By Barb Brady
MNA Communications Specialist
Amid all the frustration and chaos at the closing hours of the Minnesota Legislature this past weekend, there was one bright spot. MNA members from the Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter came to the Capitol to lobby for funding to increase safety at their hospital – and made a difference.
“It was quite the ride,” said Lori Olson, chair of the MNA State Employees Bargaining Unit. “We went to the Capitol and got seats on the floor. We let people know we need money, staff, and funding.”
Olson and other members began texting some legislators, explaining why the funding is needed.
“It was very effective to have us among them as they had to make tough decisions,” Olson said.
MNA members have been working with state and hospital officials to secure funding for staff and remodeling the hospital.
In May, nurses held their own Mini Day on the Hill, visiting lawmakers in St. Paul to explain the urgent need for assistance. In the photo above, MNA member Brenda Walter meets with State Rep. Jack Considine of Mankato (left) and State. Rep. Clark Johnson of North Mankato (right) during state employee’s Mini Day on the Hill.
The Legislature adjourned without adding the funding to the Department of Health and Human Services budget.
Olson says she’s hoping Governor Dayton will call a special session to address the issue. In any case, she says the experience was very rewarding.
“It was the first time I was involved in lobbying,” she said. “I’ve talked to elected officials before, but never went to the Capitol and sat in on a session.”
Olson is urging her members – and all MNA nurses – to get involved and talk to their elected officials – you can make a difference!