A statewide union representing more than 7,000 first responders threw its support behind Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s campaign for governor on Friday – the first endorsement of the general election cycle for the Democratic candidate.
“In our decision to endorse Attorney General Josh Shapiro for the office of governor of Pennsylvania, we took into consideration our union values – AG Shapiro showed a knowledge of our needs,” said Robert Brooks, the president of the Pennsylvania Professional Fire Fighters Association, which represents firefighters, emergency medical technicians and paramedics.
Brooks said Shapiro would defend the ability of firefighters and police officers to bargain for contracts and protect their retirement security. “Josh Shapiro and Austin Davis know our worth in this commonwealth. We proudly endorse their ticket, because they’re with us,” Brooks said.
Shapiro, who was in attendance with running mate Austin Davis, thanked the union for their endorsement and praised the day-to-day work of the state’s first responders. “This is a big darn deal earning this endorsement,” he said. “Your bravery is an inspiration to so many, and your service is something that we need to applaud here today and every single day throughout our commonwealth.”
Shapiro reinforced his support for unions as he accepted the endorsement, promising to protect both their right to organize and their benefits. He also said that if he’s elected he would veto any “right-to-work” legislation that reaches his desk.
“This election presents a real clear choice – someone is going to stand with firefighters, someone who’s going to stand up for organized labor,” Shapiro said. “On the other side, our opponent, they are doing everything in their power to tear down first responders, to disrespect first responders and law enforcement, and to make it so they can’t join a union.”
Brooks said Shapiro initiated conversations about a potential endorsement, and that the union has not been contacted by Doug Mastriano, the Republican Party’s nominee for governor. “The Mastriano campaign has not reached out to us at all,” Brooks said, adding that after an interview process with Shapiro, the union’s board voted unanimously to endorse the Democratic ticket.