By Julie Anderson, RN
Governmental Affairs Commissioner
There is a lot at stake in the upcoming midterm elections. Like many other nurses, I was excited to find out that a fellow nurse and an inspiring leader, Erin Murphy, was running for governor. I thrusted myself into the campaign and volunteered with the Nurses for Erin campaign. I did phonebanks, door knocks, attended meetings, had face to face interactions, attended the DFL convention as a delegate, and, of course, I voted for Erin for Minnesota governor in the primaries. After the primary went the other way without Erin Murphy representing the DFL on the ballot, I suddenly found myself asking “what now?” I realized, though, that my work was far from over.
There are still many candidates seeking election or re-election in November who have proven to be champions of nurse values. These candidates were screened directly by MNA members to ensure they will help us advance issues at the state Capitol. They pledged to support our patients and our profession by standing up for solutions for short staffing, healthcare reform, and workplace violence prevention. We also need to elect candidates who will defend MNA against anti-union attacks, such as the nurse compact and the so-called “right to work” legislation. MNA nurses endorsed Tim Walz for Governor for these very reasons. He will work with us and for all of us, which is why we all need to vote for him and Peggy Flanagan for Lieutenant Governor in November.
Still, we can’t stop at voting. As a Governmental Affairs Commissioner at MNA, I have gone with fellow nurses and staff to the Capitol to personally reach out to legislators. This is the best time to speak our hearts regarding issues that we feel deeply. I was happy to make some allies in the Capitol who represented and supported nurses with their votes on legislation we discussed, and I’m happy to support those I am able to with my vote in November. We cannot win elections or pass legislation in a vacuum—we need every nurse to get involved in the democratic process. In a democracy, majority rules, and we know the majority of people respect and listen to nurses.
According to the annual Gallup poll, nurses continue to be the most trusted profession and have proven time and time again to have a tremendous voice at the Capitol. We need to take that powerful voice to every voting booth across the state of Minnesota this fall because “Nurses Care, and We Vote.”