Concord firefighters make endorsements for mayor and city council
The Concord Professional Firefighters union has endorsed Mayor Jim Bouley and other city council candidates in Tuesday’s election.
In the at-large race for city council, the union endorsed Ward 4 Councilor Amanda Grady Sexton and Ward 10 Councilor Fred Keach, said Ian Butman, president of the International Association of Firefighters Local 1045.
“I think Mayor Bouley and councilors Grady (Sexton) and Keach are really night-and-day above the other candidates in their experience,” Butman said.
Bouley, a three-term incumbent, is facing challengers John Cook and Chris Booth. In the at-large race for city council, two candidates will be elected citywide to four-year terms. Running against Keach and Grady Sexton are Samantha Clattenburg, Scott Welch and Timothy Willis. (Josh VanBuskirk, a sixth candidate, has said he is not actively campaigning.)
The union also made two endorsements in races for ward councilors. Gail Matson received an endorsement in Ward 8, where she is running against incumbent Councilor Dick Patten and Dennis Soucy. In Ward 2, the union endorsed Allan
Herschalg, who is running for an open seat against Tim Bauman.
“Allan Herschlag has shown in the past that he is very supportive of public safety and is pretty adamant that he’s looking for an organized approach as how to move forward in the public safety arena,” Butman said. “And Gail Matson seems like a really nice breath of fresh air. She’s outgoing, she’s been a resident for 25 years, she’s very willing to listen and research issues.”
The union made no endorsement for the contested races for wards 1, 3 and 4.
“There were too many good choices in each of those to really be able to commit to somebody,” Butman said.
Butman said the endorsements were based on candidates’ comments at public candidate forums, as well as an event the union held Monday night at the Barley House. That event included food and drinks, and gave candidates a chance to speak with firefighters.
“We sent out an invitation that mentioned that it was a nonpublicized event, meaning that we were not trying to draw a large audience of people there, not in any way meaning that it was a closed event,” Butman said. “We did put ‘private’ on the invitation, but the term ‘private’ meant that you would have the ability to speak with your firefighters face-to-face.”
Butman said firefighters spoke with candidates and current city councilors at the event about public safety.
“The firefighters look at the knowledge and experience of an individual with the city of Concord, we look at their views on public safety, as well as we look at their views on labor issues,” he said.