Political Action Works for San Angelo Local 886
May 26, 2006 – San Angelo, TX Local 886 is celebrating the success of its political action efforts both of the city council members it endorsed were elected on May 13. Local 886 formed its first Political Action Committee (PAC) in September 2005, and campaigned for candidates John Fields Jr. and Jon Hogg – both of whom won by a landslide.
Fields won the District 1 seat with 69.6 percent of the vote over his opponents – Debbie Albert and Thomas Madron. Hogg won the District 5 seat with 83.7 percent of the vote over his opponent Sonny Shapiro.
“This is a particularly important victory because San Angelo Local 886 does not have collective bargaining,” says IAFF 11th District Vice President Sandy McGhee. Members wanted to change the political environment in San Angelo and the local sent Treasurer Bubba Barnett to a political action seminar in Richardson, Texas, with IAFF District Field Service Representative (DFSR) Joe Tellez.
“They took what they learned and applied it to their advantage,” says McGhee. “I applaud their efforts for a job well done.”
In 1997, a pay referendum was passed in San Angelo stipulating that fire fighters would be guaranteed comparable pay to surrounding cities of similar size. However, in 2005, the city council maintained it did not need to keep the promises of the old council and would only keep up with the pay if the city had the money.
“That was the impetus that got us thinking about political action,” says Donald White, president of Local 886. “We couldn’t stand by and let the council go back on its word.
Both Fields and Hogg supported one of Local 886’s biggest issues – the need to hire additional fire fighters. The candidates also supported the fire fighters’ pay issue to prevent losing quality fire fighters to other departments that pay more.
“We’ve heard for years how important political action is,” White says. “Now, we know it is true. The hope is that we can continue with this positive momentum.”