TEANECK – Members of the Firefighters Mutual Benevolent Association (FMBA) gathered in front of Teaneck’s Fire Station 4 on Monday to endorse Democratic Challenger Josh Gottheimer as he prepares to face off against deeply entrenched incumbent Scott Garrett.
According to Eddie Donnelly, the president of the New Jersey FMBA, the union’s decision to back Gottheimer came as part of an effort to ensure future services for first responders. Donnelly said that Gottheimer was more likely to fight for first responders than Garrett has been during his time in office. He cited Garrett’s lack of support for the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act which provides healthcare to first responders suffering from 9/11 related illness.
“The issues facing our country, our state and the 5th congressional district cannot be solved through partisanship or obstructionism,” Donnelly said. “The era of extremism in Washington has to end so that we can take the steps necessary to keep our country safe, create jobs and build stronger communities.”
According to Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco—a firefighter for 40 years—Garrett has not “done anything for uniformed services.” Tedesco also stated that Gottheimer would bring Bergen County congressional representation if he was elected, something that it lacks despite being the most populous county in New Jersey.
Congressman Bill Pascrell (D-9) was also in attendance at the rally to share his support for Gottheimer. For Pascrell, the chair of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus, Gottheimer would give him a “partner” in fighting for first responder-related causes if elected.
“You cannot deal in partisan politics when it comes to the safety of our fire fighters and police officers,” Pascrell said.
The candidate said he was “humbled” by the FMBA endorsement. He said that if he is elected he will fight for more SAFER grants in New Jersey, support healthcare for all 9/11 first responders and make information about hazardous material transport available to local offices of emergency management.
Gottheimer currently has the support of Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in the November election. The group’s aim this year is to push Gottheimer to victory as part of their “red to blue” initiative.
The NJ FMBA represents more than 5,000 firefighters, EMTs and dispatchers throughout New Jersey.