Whipple gets firefighter endorsement for mayor

Posted: Updated:

Brandon Whipple picked up another endorsement, this time with the Local Firefighters siding with him over incumbent Jeff Longwell.

“We’re trying to grow,” said Charles Helm with IAFF Local. “The city’s growing. Our responsibilities our growing and we need to get that directed back to help us be able to provide the best services to Wichita.”

Whipple already received an endorsement from the fraternal order of police several weeks ago and said that firefighters should be a priority along with all public safety in the city.

“We need to make sure we aren’t losing our firefighters to other cities,” Whipple said. “That’s another big thing – turnover. Not only in Wichita, we should have a world class public safety program. Let firefighters know they’re valued here.”

The union said the biggest issue it has now – the city is growing but the fire department really hasn’t. The union said it’s short 156 firefighters and needs more stations compared to other cities of similar size.

Both the union and Whipple’s campaign said the endorsement came before a Wichita Eagle report on the Mayor’s alleged favoritism over contracts to build a new water treatment facility.

Whipple said it proves there’s a need for a local ethics commission.

“A lot of the stuff mentioned in that article, we couldn’t do up in Topeka,” he said. “You can’t accept gifts without reporting it.”

Mayor Longwell has denied that they were gifts or that favoritism was a factor.

The District Attorney of Sedgwick County said on Thursday that it had “received multiple emails Tuesday from a single individual setting forth concerns related to the Eagle story published Sunday.

As for Mayor Longwell, he declined our request for interview again Friday. He had said throughout the week that the allegations made in that article were false.

The mayor will be participating in a Reddit Q&A Friday night at 6:30pm.

Check out these photos from across KAKEland snapped by our viewers, staff and local officials. Do you have pictures to share with us? Email them to news@kake.com.