By Mary C. Turner
We nurses can do one thing over the next year that will be a huge win for patients and working families in 2018. We can put Erin Murphy in the Governor’s office. This is absolutely critical us, the direct-care nurses of the Minnesota Nurses Association. Governor Mark Dayton is not seeking re-election, and a dozen candidates are already running. More could jump in too. MNA is ahead of the race though.
In September 2017, a thorough and rigorous screening process took place, which included advice and recommendations from members. The result from the nurses on the MNA Board was an early endorsement for Erin Murphy for Governor. I could not be more excited to support Erin. I was at the screening with the nurses, and Erin was far and above the winning choice. She’s a strong advocate for MNA issues: workers’ rights, guaranteed health care for all, and staffing legislation.
Erin is a registered nurse, a hard worker, and a compassionate leader. Nurses know her as our state legislator and former House Majority Leader from St. Paul’s Summit-Hill district. Erin worked as an OR nurse. She teaches nursing at St. Kate’s. She was the executive director of the Minnesota Nurses Association. She’s from a union family and is the mother of twin daughters.
She’s one of us in heart, mind, and spirit. She’s fought for staffing at the State Legislature. Last legislative session, she introduced a unit closure amendment. While some MNA contracts allow nurses to close units down temporarily when the patient load and acuity mix is too high for the staff on the unit, she stood up for nurses to give all nurses across Minnesota the same right.
As a fellow nurse, she was able to articulately tell her staffing story to her House colleagues. She explained that feeling of being overwhelmed as a new nurse working to her max. She said “I worked in a rural community, we couldn’t get extra staffing to come in that night. We were beyond our limits at that point if we had to accept an extra admission.” She said she wished she had had the right to close her unit that night. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have one of us in the highest elected office in Minnesota.
She stood on the picket line with MNA nurses in 2016, and Erin will be an ally with us in Twin Cities hospital bargaining in 2019. In the future, she will stand with us across the state as we push back against becoming a Right to Work state. Erin Murphy in the Governor’s office will be an asset for workers and will build nurse power.
Erin has made healthcare at the center of her campaign for governor. She stands with the Minnesota Nurses Association in calling for a single payer health care system. Erin cites her frustrations with the healthcare system as being a turning point in her decision to seek public office more than a decade ago. “Part of the reason I ran for office in the first place was the experience my mom and our family had at the end of her life. She had employer-based coverage and Medicare. She’d done everything right. But when she got cancer she had to fight with her insurance company to get the treatment she needed. My mom and our family deserved better and so does everyone else’s family.” Nurses can lead the way in the fight for guaranteed health care for all.
The election of our next governor is critical to protect our union rights and fight for staffing and healthcare. I am proud of our decision to come out ahead of other groups with this endorsement because this governor’s race cannot be lost to a candidate who will take away patient care or benefits to the middle-class. Will you join me in supporting Erin Murphy for governor?
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