Thursday, January 29, 2004

While in New Hampshire I had the pleasure of meeting Harold Schaitberger and quite a few of the IAFF members who were working hard on the ground for John Kerry! These guys definately deserve a lot of Kudos!

The General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), Harold Schaitberger, who campaigned in New Hampshire with John Kerry from Jan. 22 through Primary Day, today congratulated his New Hampshire fire fighters for their hard work that helped lead to the senator's big victory on Tuesday. The IAFF's "Fire Fighters for Kerry" campaign has been a vital part of Kerry's Iowa and New Hampshire election efforts and Schaitberger served as a surrogate speaker for Kerry at several events, rallying his firefighters and local voters.

"Long before the media pundits and the polls swung in our direction, the IAFF have been behind John Kerry and his campaign for President," said Schaitberger, president of the International Association of Fire Fighters and Kerry campaign national co-chairman. "Now that we are seeing the fruit of our efforts, it's time to congratulate all those who helped make this New Hampshire victory happen."

Schaitberger and South Carolina firefighters will join Kerry in South Carolina on Thursday for the state's final Democratic Presidential Debate. The IAFF will hold a pre-debate rally at the Pease Theater in Greenville, then escort Sen. Kerry to the auditorium with a traditional fire fighter march, including pipes and drums. IAFF fire fighters are also being deployed at Kerry events in the six other primary states on February 3rd, including Missouri, New Mexico, Delaware, Oklahoma, Arizona and North Dakota.

"Even though the momentum might be on our side, we have to continue to work as hard as ever to spread Senator Kerry's message across the country as this becomes a national campaign," said Schaitberger. "We will concentrate on working with our brothers and sisters from the upcoming primary states to make sure that his pro-labor, pro-security message is heard loud and clear by the voters."

John Kerry's support of firefighters has included the SAFER (Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response) Act, the first-ever Federal program to fund firefighters that was passed in November and will face a battle for funding by the Bush administration in the upcoming budget. The $7.6 billion program would support the hiring of up to 75,000 firefighters over the next 7 years to help hundreds of communities meet national standards for firefighter staffing. According to the National Fire Protection Association, two-thirds of America's fire departments are under-staffed, leading to common vulnerabilities to their varied homeland security and standard emergency response needs.

Among other programs Senator Kerry has supported include the $750 million FIRE Act, which helps fund equipment needs of fire departments across the country.


Post a Comment

<< Home