ITHACA, N.Y. — Ithaca’s chapter of the International Association of Fire Fighters, the union representing professional firefighters and EMS workers, have announced the endorsement of Seph Murtagh in the race for New York State Assembly District 125.

“This is a critical time for New York State, and it’s important that we send leaders to Albany who have a demonstrated track record of support for first responders,” said Brian Quadrozzi, President of IAFF Local 737. “After careful consideration, we believe Seph Murtagh is the candidate who best fits that role. Seph cares deeply for his constituents, he’s been a leader on the Ithaca Common Council, and he will make a great representative in the Assembly. We’re proud to endorse him.”

Vice President of IAFF Loacl 7373 Kevin Koehler, says that while the IAFF has not endorsed a candidate in 15 years, that Murtagh’s dedication to working with first responders as a member of City of Ithaca Common Council motivated the union to lend its support.

“We realize this is an important race, and we came to this decision after working closely with Seph to improve public safety in Ithaca. He’s shown consistent support for the work that we do, taking the time to learn about our profession and going to bat for us on the Common Council,” said Koehler. “With all the support he’s showed us, the least we could do is support him in his journey to the Assembly.”

Seph Murtagh, third from the left, participating in Fire Opps 101, a hands-on training course for elected officials

Murtagh said he was “honored” by the endorsement, recalling elected officials training he participated in as a member of Common Council, describing the perspective it has given him on the job the first responders do and the responsibilities they carry for the community, 365 days a year.

“I didn’t quite know what I was getting myself into. It was hard work and physically challenging. But it was an incredible experience and it left a lasting impression on me. Thanks to what I learned from the training, I was able to become a stronger and better-informed advocate for the firefighters on the Ithaca Common Council,” said Murtagh in a press release Thursday. “These are dark and challenging times, and it’s so important that we support our first responders. I’ve been proud to give that support at the local level, and I will continue to be a strong advocate for them in Albany.”

Murtagh will have to navigate a crowded primary field that includes former Legislative Counsel to Barbara Lifton, Jordan Lesser, Cortland’s Lisa Hoeschele, Tompkins County Legislator Anna Kelles, Dryden Town Supervisor Jason Leifer, Cortland County Legislator Beau Harbin, and local attorney Sujata Gibson, who have all met the petition threshold to appear on the primary ballot.

The primary will take place on June 23 ahead of the general election on Nov. 3.