IAFF Joins 'Dodd Squad,' Announces Presidential Endorsement

Receiving one of the 2008 presidential campaign's first major labor endorsements, Democrat Chris Dodd has picked up the backing of the International Association of Fire Fighters. According to a press release signed by IAFF President Harold Schaitberger, the association's executive board will formally vote today and announce its support of the Connecticut senator.

"We have a core political philosophy on which all of our political work hinges. We will support those who support us," the press release says. "In the 2008 presidential election, there are a number of candidates with solid records on fire fighter and working family issues. The proven, demonstrated ability to lead on those issues are what we weigh the most when deciding who will receive the considerable support and endorsement of our great union. . . . Chris Dodd’s record is probably the best in the history of the U.S. Congress in leading the fight to ensure that the funding, resources and staffing fire fighters need to do their jobs safely and effectively is there."

Calling Dodd a "champion for fire fighters," IAFF has created a Web site (www.firefightersfordodd.com) citing the senator's full record, going back to his vote in support of the Public Safety Officers Benefit bill on Sept. 15, 1976, and his more recent authorship of the FIRE Act, which IAFF says has provided more than $3 billion to help towns and cities equip and train firefighters, and the SAFER Act, which grants funding to hire additional firefighters.

The 280,000-strong firefighters union helped propel John F. Kerry to the Democratic nomination in 2004. Dodd and Schaitberger will be visiting Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada over the next four days, meeting with local firefighters along the way.

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