Hawaii News Rail support gets Caldwell firefighters union’s backing By B.J. Reyes Feb. 28, 2012 Mahalo for supporting Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Enjoy this free story! Read more Mahalo for reading the Honolulu Star-Advertiser! You're reading a premium story. Read the full story with our Print & Digital Subscription. Subscribe Now Read this story for free: Watch an ad or complete a survey Log In Already a subscriber? Log in now to continue reading this story. Activate Digital Account Print subscriber but without online access? Activate your Digital Account now. The Hawaii Fire Fighters Association on Monday endorsed Kirk Caldwell for Honolulu mayor, citing his track record and support for the city’s $5.27 billion rail transit project. Union President Robert Lee said the organization’s executive board reached the decision after reviewing its 2010 endorsement, which also went to Caldwell. "It was very clear, with the choices that we had, who we were going to endorse," Lee said. "It wasn’t really much of a competition for us." Caldwell is running against Mayor Peter Carlisle and Ben Cayetano, a former two-term governor who is the only one of the three candidates opposed to the rail project. Lee said the union supports rail because of its potential to reduce traffic congestion. "If you look at the traffic that goes on on that side of the island — rush-hour traffic — it’s very easy to say that by not doing anything to address the traffic, people are dying," Lee said. "We can’t get there fast enough. "If we can’t get there fast enough — as everyone is aware, minutes make a difference whether you live or die — it’s very clear that if we don’t do something about the traffic, people will continue to die." The HFFA represents about 2,900 members statewide. Caldwell also has been endorsed by the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers. The state’s two largest unions, the United Public Workers and the Hawaii Government Employees Association, have scheduled a news conference for this morning to announce their endorsements in the race. In an email to members last month, the HGEA appeared to lean toward Caldwell, who the union endorsed in 2010. The message characterized Carlisle as a "tremendous disappointment," saying he had adopted a negative position against public employees, and also recounted Cayetano’s effort as governor "to reduce employee rights through civil service reform." A Honolulu Star-Advertiser/Hawaii News Now poll earlier this month showed Cayetano leading the race with 44 percent, followed by Carlisle at 35 percent and Caldwell with 16 percent. The poll had a margin of error of 4.2 percentage points. Previous Story Opt-out provision would halt some, but not all, web tracking Next Story You do need a title for this to work.