New York 1 News

October 23, 2002

Police, Fire Unions Back Pataki; McCall Stumps With Clinton

Six unions for police and firefighters endorsed Governor George Pataki’s bid for a third term Wednesday.

The unions, including the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association and the Uniformed Firefighters Association, have a total of 50,000 members. Many of the unions also supported the Republican incumbent in his last campaign, in 1998.

This time around, the union leaders cited Pataki’s leadership after the September 11 attacks.

“This governor understands the extremely important role that New York City police officers play not only in the safety of New York City, but in the economy of New York City,” said PBA President Pat Lynch at the official endorsement on the steps of City Hall.

“He was a leader and a friend of the firefighters on 9/11,” UFA President Stephen Cassidy said. “That leadership has shown through in the most dramatic crisis in the history of this job. He's been our friend since then, he will continue to be our friend and his leadership has prompted us to come here today and say that every New Yorker should support this governor.”

The governor was asked about the city’s stalled negotiations with the firefighters, who have been working without a contract since May of 2000, but he said the state is not involved.

The endorsements, with the election less than two weeks away, add to a growing list of union support for Pataki, including the teachers’ union and the healthcare workers’ union, SEIU Local 1199, both of which have traditionally backed Democrats.

Pataki also repeated his stance against raising taxes, reinstituting the commuter tax or adding tolls to East River bridges to close the city’s multi-billionaire budget gap, as Mayor Michael Bloomberg is considering.

“This not time to raise taxes on people who want to come and work in New York,” Pataki said. “This is the time when we need to work very hard to bring back jobs that have been dislocated, to bring back companies that may have lost their offices.”

Meanwhile, Democratic challenger Carl McCall is campaigning with some stars from his party. Former President Bill Clinton joined McCall at a rally in Upper Manhattan Wednesday, and Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle was in the city Tuesday promoting the education credentials of McCall, a former Board of Education president.

Last week, McCall accused the Democratic National Committee of neglecting him, complaining that the national Republican Party had pumped twice as much money into Pataki's campaign than the DNC had given him. Daschle said that imbalance is true everywhere, because the GOP simply has more money to spend.