The State Council of Firefighters broke with tradition and endorsed Kansas Secretary of State and conservative populist Kris Kobach in the state’s gubernatorial race on Friday.
During a press conference, Bob Wing, president of the firefighters union, said he and his members were endorsing Kobach for his pro-worker platform that seeks to secure pensions and more fair workers’ compensation laws across the state.
“I’m convinced that you truly care about firefighters and the issues which are important to them,” Wing said at the endorsement event. “You understand the need to protect firefighters against the risk of cancer due to our hazardous occupation and the need to ensure our pension plan is secure.”
Wing acknowledged that the State Council of Firefighters endorsement of a Republican is a historic shift not only for his union, but also for the GOP which Kobach—like Trump—has sought to shape into a pro-U.S. worker party.
“We are all well aware that unions historically endorse Democrats,” Wing said. “But the firefighters have always taken our endorsements seriously and endorse the best candidates in the race.”
Kobach thanked the firefighters union for their endorsement, noting that his plan for Kansas is to level the state’s worker compensation laws that he says are tilted too much towards the needs of business rather than workers.
“I am going to ensure that we build an economy that is secure and good and strong and growing for all Kansans,” Kobach said. “I’ll work to stimulate that economy so that all workers are better off … and that will bring economic security for all Kansans.”
“I believe that Kansans need to have a working environment that is safe for all of its workers,” Kobach continued. “And if they are unfortunately injured on the job, that they are fairly taken care of. I believe that all workers that save for their retirement, their pensions should be secure as well.”
The endorsement is a major blow to the Kansas Democrats who have typically won the endorsement of union workers for decades.
Kobach has also won the endorsement of President Trump as he faces off against two left-wing candidates for governor, Laura Kelly and Greg Orman. Kelly is known as a protege of former liberal Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, famous for enforcing Obamacare. Meanwhile, Orman has donated to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in the past.
Full Disclosure: Kris Kobach is a columnist for Breitbart News.