statement to Florida Politics, union members said they’re backing Matlow because of “his willingness to support public safety in our community and his decision to stand with firefighters and paramedics in their push for equitable pay and benefits.”
Union President Joey Davis said the union will endorse more candidates during the election cycle, but this first endorsement is an important one.
“Commissioner Matlow stepped up for public safety and our first responders in a very big way over the past couple of years,” Davis said. “These have been difficult times for our members and he has not only been willing to listen, but has worked to address some of those problems to ensure we can provide the highest level of public safety.”
Davis said the union met with both Matlow and his opponent, David Bellamy, in the fall, but that “Jeremy’s proven desire to change how the city does business and his courage to do that hard work is what made our decision.”
The union and Matlow have both butted heads with city management. Davis filed an ethics complaint against Tallahassee City Manager Reese Goad in July 2021 after alleged pressure from Goad for Davis to stop submitting records requests, according to the Tallahassee Democrat. The union recently finalized a three-year contract with city officials, before the complaint, after working for months without one.
Matlow gave Goad a failing grade during the last annual performance review. Davis said Matlow stood up for the union while they were bargaining their contract.
“While city commissioners are usually quiet during the collective bargaining process between the fire and police unions and the City Manager, Commissioner Matlow was quick to stand behind the firefighters when they had difficulty being heard by city management in efforts to end a stalemate,” Davis said.
In a statement to Florida Politics, Matlow embraced the endorsement.
“Our firefighters put their lives on the line everyday and our community puts our faith in them to serve. So the fact that these brave men and women put their trust in me is humbling,” Matlow said. “I’m proud to have the support of city employees working to make Tallahassee a better place to live and I look forward to another four years of positive progress.”