FIRE FIGHTERS ENDORSE
IAFF PRESIDENT SAYS DODD OFFERS PROVEN LEADERSHIP THEY TRUST TO KEEP AMERICA SAFE AND MIDDLE CLASS FAMILIES SECURE
Schaitberger Named National Co-Chair of Dodd Campaign
|For Immediate Release
August 29, 2007
WASHINGTON, DC - Saying that he was the candidate that offered the proven leadership they trust to keep America safe and middle class families secure, the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) General President Harold Schaitberger today announced the IAFF's endorsement of Chris Dodd for President. The endorsement, which was made at a meeting of the IAFF leadership earlier in the morning, marks the first major union endorsement of the 2008 Presidential campaign.
"There are many capable candidates this year, some of whom may have more celebrity, but for fire fighters it came down to the more substantive question of who we trust to keep America safe when the unexpected occurs and who we trust to fight for our families," said Schaitberger. "Chris Dodd offers proven leadership in protecting our homeland and in fighting for issues that matter to America's working families.
"After six years of failed leadership, having experienced, bold leadership in the White House matters."
"As we mark the anniversaries of Hurricane Katrina and the horrifying attacks of September 11th, we are reminded that the nation must always be ready," said Dodd. "I am honored that America's fire fighters have put their trust in my leadership to keep America at the ready and to keep their families secure."
The IAFF is credited by many with helping John Kerry win the 2004 Iowa caucuses, and eventually the Democratic nomination. As author Philip Dine notes in his forthcoming book, State of Unions, former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack said the IAFF played a key role in Kerry's victory:
"Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, who remained judiciously neutral during this state's caucus season even though his wife endorsed Kerry, attributed the senator's success in the first instance to the personal attributes and unanticipated level of organization of the firefighters. They 'willed it,' he says - which is a sentiment shared by key operatives for the 2004 campaigns of Dean and Gephardt, including union officials who backed the two candidates." [Dine, Philip M., State of the Unions; How Labor Can Strengthen the Middle Class, Improve Our Economy, and Regain Political Influence, McGraw-Hill, Expected Release October 2007, p.14]
Securing the endorsement of the IAFF, which represents more than 281,000 fire fighters and first responders in every state across the country, also brings critical manpower and "boots on the ground" to a campaign. After the Iowa caucuses the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrote: "A nearly secret weapon Kerry had in Iowa was the organizing work of the 263,000-member firefighters union, which is about 2,400 strong in Iowa?Because they work 24-hour shifts, two-thirds of the union members are off work at any given time, meaning that 1,600 could go to caucuses Monday, and each was asked to bring five people in a 'carload for Kerry.'" [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 1/23/04]
"Today's endorsement isn't just a recognition that the nation's fire fighters think Chris Dodd is the most qualified candidate to protect our communities and our families, but also a great, tangible addition to our grass roots campaign," said Dodd Communications Director Hari Sevugan. "Fire fighters have proven that they know how to win in the early states, and are set to go to work to help Chris Dodd."
The Dodd campaign also announced this morning that Harold Schaitberger will become a National Co-Chair of Dodd's campaign. He joins fellow Co-Chairs Former Senator and Ambassador Jim Sasser, Former Connecticut State Senator Sanford Cloud, Jr., Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro and Congressman Xavier Becerra.
Dodd and Schaitberger will depart this evening for a three day tour
through Iowa City, IA, Des Moines, IA, Council Bluffs, IA, Manchester,
NH, Reno, NV, and Las Vegas, NV. An advisory will follow.
Please visit www.chrisdodd.com for more details about the endorsement.