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Gross gets firefighter nod

Published by Tim McNulty on .

City Council special election candidate Deb Gross has picked up a number of labor endorsements this week, but today is getting arguably her biggest one -- from the city firefighter's union.

The Firefighters Local 1 nod is interesting for a bunch of reasons. Short term, it has sizable membership in parts of council District 7 including Lawrenceville, Stanton Heights and Morningside. Longer term, it means the fiesty but smart union leadership (headed by longtime president Joey King) knows it will have to work with Gross and other allies of Bill Peduto over the next few years, even if they've long clashed with the likely mayor-to-be (and pushed for opponent Jack Wagner in the spring).

Its need to look out for its retirees, widows and current membership -- on health care and other contract issues -- signals they're ready to bury the fire ax, at least somewhat. And it doesn't hurt Peduto's chief is going to be Kevin Acklin, who has deep family roots in the Fire Bureau.

The union's political action committee, headed by Darrin Kelly, made the call after meeting with both Gross and Tony Ceoffe Jr.

"With her community outreach, she's proven she can work with multiple different groups around the community. She fits the neighborhood better," Kelly said.

Grant Street types will take note that the endorsement is also one of the very few times that city firefighters and paramedics are agreeing on something. The Fraternal Assoc. of Professional Paramedics Local 1 announced its endorsement of Gross yesterday.

"We believe the leadership shown by Deb Gross will contribute to the advancement of the City of Pittsburgh. We look forward to working with Deb Gross to ensure that the residents of the City of Pittsburgh receive the highest quality pre-hospital care that the residents of Pittsburgh have come to expect and deserve," FAPP president Anthony Weinmann said.

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