A union representing Kansas firefighters endorsed Kris Kobach for governor on Friday, touting his interest in keeping its members safe.

The Kansas State Council of Firefighters represents affiliates in Topeka, Lawrence, Wichita and Kansas City, Kan.

“I’m convinced that you truly care about firefighters and the issues which are important to them,” said Robert Wing, the council president. “You understand the need to protect firefighters against the risk of cancer due to our hazardous occupation and the need to ensure our pension plan is secure.”

Kobach said this was the first time the council has endorsed a Republican in his lifetime. His chief rivals are state Sen. Laura Kelly, D-Topeka, and independent Greg Orman.

“Our firefighters put their lives on the line time and time again to keep Kansans safe,” Kobach said. “I will ensure they have the tools they need to do that. All too often union members and their families are left behind by the establishment in Topeka. I am going to work to ensure we build an economy that is secure and good and strong and growing for all Kansans.”

Nick Connors, a spokesman for Orman, said safety is “top of mind” for the campaign.

“As governor, Greg Orman will have a close working relationship with all our first responders,” Connors said, “ensuring that their concerns and needs are heard, and that all public safety officials are equipped with the tools necessary to carry out their daily missions.”