The unions representing Portland police and firefighters have endorsed State Rep. Jefferson Smith (D-East Portland) for mayor.

The public safety unions last year announced they'd be withholding their endorsement in the race for the time being.

Smith is perceived to be the most liberal of the three leading candidates. He's running against businesswoman Eileen Brady, former City Commissioner Charlie Hales and 20 others.

The text of the announcement follows:

Portland Public Safety Backs Jefferson Smith for MayorExperience Budgeting Through Tough Times CitedThis morning Portland Firefighters' Association, Local 43 and the Portland Police Association announced a potential game-changing endorsement of Representative Jefferson Smith for Portland Mayor. PFFA has over seven hundred sworn personnel working for Portland Fire and Rescue and for the Port of Portland at the International Portland Airport.  The Portland Police Association represents nine hundred police officers, sergeants, detectives and criminalists who work for the Portland Police Bureau. “Jefferson Smith has actual, recent experience working with public budgets in these constrained times,” said Jim Forquer, president of PFFA. “We trust Jefferson to manage the city. He is the candidate showing the discipline to protect the general fund who hasn’t promised tax breaks or big projects our city budget can’t afford â€œHe’s been an effective leader for East Portland, and he prioritizes our community’s safety.” added Daryl Turner, President of PPA. “He has shown leadership on human trafficking reforms and community efforts to improve safety on the Max line.”“I am honored to have the support of the men and women who protect our lives and homes,” said Smith.  “I will work hard to ensure Portland is a better, and safer city for all of us.”Smith has demonstrated experience managing public budgets in tight economic time.  As a legislator, he sits on the General Government budget committee that oversaw $8.9 billion in the last budget cycle, including the offices of the State Treasurer, the Governor, and the Secretary of State.  He also carried a bill in the legislature to prioritize front line workers over middle management, setting the state goal at eleven staff for each manager.  Right now the city of Portland auditor says their average is six to one.  Smith has called for reducing middle management before cutting basic services.The late endorsements are meaningful for Smith’s campaign and come right as the campaign is building momentum.  Last week, despite entering four and five months after their key opponents, they reached 2000 individual contributors, apparently faster than any campaign in city history not running under the public financing system.  On Sunday, 100 volunteers knocked on over 4000 doors for Smith.The firefighters and police endorsements add to Smith’s list of major endorsements including Portland Association of Teachers, AFSCME, Communication Workers of America, Bike Walk Vote, Portland Green Party, Independent Party of Oregon, and the Oregon Progressive Party. See endorsements here