Former state treasurer Frank Caprio has won a coveted endorsement -- from the Rhode Island State Association of Firefighters -- as he fights to regain his former office in a three-way Democratic primary.
The association represents almost 2000 firefighters across Rhode Island, encompassing 36 local unions.
The endorsement is particularly noteworthy since the State Association of Firefighters didn't endorse Caprio during his ill-fated run for governor in 2010. It also suggests that some of those who criticized Caprio for his past calls for overhauling the state pension system now would prefer his approach to the one pursued by his successor, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gina Raimondo.
Watch for Paul Reed, president of the State Association of Firefighters, to tout Caprio as a supporter of Main Street -- as opposed to sending pension dollars to Wall Street -- as part of the endorsement. Reed is expected to tout Caprio as someone who will run an efficient pension system, reduce fees to Wall Street hedge funds, and listen with respect to unionized firefighters.
The State Association of Firefighters endorsed Providence Mayor Angel Taveras in his run for governor last October, shortly after Taveras announced his campaign.
Upset by changes in the pension overhaul championed by Raimondo, unionized firefighters have also dogged her during fundraisers and other campaign events, including her formal launch in Pawtucket last month Raimondo has characterized the overhaul as necessary for ensuring the long-term health of the pension system.
Support from labor, along the mayors of North Providence and Johnston, offers a boost for Caprio in his run for treasurer. Among his opponents, former state auditor general Ernest Almonte maintains the largest war chest in the race so far, and Seth Magaziner has rolled out support from the likes of Patrick Kennedy and Bill Clinton.