Why Are Houston Firefighters Endorsing Perry Over White?

Governor Rick Perry will travel to Houston on Wednesday to pick up a big endorsement from the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association – Local 341.

President Jeff Caynon confirmed that his group will back Perry over former Houston Mayor Bill White in the race for Governor of  Texas.

“Governor Perry has consistently supported fire fighter’s causes,” said Caynon in response to my text message asking why the 3,800 member association is supporting Perry.

When I asked if  firefighters had any problems with former Mayor White,  Caynon responded, “On balance, White’s administration was good for firefighters. We got a long well for the most part and successfully negotiated two collective bargaining agreements.”

At this point I think it’s worth noting that many groups that endorse in political races have a  “friendly incumbent” rule.

That means the group will endorse an incumbent who shares the basic philosophy and supports its causes, even if  the opponent also supports the group’s issues. 

How will this endorsement play in the larger context of  a statewide campaign?

I’m sure folks in East and West Texas will wonder why Houston firefighters chose Governor Perry over the city’s former mayor.

As long as the union doesn’t slam White’s record on public safety , White can minimize the damage.

However, Perry’s campaign would be smart to tout the endorsement from the country’s fourth largest firefighter’s union located in his opponent’s hometown.

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One Response

  1. Somewhere in Texas a new home will be built. Although affordable technology is available, the home will not have residential sprinklers. The home will burn and children or older residents will die or suffer permanently from heat or carbon monoxide poisoning. The tragedy could have been prevented but the Texas legislature and Governor Rick Perry signed into law the following:

    Texas SB 1410
    June 1, 2009

    Is this a Challenge on Home Rule?
    The Texas legislature moved through a final step and will move SB 1410 for the Governor’s signature. This new law will remove a community’s ability to adopt an ordinance on residential sprinklers which is retroactive back to January 1, 2009.
    SB1410 amends the plumber licensing act to include multiple changes to address residential sprinklers systems and who installs them. An addition was added which reads:
    Section 12, Part E Amended to read:
    Notwithstanding any other provision of state law, after January 1, 2009, a municipality may not enact an ordinance, bylaw, order, building code, or rule requiring the installation of a multipurpose residential fire protection sprinkler system or any other fire sprinkler protection system in a new or existing one or two-family dwelling. A municipality may adopt an ordinance, bylaw, order, or rule allowing a multipurpose residential fire protection sprinkler specialist or other contractor to offer, for a fee, the installation of a fire sprinkler protection system in a new one- or two-family dwelling.
    The full text of the bill can be found here and the video of the amendment is found courtesy of you-tube in the upper right hand corner. It seems that the Texas advocates of building and life safety came together on this issue which included fire, building, management, municipalities, and many more.
    The language found in section 12 does not appear to be a part of the original bill and is known as the Otto amendment added at a last minute. It truly appears that the addition of this language was slid in and not heard in committee or deliberated appropriately (beyond what you see in the video). Regardless of residential sprinklers or not, code development belongs in the hands of those experts the community and state have empowered to do so.

    SB 1410 – Fire Sprinkler Choice Signed by the Governor
    by Texas Association of Builders on Monday, July 20, 2009

    On Friday, June 19 Governor Perry signed into law SB 1410, the bill giving homeowners the choice to install fire sprinklers. TAB has worked very hard on this issue this session and is very pleased with Governor Perry’s decision. This bill will take effect on September 1, 2009.

    The language of SB 1410 effectively prohibits a city from enacting fire sprinkler mandates in single family homes, duplexes and remodeling projects. The fire sprinkler amendment was added in the House by Rep. John Otto (R- Dayton) and states:

    Notwithstanding any other provision of state law, after January 1, 2009, a municipality may not enact an ordinance, bylaw, order, building code, or rule requiring the installation of a multipurpose residential fire protection sprinkler system or any other fire sprinkler protection system in a new or existing one or two-family dwelling. A municipality may adopt an ordinance, bylaw, order, or rule allowing a multipurpose residential fire protection sprinkler specialist or other contractor to offer, for a fee, the installation of a fire sprinkler protection system in a new one or two-family dwelling.

    *** 
    Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association Local 341 Endorses Gov. Perry for Re-election
    September 29, 2010
    HOUSTON – Gov. Rick Perry today received the endorsement of the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association Local 341 for re-election in 2010.
    “Gov. Rick Perry continues to be a true friend of the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association Local 341,” said Jeff Caynon, president of the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association Local 341. “Throughout the years he has shown us commitment, trust and he has given his support by providing us the resources we need to keep Texans safe. We know Gov. Perry supports our willingness to protect our citizens, every day, in the face of danger. We are proud to endorse him for the November election.”
    With over 3,800 brave and dedicated men and women, the Houston Fire Department is the 3rd largest fire department in the nation along with Local 341 being the 3rd largest Fire Fighter’s Union in the country. The Houston Fire Department serves over 617 square miles with 100 fire stations throughout the 4th largest city in the nation.
    “I am honored to have the support from the brave men and women of the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association, who know firsthand the choices they have in this race, and am proud to have them on our team,” said Gov. Perry. “They put their lives in harm’s way on a daily basis to make sure our families and communities are safe. It is this devotion and valor that illustrates the best of what Texas has to offer.”
    The Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association Local 341 joins the following organizations in their endorsement of Gov. Perry in the general election:
    Associated Builders and Contractors of Texas PAC
    Associated General Contractors of America Texas Building Branch PAC
    Associated Security Services and Investigators of the State of Texas
    Automotive Parts and Services Association
    BEEF-PAC of Texas Cattle Feeders Association
    Boating Trades Association of Texas PAC
    Career Colleges and Schools of Texas

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