When Everett Fire Union President Craig Hardy isn’t on duty these days, he often can be found in Worcester, Falmouth, or any of several other outposts throughout the state.
That’s because the popular firefighter (and hockey phenom) is running for statewide office in the Professional Firefighters of Massachusetts (PFFM) organization – mounting a statewide campaign for one of two Legislative Agents in the powerful PFFM.
“If elected, this would be good for Everett and good for our department,” he said. “I’d be representing 12,000 firefighters from across the state. There are 220 locals in eight districts, and I’m running for one of the two Legislative Agent seats…Firefighting is about helping people, and this is, too, except it’s specifically helping other firefighters, which I would enjoy.”
Essentially, Hardy would be a lobbyist for all firefighters in the state, finding his way to Beacon Hill to lobby for firefighter benefits. He said that would particularly be to keep the pension and health care that are critical for firefighters who respond to dangerous and unhealthy – sometimes toxic – situations.
“The most important things to fight for are our retirement and our health care,” he said. “If I can add something else to that, it would be a win, but keeping what we have is very important.”
Hardy ran for the position last year and lost by a slim 19 votes, but he was running against an established incumbent. Now, the position is an open seat and he faces one challenger from Leominster.
The vote is on June 13.
Hardy said he got involved in the PFFM when he was first elected union president in Everett 11 years ago. He said the other firefighters from around the state helped him to learn the ropes and become more effective at representing his local.
“I got involved with them after getting elected president because I really didn’t know how to be president,” he said. “They had monthly meetings, and I started attending and there were guys I sat with there who were great mentors to me…I just enjoyed it and have a knack for talking with people.”
Hardy was elected union president in Everett in December for a two-year term and will continue to serve in that capacity even if elected to the PFFM.