Brian Fitzpatrick gains Pennsylvania FOP endorsement

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Matt Schickling / Wire photo – Brian Fitzpatrick speaks following endorsement of Pennsylvania FOP.

The Pennsylvania Fraternal Order of Police chose to back Republican Brian Fitzpatrick in the 8th District congressional race.

From Bucks County FOP Lodge #53 in Wycombe on Thursday, officials announced the endorsement, citing Fitzpatrick’s experience in law enforcement as a former FBI special agent.

“This partnership I will say is critical to the fight against crime, the fight against terrorism, the fight against gun violence, to the ever-growing challenge to keep our communities safe,” Fitzpatrick said.

In his brief statement, Fitzpatrick mentioned opioid abuse as a national problem, but one that affects Bucks County specifically.

“We can’t simply arrest our way out of this problem,” he said, noting that he would seek federal funding for substance abuse education, treatment and recovery.

Bob Bray, a former Falls Township police officer who was on the committee that recommended Fitzpatrick to the state, spoke in support of the FOP endorsement.

“I endorse him wholeheartedly,” Bray said.

Earlier that day, 8th District Democratic candidate Steve Santarsiero announced an endorsement from one of the nation’s top gun safety groups, Americans for Responsible Solutions.

Started by former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, the bipartisan group has been fighting for responsible gun safety legislation in Congress.

Giffords survived an assassination attempt in 2011, when she was shot in the head by a gunman who opened fire on a crowd of people outside a Safeway grocery store in Arizona.

“Steve Santarsiero knows that with freedom comes responsibility, and that we can do more to keep guns out of the wrong hands while protecting the rights of law-abiding gun owners like us,” Giffords and Kelly said in a joint statement. “We are proud to support Steve, a leader who is committed to standing up to the Washington gun lobby and to bipartisan change that will help prevent gun tragedies.”

The group previously supported current 8th District Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick in 2014.

As a member of the Pennsylvania House, Santarsiero authored bills to both close the background check loophole in Pennsylvania and legislation that would prevent people on the federal terrorist watch list from purchasing firearms in Pennsylvania, though neither were passed as laws in the state.

“I’ve worked tirelessly to keep our families and communities safe from preventable gun violence,” Santarsiero said. “I am honored to have the support of ARS.”

When asked whether Fitzpatrick had a response to the endorsement, campaign spokesman Aaron Clark said, “Brian looks forward to having their endorsement next year as the incumbent.”

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