President's Perspective | Brian K. Rice
Making Your Voice Count
Election season is always one of the busiest times for any union, and it’s no different with California Professional Firefighters. In the coming months, our firefighters will join voters up and down the state, weighing in on contests ranging from city council to governor and U.S. Senate.
These races matter to all of us, but most especially to those of us who serve the public.
Every decision that affects the jobs and our livelihoods of firefighters is made by an elected official. Staffing, equipment, pay, retirement security, safety on the job … all rest in the hands of elected leaders at every level. Every two years, we get a chance to help choose the people who will those decisions, including the ones who will be sitting across from us at the bargaining table.
For the sake of our members’ lives and livelihoods, we can’t afford to sit out elections.
Months ago, California Professional Firefighters began its usual process for identifying candidates that would be receiving our firefighter endorsement. CPF makes endorsements in all state contests – Assembly, Senate, state constitutional offices and state ballot measures.
In making our recommendations, CPF is guided by a simple principle: Where do they stand on the issues that matter to us? This means having candidates spell out their positions on things like public safety funding, retirement security, employee rights, training, disability and survivor benefits, as well as any other issue that impacts our lives on the job.
If it doesn’t fall into one of those areas, it doesn’t factor into our endorsement process.
When CPF makes the decision to become involved in a contest, every credible candidate – Democrat and Republican – is invited to an interview. In legislative races, CPF calls upon the local unions in that district to participate in these interviews together. It is your local unions who are most likely to have worked with these candidates in the past, at the municipal or county level. Your locals are the ones in the best position to know who has stood up on firefighter issues and who has not.
In this newspaper, you’ll find CPF’s list of recommended candidates for the June primary election, a list that includes both Democrats and Republicans.
Keep in mind that our recommendations are just that - recommendations. Your unions are not in the business of telling you how to vote (even if we could). We’re simply fulfilling our responsibility to be sure you know where candidates stand on the issues that most affect your job, your career, your retirement and your ability to protect your communities. By meeting this responsibility, we hope to help you make an informed choice at the ballot box.
The candidates listed on these pages have stood by firefighters. We believe it benefits our profession to stand by them.