Fire Fighters Support Those Who Support Them
by Mark Sanders

In 2011, Senate Bill 5 opened up many fire fighter’s eyes to the importance of state government. The attack on our professional voice gave rise to a new appreciation of who supported fire fighters and their rights in the Statehouse. We learned who supported us and who did not. We discovered who our true friends were.

2014 gives us the opportunity to again stand up and let our voice be heard. It provides us with another opportunity to remind our elected leaders that we are the ones who elect them and that they represent us. We have the chance to elect leaders that care about Ohio’s middle class and people like us who work hard every day.

That is why the Ohio Association of Professional Fire Fighters has endorsed the following candidates for statewide office, because they believe that people like fire fighters, police officers, teachers and nurses (not corporate cronies and out of state donors) are the backbone of Ohio. Ohio Fire Fighters support those who support us and in the past 3 years there has never been a greater divide between those who share our values and those who do not.

Connie Pillich is a great example of someone who, like fire fighters, knows what it means to serve. And will be a great State Treasurer. She is a decorated Air Force veteran and a small business owner, but more than that she has been a advocate for working people in Ohio even joining us on the Statehouse lawn to protest Senate Bill 5 in 2011.

John P Carney is a deliberative and fair representative when those words mean more than ever. John has always been open to new ideas and to discussion. He is truly a bipartisan in a historically divided statehouse. Qualities that will make him a great Auditor.

Nina Turner’s passion is unparalleled. She has been a great friend to fire fighters and to all of labor in her time in Columbus. Nina will bring about change as the Secretary of State, change that will make Ohio a more inclusive state for all voters, and help us make our voice heard.

David Pepper has been a supporter of fire fighters since he was a Cincinnati Councilman. David’s open door policy means that he is accessible and open to news ideas and genuinely concerned about the people he serves, perfect attributes for Ohio’s Attorney General.

Perhaps the most important of these races however is the race for Governor. It is no secret that John Kasich has not been supportive of fire fighters since he took office. His support of SB5 not with standing, his administration has cut Billions of dollars from Local Government Funds. The funds that cities and townships use to pay for safety services like fire and police. But perhaps the most compelling example of John Kasich’s attitude toward fire fighters is that he has resisted meeting with our leadership since he took office. That point is highlighted in his “SB5 meeting with unions” where he, the Senate President and Speaker of the House set up a meeting and created name tents for all the unions affected by SB5. Of course it was media theatrics but the telling point is that every union had a name tent except for Police and Fire. He thinks so little of our input and voice that he could not be bothered to include us in a discussion on the most important piece of legislation in years that would impact our profession.

On the other end of the ballot, Ed FitzGerald has met with Ohio Fire Fighters many times already and has vowed to listen to our concerns. Ed stands against Right to Work just as he stood against SB5. Ed listened when the OAPFF told him that we were concerned about occupational cancer, he supports restoring local government funds to return police officers and fire fighters to the streets to protect our neighborhoods.

Ed FitzGerald is everything John Kasich is not. He is a man who served his community as a FBI Agent and Prosecutor. Kasich served Lehman Brothers and corporate stockholders. Ed is open to discussion about ideas and willing to listen. Kasich? Well, if we don’t have a name tent, I guess we don’t have a voice.

Mark Sanders is President of the Ohio Association of Professional Fire Fighters.  The OAPFF represents over 10,000 professional fire fighters and Emergency Medical professionals in the state of Ohio.