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John Cunningham - Presidential Candidate
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To my friends and colleagues in the Minnesota fire service:

I am extremely proud to be a Minnesota firefighter, a Minnesota fire chief, and an active member of the MSFCA, an exceptional organization that is a reflection of the high-caliber of fire service professionals, volunteer and career, throughout our state. I believe the strength and success of any organization is directly attributed to its people. The MSFCA exemplifies this fact. The association is truly a member-driven organization that is successful because of the dedication, commitment, tenacity, innovation, courage, and leadership of its membership.

Throughout my 19+ years in the fire service, I have had the opportunity to be part of and lead great organizations. My roots can be traced back to Connecticut where I started as a fire explorer and later became a volunteer firefighter, having the opportunity to serve in every leadership position in a combination fire department, ultimately serving as district chief before accepting a full-time position as the Fire Chief in Elk River.

In addition to gaining valuable front-line experience as a firefighter, line officer, and fire chief, I have experienced and witnessed many of the modern-era challenges, such as budgeting, fund-raising, recruitment, retention, strategic planning, health, wellness, and other issues common to almost every fire department. I firmly believe in working collaboratively to achieve solutions, share in success, and to provide the best possible service to the communities we serve each and every day. To do this, we must take care of our most valuable asset – our people.

It would be my honor and privilege to serve as the next President of the MSFCA, carrying forward the tradition of excellence the MSFCA is known for. We need to continue and expand on the collaborative efforts to take care of our firefighters; develop innovative strategies and actionable steps to enhance recruitment and retention; provide exceptional opportunities for education, training, coaching, and mentoring for our future leaders; and explore innovative solutions for sustainability, funding, and pre-hospital medical care while leveraging modern technology to improve operations and situational awareness.

I am proud to be running alongside Vice President candidate Steve Koering, Fire Chief of St. Louis Park. We both believe in the servant leadership philosophy and are extremely excited about working with and for the Minnesota fire service to continue and expand on the great work of the MSFCA. We invite you to learn more about us, our strategic initiatives, and what others are saying about our leadership philosophy by visiting our website We share regular blog posts both online and via an electronic opt-in newsletter.
As we travel throughout the state to learn more about the challenges and opportunities facing the Minnesota fire service, we welcome open dialog, feedback, engagement, and ideas that, together, we can help pave the path for future generations.

Please do not hesitate to call me toll-free at 844-200-LEAD (5323) or email

With appreciation and gratitude,
T. John Cunningham

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Minnesota State Fire Chiefs Association • 6737 W. Washington St. Ste. 4210 Milwaukee, WI 53214
Jennifer Rzepka, CAE • 800-743-0911 •
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