By Phil Corso
Standing proudly in front of one of the area firehouses he said he helped save in the past, state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) accepted an endorsement from the Uniformed Fire Officers Association Tuesday for his bid for re-election to the Senate.
Joined by UFOA members, including Capt. Alexander Hagan, president of the organization, Avella said he was glad to acknowledge one of the most important endorsements he would receive.
“These men and women sacrifice every day to keep our communities safe,” Avella said. “I hope to continue working hard and ensuring their voice is heard in Albany.”
Avella, who is running for re-election in the 11th Senate District, said he would work to prove himself worthy of the UFOA’s endorsement if given another term in office. The senator will face Republican Joe Concannon, a 25-year NYPD officer, in November.
The redrawn 11th Senate District where Avella is campaigning covers a large piece of northeast Queens, including College Point, Whitestone, some of Flushing, Bayside, Fresh Meadows, Hollis Hills and the neighborhoods bordering Nassau County.
As a member of both the City Council and Senate, Avella said he helped rally against several firehouse closures and staffing cuts throughout the city. Last summer Avella was a vocal opponent of the proposed closure of Engine Co. 306 in Bayside and protested outside 19 other firehouses throughout the city. All 20 firehouses were kept open.
Hagan said the UFOA was fortunate to have friends in the state government who understood the risks firefighters took every day.
“The UFOA, representing 2,500 lieutenants, captains, battalion chiefs, deputy chiefs, supervising fire marshals and medical officers, is pleased and proud to endorse Sen. Avella for re-election,” Hagan said. “Tony Avella is a fighter for his Senate district, his city, his state and his country. We need more just like him.”
Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4573.