Former Gov. Tim Kaine's campaign for Senate got a boost Tuesday with an endorsement from the union that represents Virginia's firefighters.
The Virginia Professional Fire Fighters, along with the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Local 2068, which represents many of Fairfax's firefighters, announced their support for Kaine at Fairfax's Station 40 on Legato Road in Fairfax.
"When he became lieutenant governor and governor, he maintained an open-door policy where members of law enforcement, people in the educational profession, had easy access to the governor," said R. Michael Mohler, president of the Virginia Professional Fire Fighters.
Kaine said that he was happy to receive the endorsement and that he understood what firefighters encounter on the job.
"People have a stereotype about what firefighters do: fight fires. Hey: they fight fires, they do emergency response, they run with our EMT units and ambulances," Kaine said.
"The profession really covers a huge bit of real estate in terms of important issues in people's lives."
Kaine noted that he was not endorsed by the local union during his first race for city council in Richmond years ago, when he ran against an incumbent. After Kaine won, he approached a leader in the union.
"I understand why you stood with someone who stood with you," Kaine said, recalling the conversation he had with the union leader. "I completely get that. My goal is going to be to serve in such a way that you'll always want to endorse me hereafter and I'll be your go-to guy."
Virginia Professional Firefighters is an association of local unions of the International Association of Firefighters, which represents career firefighters throughout the state.
Kaine's Republican competitor, George Allen, was endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police in August during the group's convention at Fair Oaks.
Local 2068 has donated more than $10,000 from April 2011 to May 2012 to the Fairfax County Democratic Party, according to Virginia Public Access Project.