NEAL FOR CONGRESS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – May 23, 2012
CONTACT: Matt Fenlon
WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS FIRE CHIEFS ENDORSE CONGRESSMAN RICHARD E. NEAL
Only Second Time in Organization’s History Fire Chiefs Make Political Endorsement
(SPRINGFIELD) The Western Massachusetts Fire Chiefs will officially endorse Congressman Richard E. Neal tomorrow at Villa Rose Restaurant, 1428 Center St. in Ludlow, at 11:30am. Since inception in 1962, this will be only the second time in its 50 year history the Western Massachusetts Fire Chiefs make a political endorsement.
"From the floors of the Springfield City Council to chambers of Congress, Congressman Neal has demonstrated leadership qualities that are recognized and applauded by the Western Massachusetts Fire Chiefs Association," said Michael Winn, President of The Western Massachusetts Fire Chiefs and Greenfield Fire Chief, endorsing Neal.
The Western Massachusetts Fire Chiefs represent 129 chiefs in 101 cities and towns across Hampden, Hampshire, Berkshire, and Franklin counties. A majority of the Western Massachusetts Fire Chiefs organization falls in the new First Congressional District.
“I am honored to receive the endorsement of the Western Massachusetts Fire Chiefs,” said Neal. “Because I started in municipal government I have always understood the budget process and how fire chiefs operate their departments. As a result, my advocacy and commitment on behalf fire chiefs and their departments is unmatched.”
Over the last four years, Neal has secured federal grants for 42 fire departments in the Second Congressional District for a total of $4,888,873.
“Federal funding for fire departments is extremely competitive because each round is open to every department nationwide,” Neal said. “The Western Massachusetts Fire Chiefs- as well as their Central Massachusetts counterparts- always turn in superb applications for grants. Combine with my advocacy, we have had great fortune with a success rate in the Second Congressional District. During my travels across the new First District, as I meet new chiefs they invariably inquire about how we can partner on upcoming grant applications; I am all too pleased to oblige.”
Citing his background in municipal budgets, Neal explained federal fire grants benefit the overall public safety of a community as well as alleviating local officials from dipping into reserve funds or having to raise taxes to pay for fire and public safety equipment.
Winn offered a recent example of Neal’s commitment to fire departments of all sizes. Referencing the Town of Warren’s recent $48,260 federal grant and Neal’s successful advocacy, Winn said, “Just recently Congressman Neal visited the small town of Warren and spent time with Fire Chief James Dolan who was awarded a federal grant. Showing again that regardless of community size from a large metropolitan area or small rural town, the respect that you give to the fire service and its fire chiefs is the same. Congressman Neal-you are that leader.”