Nothing makes us prouder than seeing our members serving their communities outside of the firehouse. That’s why this Election Day, we interviewed four IAFF members running for office to find out what inspired them to run and why they are the best person for the job. From Canton, Ohio, to Troy, New York, these members are demonstrating that no one knows how to advocate for fire fighters like fire fighters. Read their interviews here and check out our social media for more behind-the-scenes looks at our members’ election efforts across the United States.


Lieutenant with the Norwich Township Fire Department
Norwich Township Fire Fighters Local 1723

Running for Teays Valley School Board
Ashville, OH

Q: What inspired you to run for Teays Valley School Board?

A: Well, it started about two and a half years ago, I was approached to start giving thought about the possibility of running for school board. I am very well connected in my community, with athletics, and just being involved in youth sports for many years, I felt like it was the next thing. I started my fire career in the same community as the school district. I worked for the fire department for 10 years and it was how I served the community, and it was a community I grew up in.

Q: Why did you become a fire fighter?

A: My dad is a retired Washington, D.C. police officer, and I never thought I would grow up to be a fireman. I went to college and my pathway was that I was going to be a teacher and a coach. That was my pathway as a high school student. I started off with that and decided that I didn’t want to do that. I had some friends in the fire service, so 25 years ago I started my first ride-along, and I did a ride-along with friends in Nashville, and I was hooked from day one. I started my journey as a fire fighter, went to fire school, EMT school, and paramedic school, and here I am doing the job that I absolutely love.

Q: What issues are you hoping to tackle?

A: In the community, everyone’s like, “What are you mad about? What’s your agenda?” and I don’t have one. Sadly, that’s not enough. People want to know. My heart is to serve. Serve the community, serve the families, serve the students, serve the staff, whatever that looks like. If I can just be a voice of reason and a voice of understanding, that’s what I want to serve the school board with. With the IAFF, my passion in the fire service is wellness. I’m a peer support instructor, resiliency instructor, and a master instructor for the IAFF, and I have the honor to travel the U.S. and Canada teaching about wellness and behavioral health and obviously, that’s a huge passion. I look to take my experience and knowledge and share in a different way in the classroom and community.

Q: How has the IAFF inspired you to run for office?

A: Being an instructor, since 2019, I really saw the importance of elections and people who hold positions. As a young fire fighter and even being in the union, I didn’t really pay attention to that, but it really does matter who we put into position and the voices held in those locations. I’ve grown to respect voted, political positions, and the importance of that. I’m blessed to be a part of the IAFF, and their support of me is an honor. I’m super excited to see what the next steps are for me.

Q: Why are you the best person for the job?

A: Now that my kids are grown up, in high school and I have two daughters in college, I felt like I wasn’t serving the community I live in, and I love so much. I’m excited for this next opportunity and if it lines up and I’m elected, I’m a fireman and you know fire fighters, we love to serve however we can and that’s what I look at this as, a service to my community.

To learn more about the campaign, visit the link here.


Fire Commissioner, Battalion Chief of EMS and Fire Prevention with Richland Fire and Emergency Services

Running for re-election as Benton County Fire Commissioner District #4, Position #1
West Richland, WA

Q: What made you decide to join the fire service?

A: From an early age I knew I wanted to be a fire fighter. My father was a volunteer in our small community, and I had numerous uncles who were fire fighters. Growing up in and around the fire service, I knew I could see myself in the profession. As I grew older, I realized the profound impact fire fighters and EMS providers have on their communities. This, coupled with the team atmosphere of the job, hooked me and I knew it was what I wanted. I was hired by Richland Fire and Emergency Services (Local 1052) at the age of 19 and have been blessed to be there still. I currently serve as a battalion chief/paramedic.

Q: How long have you been a member of IAFF and what local chapter?

 A: I have been an IAFF member for 23 years all with Local 1052 Richland.

Q: Why did you decide to run for office and is it your first time?

A: This is my second term and I am running for re-election. I decided to run the first time because I was approached by IAFF members to oppose someone else who filed for the position. The local felt my opponent would not be a good fit for the community, fire district, and local members. Conversely, they felt I would be the right fit and my background would suit me well in the position. I wanted to run because I felt it was a way to give back to the community and fire service, both of which have given so much to me and my family.

Q: How has being a union member inspired you on this path?

A: As a union member, I know the work we do is time-critical, highly technical, and labor-intensive. To meet the needs of our community, we must have a highly trained and compensated workforce to carry out our mission. We measure our value to the community through lives saved, quality of life impacted, and life and property protected. It takes a workforce to create value to our community.

Q: What do you want to tell voters?

A: It is now more critical than ever to have a Fire Commissioner with real experience and trusted leadership. I am focused on building a safer community! I have four primary areas of focus:

    • Financial Sustainability – Ensuring community expectations are met while being a good steward of the community’s tax dollars.
    • Strategic Planning – Developing a community-focused vision for the future of the fire district.
    • Operational Effectiveness – Having the proper personnel and equipment to meet the community’s needs as calls for service increase.
    • Building Relationships – Establishing community partnerships and working with all stakeholders to carry out the mission of the Fire District in a more efficient manner.

I also have proven results during my 18 months as a Fire Commissioner:

    • Provided a balanced budget with increased efficiencies and collaboration.
    • Acquired a $100,000 grant to support our EMS program.
    • Supported an internal fire recruit training academy, saving the taxpayers $22,000 in one year.
    • Hired six new firefighters and paramedics to meet the exponential increase in emergency calls, increasing safety for you and your family.
    • Acquired firefighting training props to maintain and enhance lifesaving hands-on skills.
    • Replaced outdated life safety and emergency medical equipment.
    • Replaced aging firefighting apparatus with modern equipment that will enhance community safety.

To learn more about the campaign, visit the link here.


Retired Fire Captain and Paramedic
Troy Fire Fighters Local 86

Running for City of Troy City Council, District 6
Troy, NY 

Q: What inspired you to run for office?

A: There are two reasons. One is that there are no constituent relations anymore. Councilmen always responded to the needs of their constituents, took care of their problems, and helped them guide through what could be difficult, dealing with city government. People here can’t seem to get their trash picked up or their streets plowed, and they have other issues, and no one is responsive to their needs. Because I worked for the city and I grew up here, I’ve always been a guy that people would call, and say, “Tom, I got this problem.” Also, it’s specific to the fire union business, we have always been a city where people wanted to work. In the last couple of years, we’ve had people that the city hired and trained, that have left for other municipalities. For the people, veterans, and [those] active in the fire service, this is deeply disturbing. It deserves a lot of attention.

Q: Why did you become a fire fighter?

A: I come from a line of fire fighters, like a lot of people do in the fire service. My uncle and my father were both captains, I was a captain, and my son is now #1 on the list for the Troy Fire Department. My father, my son, and I all had Badge #1. The last few years I worked, I got to spend a lot of time working with my son. It was so special. My father was on the executive board of the union, my son was on the executive board. I did 20 years, and it was so rewarding. Recently, I ran into a guy and the last time I saw him, he was going into cardiac arrest at his house. I knew he was [still here] because we were there. It was just great to know I did a great job, as did everyone else in the fire service. I’m just really proud of my service when I look back on things like that. 

Q: Have you held office before or had any interest in the past?

A: I’ve never had a huge interest in doing it before, but things are just so off track now, and the workforce and how they’re being treated, and people feel like they don’t have a voice anymore. I really felt like I could make a difference.

Q: What are the most important issues?

A: I’m looking to start on the small things in this district. People who’ve lived here for years, and have not abandoned this city, they’re finding violent crime, shootings, trash in their alleys, and just a lot of quality-of-life issues. They didn’t leave, they didn’t abandon, and they’re not happy. A lot of times they’re frightened about what is happening in their community. I just constantly patrol the district and I talk to people, and say when I’m elected, that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

Q: How has being a union member inspired you to run for office?

A: As a union member and a member of the city workforce, I worked with all the other departments that are all unionized. And I see the predicament and the situation these city workers are in now. With the city not taking care of employees as they should, they’ve created an environment where no one really wants to come to work in what is a great city. It was really a call to action, not only for UFA members, that we all had to pull together and work together. I’ve never seen the environment for all city workers look like this. 

To learn more about the campaign, visit the link here.


Retired Fire Captain
Canton Fire Fighters Local 249

Running for Canton City Council, Ward 8
Canton, OH

Q: Why did you join the fire service community?

A: I was in the Navy for four years, and when I got out, the economy wasn’t going good. I saw there was a test, and, in the Navy, you do firefighting because there’s no one to call when you’re out in the middle of the ocean. I took the test, and it was good for two years, and just before it was up, they called me and [asked], “are you still looking?” At the time, I was unemployed. It was the greatest thing that happened to me. I kept getting involved. I got promoted to captain, was a senior captain, and filled in for the battalion chief a lot, now you see how everything works, and it was great. I was so happy this happened to me.

Q: How has being a union member shaped your political journey?

A: Ever since I joined the department, I got on it, and eventually, I worked my way up. I was a trustee for a long time and became union vice president. I was probably an officer in the union for probably 15 to 20 years, at that time. So that was important to see how everything works. You can sit there at the union meetings and complain, but when you are a part of the negotiating team or dealing with grievances, you see how different things work.

Q: What inspired you to run for office?

A: When I became PAC chairman, I started to go to city council meetings, and I just couldn’t believe what was going on. They were just so uninformed about what the fire department did, they just didn’t know. When I retired, I said, “I can’t let these guys make decisions for the fire department or the city in general.” The union shows you, without being involved, you can’t complain. So, I said, “I can be the advocate for the union and for the city.”

Q: What specific issues are you hoping to tackle?

A: You know, trying to get the city and the economy to grow but also the environment. It’s the big picture. Our little piece of the world is part of the big piece of the world.

Q: How did the union help during your campaign?

A: I’ve had my local do a lot for me, the state association and international. The guys from my local went and helped with the campaign. They didn’t have a lot of time, but they went out and campaigned for me. You always have a team behind you. The brotherhood and the sisterhood are always there.