BOROUGH PARK, Brooklyn (WABC) -- New York City mayoral candidate and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams picked up a major endorsement from the city's first responders on Tuesday.
The FDNY Uniformed Fire Officers Association threw their support behind Adams at a rally outside of Engine Company 282 and Ladder Company 148 in Borough Park.
"As we come out of the other side of this pandemic, there will be many challenges that we will face," FDNY-Uniformed Fire Officers Association President Jake Lemonda said. "Our next mayor needs to understand these challenges. Our next mayor needs to understand our communities. The UFOA is convinced Eric is the person to meet these challenges head on."
The union represents more than 8,000 active duty and retired New York City fire officers.
It's the first uniformed services union to endorse any candidate in the crowded race.
Lemonda urged all New York City residents to stand behind Adams.
"Let's bring back New York City to the best of times," he said.
Adams welcomed the support and called himself the only blue-collar candidate in the race after receiving the backing of several unions. He said if he wins, he'd be the first blue-collar mayor since Fiorello La Guardia.
"I am probably the only person who's running for mayor that has ever had a union card, so their health care is my health care, their pension plan is my pension plan. We are the same," Adams said.
Meanwhile, Andrew Yang, a tech entrepreneur, refused to tangle with Adams on blue-collar union credentials.
"I haven't seen his comments, I'll leave it to Eric to run his campaign as he sees fit," Yang said.
The latest polling puts Yang in first place with 16%, but Adams isn't far back. That same poll found half of all New Yorkers are still undecided.
"I am thrilled that New Yorkers of every background are excited about my campaign and I think a lot of people realize I'm focused on the things that matter most to the families here," Yang said about the poll results.
But Adams is hoping to chip away at Yang's lead, claiming he's soft on crime and has no solid plan for leading the city out of the pandemic.
"This is not a race for mayor, this is a race to save the city of New York, we can't go backward," Adams said.
One of the biggest endorsements still to come is from the teachers' union. Between that and the official debates that kick off next month, the mayor's race is finally heating up.
Primary election day is about 10 weeks away on June 22.
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