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Candidates announce endorsements from unions

Date: 9/19/2011

Sept. 19, 2011

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

SPRINGFIELD — With just a few days before the primary election, all three of Springfield’s mayoral candidates received endorsements from area labor organizations.

Members of the Springfield Patrolmen’s Union gathered outside of police headquarters on Sept. 17 to announce that union’s support for City Council President Jose Tosado.

The union had supported incumbent Domenic Sarno during his last re-election bid. Union President Joseph Gentile said, “I think Jose gives us a better opportunity going forward than we have now.”

Gentile was referring to a greater influence the rank and file would have on policing strategies under a Tosado administration. Immediately after the press event to announce the union’s support, Officer Thomas Liebel read a prepared statement.

“This endorsement is from the Executive Board only and does not represent the vast majority of the police officers in the Springfield Police Department.”

Liebel continued, “I am standing here before you to let citizens of Springfield know that the Springfield police officers do not back any candidate for mayor. The majority of my fellow brother and sister officers wish to remain neutral and allow the voting public to decide the right candidate.”

Liebel would not answer any follow-up questions.

School Committee member and mayoral candidate Antonette Pepe received the nod from Sheet Metal Workers Local 63. Pepe has been long recognized as an active member of organized labor having served as the president of the union representing paraprofessionals in the Springfield schools.

The United Brotherhood of Carpenters Local 108 endorsed Sarno. During the last election the union supported then City Councilor Bud Williams.

Rocky Thompson, the business agent for the union, said, “He’s committed to leading on job creation and that is something we need in Springfield.”

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