Philadelphia Fire Fighters Local 22 officially put its support behind T. Milton Street’s bid for the Democratic mayoral nomination rather than Mayor Michael Nutter's re-election bid.
The union’s executive board voted to endorse Street after meeting with him on April 7. The decision was made official at a formal announcement at the Local 22 union hall on Tuesday.
“I am humbled by this endorsement. I am humbled by the fact that the firefighters put enough confidence in me to believe that I will do what I say I’m going to do,” said Street.
Street has pledged to hire 100 new firefighters, make sure a medic is on every fire engine that’s called out and he believes the city should be able to tap into federal Homeland Security funds to pay for it all.
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“We have to put our firefighters in a position where they can maximize the safety of our citizens and I intend to do that, Street said.”
Local 22 said it believes, in contrast, that its members and the community have been put at risk by decisions made by the Nutter administration.
“It is the position of the union membership and their families that Michael Nutter has failed his obligations to our members their families and to the citizens that we swore an oath to protect,” said Bill Gault, President of Local 22 of the International Association of Fire Fighters
Gault said Nutter has fallen short by closing fire companies, instituting brown-outs that close six fire stations every 24 hours and not increasing their ranks since he took office.
“In a perfect world candidates would be perfect. But the world isn’t perfect. And in elections you can’t beat someone with no one, Gault said.”
Asked if he felt he was being used in a grudge match between the union and the mayor, Street said “absolutely not.”
“I think that the firefighters have embraced my commitment to safety, he said.”
Street added, “the bell will ring on May 17. The ringing endorsement will manifest itself on May 17,” the day of the primary election in Philadelphia.
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