California Professional Firefighters

President's Message

The Consequences of Election Day

CPF President
Lou Paulson

Elections, no matter their outcome, will always have consequences. 

Perhaps there is no more timely an example of this truth than the current political climate in our nation’s capital following the decision last November. In one of the most contentious presidential races in recent memory, a new administration has been sworn in, and already, stakeholders are scrambling to figure out what the next four years will bring.  

In the pages of this newspaper, you’ll read about some of the concerns that the men and women of the fire service, as well as our brothers and sisters in the labor movement, may face as a result of last year’s vote. 

Consequences such as these, with potential impacts on the issues that matter to us most, are not limited to the marquee contests in Washington. 

In fact, one could argue that the closer the race is to home, the greater its potential consequences – either good or bad. 

Locals up and down the state know the importance of engaging and endorsing in political races, as every year we hear stories of them moving councils in a new direction or winning key, swing seats because they’ve run effective political campaigns. Supporting candidates who will stand with firefighters can change a local’s relationship with City Hall in the matter of an election cycle. 

It’s happened time and time again.

If anyone questions why our union places such a heavy importance on politics, they needn’t look any further than the stations that re-opened after the election of a sympathetic council, or the cuts avoided due to a funding measure that bore the firefighter brand.

Involvement in the political process also helps for a seamless transition to the legislative work we do here in Sacramento. 

This month, leadership from locals across the state will be descending on the state Capitol for CPF’s Daniel A. Terry Legislative Conference, where they’ll have an opportunity to meet with their legislators about issues directly impacting front-line firefighters and their families. They’ll weigh in on issues impacting workplace safety, behavioral health and retirement security. This event provides an excellent way to engage in the political process, and one that makes a world of difference when it comes time to count the votes on the issues that matter to our members. 

For many locals, the officials they’ll meet with are ones that they’ve spent years forging relationships with as members of local city councils or county boards of supervisors before making the jump to Sacramento. 

When you really get down to it, the vast majority of what affects the day-to-day lives of our members – from staffing, to benefits, to contract negotiations – is the result of a decision made by politicians, whether it be at the local, state or national level.

If it’s here that the key decisions are made, then it’s here that we should be engaging most aggressively.

Thank you, and stay safe.