Firefighters union endorses Perez for DNC chairman

Firefighters union endorses Perez for DNC chairman
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Labor Secretary Tom Perez has won the endorsement of the International Association of Fire Fighters in his bid to lead the Democratic National Committee. 

IAFF President Harold Schaitberger praised Perez in a statement released Monday afternoon as a "son of immigrants ... a tireless advocate for civil and human rights."
 
"Tom Perez is the person who has the right mix of personal background, progressive values, experience and total commitment to all workers," he said. 
 
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"Perez has made improving the lives of all workers his life's mission. To have Tom as the Chair of one of our nation's two major political parties would be a significant victory for workers across America."
 
It's the second union endorsement of the day for Perez, who is leveraging his work as Labor Secretary as a key part of his bid to chair the DNC. Hours before the firefighters' endorsement, Perez won the backing of the United Farm Workers in the group's first endorsement ever for a party chairman.
 
Perez jumped into the race last week, shaking up what had been a field consisting of Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, New Hampshire State Party Chairman Raymond Buckley and South Carolina State Party Chairman Jaime Harrison. 
 
Sally Boynton Brown, the executive director of the Idaho Democratic party, announced her bid days later. 
 
Ellison had the early momentum for his bid, receiving high-profile endorsements from lawmakers including Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersSenators pledge action on Saudi journalist’s disappearance Senators concerned as Trump official disputes UN climate change warning Jake Tapper hits Trump over 'Medicare for all' op-ed: ‘It’s only an hourlong show, we can’t get into every lie’ MORE (I-Vt.) and Sen. Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerFive takeaways from the final Tennessee Senate debate Schumer rips Trump 'Medicare for all' op-ed as 'smears and sabotage' GOP senator suspects Schumer of being behind release of Ford letter MORE (D-N.Y.). He also won the backing of high-profile unions such as the American Federation of Teachers and the AFL-CIO, despite rumors that Perez was debating a bid. 
 
While Perez has captured some of the more recent momentum, none of these unions or lawmakers have a vote on who will lead the party. The almost 450 members of the Democratic National Committee are the only ones who have that power, which has boosted the hopes of both Buckley and Harrison as their higher-profile peers receive more press.