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A Bi-Partisan Election Triumph for IAFF Members
Updated On: Nov 16, 2008
Americans made history November 4 by electing Senators Barack Obama and Joe Biden, the IAFF-endorsed candidates, as the next president and vice president of the United States. _ _ It's an historic day in this country, and our entire union should be proud of what we?ve helped to accomplish in the race for the highest offices in this nation, as well as in helping our friends at so many other levels of political office, says IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger. _ _ IAFF affiliates across the country proudly wore and displayed the signature gold-and-black. Fire Fighters For shirts and signs in support of Senators Obama and Biden, making a difference in critical battleground states. And while nasty partisanship played out between most candidates, Election Night proved extraordinarily successful for our union with FIREPAC-endorsed candidates winning more than 90 percent of their races and a validation of the IAFF's non-partisan strategy. _ _ Based exclusively on their record and commitment of support on IAFF issues, such as collective bargaining, protecting employer-sponsored health care and pension benefits, keeping fire fighters out of mandatory Social Security coverage and providing resources to fire departments for staffing, training and equipment, the IAFF proudly supported the historic candidacy of Barack Obama and Joe Biden. _ _ In congressional races, the IAFF once again supported more Republican candidates than any other union. _ _ While most of labor set their sights on challenging all Republican Senate candidates, the IAFF stuck by its friends regardless of party affiliation. _ _ The IAFF supported the successful re-election bids of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senator Susan Collins (R-NE) and Senator Thad Cochrane (R-MI). In three races still undecided, the IAFF supported incumbents Norm Coleman (R-MN), Gordon Smith (R-OR) and Saxby Chambliss (R-GA). _ _ At the same time, the IAFF targeted several GOP senators who have histories of opposing IAFF initiatives, and prevailed in ousting Senators John Sununu (R-NH) and Elizabeth Dole (R-NC). Their successors, former Governor Jeanne Shaheen and State Senator Kay Hagan, respectively, have strong records of support for the IAFF and its issues. "I'm proud that the IAFF went that extra step and invested in independent expenditures to put Jeanne and Kay over the top. They will be tremendous assets to the Senate and great for professional fire fighters, Schaitberger says. _ _ On the Democratic side of the Senate, the IAFF supported all of the incumbents because each and every member of the Democratic Conference supported and voted for the IAFF's top legislative priority -- national collective bargaining. The union also supported a number of candidates vying for open seats and seeking to become U.S. senators, and was successful in electing Mark Warner (Virginia), Mark Udall (Colorado) and Tom Udall (New Mexico). _ _ Were proud that our union had the guts to stand with friends regardless of party affiliation, notes Schaitberger. "This election cycle, IAFF FIREPAC ranked the 9th largest of all federal PACs in terms of donations to all federal candidates and the fourth largest in the labor movement. _ _ In the House, where the Democrats will gain between 19-22 seats, the IAFF backed its incumbent supporters from both parties. Democrats including Jim Marshall (GA), John Murtha and Paul Kanjorski (PA), Steve Kagan (WI) and many more benefited from IAFF support and were propelled to victory. On the Republican side, IAFF assistance led to hard fought for victories for Mark Kirk (IL), Mark Souder (IN), Lee Terry (NE) and others. _ _ It is particularly gratifying that our strong support of Republican Lincoln Diaz Bahlert in South Florida, who has always supported our issues, helped defeat a true enemy of our union, former Hialeah Mayor Raul Martinez, a Democrat who certainly was no friend of labor, Schaitberger says. _ _ The IAFF is compiling a complete record of IAFF friends and members who won at the state level, where this union scored a number of victories, including the election of longtime IAFF friend Jay Nixon as Missouri's next governor. _ _ The election results put the IAFF in a position to have access to the incoming administration and both Democrat and Republican party leaders. Once again, we followed our bedrock principal -- we support friends and oppose our enemies, regardless of party, Schaitberger says. Our union looks forward to working with the Obama administration, as well as Senate and House leadership from both parties to advance our fire fighters' agenda in the 111th Congress. We congratulate all of our members on another terrific election effort at so many levels across the country. _ _ International Association of Fire Fighters 1750 New York Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20006 202.737.8484 202.737.8418 (Fax) Copyright © 2008 International Association of Fire Fighters. Last Modified: 11/6/2008
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