By Minjae Park
PATERSON — U.S. Sen. Cory Booker and Rep. Bill Pascrell, Democrats who appear to be on track to win in November’s elections, picked up endorsements from major state firefighters unions in an announcement outside the Paterson Fire Department headquarters on Thursday.
Paterson Fire Chief Michael Postorino, president of the New Jersey Career Fire Chiefs Association, called the endorsements “a very easy decision.”
“Sen. Booker and Congressman Pascrell have always been advocates for the fire services and continue to take this commitment to another level in Congress,” Postorino said, standing outside headquarters on Madison Avenue.
Standing with him, in front of a Paterson fire truck holding up campaign signs for Booker and Pascrell, were representatives from the New Jersey Fireman’s Benevolent Association, the Professional Fire Fighters Association of New Jersey, the Newark Fire Officers and the Newark Firefighters Union.
In the general election, Booker faces a challenge by Republican Jeff Bell. Pascrell is up against Republican Deirde Paul.
“I congratulate Sen. Booker on the endorsement,” said Rich Danker, Bell’s campaign manager.
Both lawmakers said their experiences as mayor — Booker led Newark, Pascrell Paterson — allowed them to see up close the work firefighters do.
“I know these guys not just from a legislative, distant position down in Washington,” Booker said. “I know what they are in charge of, what they do and what they fight for because of my experience as mayor.”
The unions praised the lawmakers for securing funding for firefighters. Pascrell cosponsored the SAFER Act of 2003, which has helped administer federal grants to local fire departments.
“It goes without saying that Congressman Pascrell has really built the foundation for these grants,” said Ed Donnelly, president of the New Jersey Fireman’s Benevolent Association.
“The millions of dollars were not given by the federal government,” Pascrell said. “You guys and gals earned it.”
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Posted October 09 2014 at 8:15 PM Permanent Link