Two candidates running for Portland City Council have picked up early endorsements from four union locals.
In a joint announcement Dec. 15 in front of City Hall, leaders of Portland Fire Fighters Local 43, the Portland Police Association (PPA), the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 48, and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 8, endorsed Steve Novick and Mary Nolan for city council.
Novick is running for an open seat being vacated by former Fire Fighters union president Randy Leonard.
Nolan is leaving the Oregon House of Representatives to challenge incumbent Amanda Fritz, who is a member of the Oregon Nurses Association.
All but the ILWU represent employees at the city.
“We endorse these people because we want to get the City of Portland back looking at jobs,” said Joe Esmonde, a business agent for IBEW Local 48. “We need to have a middle class that is strong, which is important to pay those taxes. We know these candidates will be there for us and help our members get back to work.”
Daryl Turner, president of the PPA, said the two endorsed candidates “are innovators who think outside the box to solve difficult and complex problems.”
Fire Fighters President Jim Forquer said his union and the PPA also have endorsed Rod Underhill for Multnomah County district attorney. Underhill, a chief deputy district attorney for Multnomah County, is seeking to replace his boss, Michael Schrunk, who is retiring after 31 years as DA.
Forquer said labor wasn’t ready to endorse any of the candidates running for mayor.
Labor-backed incumbent Sam Adams is not seeking re-election, and several people have filed to succeed him. The front-runners are businesswoman Eileen Brady, former city commissioner Charlie Hales, and State Rep. Jefferson Smith.
“At this time, our members don’t feel comfortable making an endorsement,” Forquer said. “We’re anxious to continue the conversations with all of the candidates for the mayor’s race. and we look forward to more information from them.”
Asked by reporters if the Fire Fighters Union might consider endorsing a yet unannounced candidate for mayor, Forquer responded that the union would give thought to anybody at this point.