NEW YORK NURSE: January 2013
This election cycle NYSNA nurses got involved like never before – knocking on doors, making phone calls and encouraging their co-workers to vote.
We supported candidates who support safe nurse-to-patient ratios. One of those candidates, Cecilia Tkaczyk (D), was victorious after a long battle with Republican George Amedore for the newly drawn 46th Senate district in the Hudson and Mohawk Valleys. NYSNA staff and members played a significant role in Tkaczyk’s victory, making phone calls, distributing literature and reminding union and community members to vote. After a court challenge to count all eligible ballots, Tkaczyk won by 19 votes.
“No matter who controls the state Senate, our fight will be a tough one,” said NYSNA President Pat DiLillo. “It’s going to take thousands of nurses and other supporters to get safe staffing passed. That’s why this election was so important.”
On Nov. 4, several candidates supported by NYSNA members prevailed in their elections. These elected officials are committed to securing safe nurse staffing levels and helping nurses put their patients first.
Pat Fahy (D-Albany), who was backed early by NYSNA in a crowded primary for the 109th district Assembly seat in Albany County, went on to win by a 2 to 1 margin on Election Day. Fahy is a long-time supporter of workers’ rights and a proven healthcare ally.
Two incumbent republican senators, George Maziarz (Niagara/Orleans/Monroe) and Mark Grisanti (Niagara/Erie), won their elections by a large margin. Both senators were so concerned with staffing at Erie County Medical Center, that they joined NYSNA members for a press conference in October in front of the facility.
In election races for Westchester, Long Island and Queens, NYSNA members walked neighborhoods with literature and encouraged their co-workers to help with phone banks to help get out the vote.
George Latimer (D-Westchester) an advocate of women’s health, bested his Republican opponent for the 37th district. Latimer’s district includes embattled Westchester Medical Center where more than 140 skilled nurses and other healthcare workers were recently layed off.
Republican Assemblyman Phil Boyle of Long Island won a hotly contested state senate race against his Democratic challenger. Boyle faces a steep challenge in helping his Long Island constituents (including many NYSNA members) get back on their feet after the storm.
Queens voted to keep senate incumbent Joseph Addabbo, Jr. (D), a friend of labor and advocate for the welfare of people in all stages of life.
Democrat Didi Barrett, of the Democrat and Working Families party, was voted to return to the 106th district assembly. Barrett represents Dutchess County where, after a long battle with management, Vassar Brothers Medical Center nurses just ratified a new three-year contract.
Voters returned Democrat David Carlucci to the 38th senate district in Rockland and Orange counties. NYSNA nurses endorsed Carlucci in a press conference in front of Nyack Hospital.
This election year, NYSNA had more of a presence than ever before – and it payed off.
Many NYSNA members went door-to-door in their communities to help get the vote out.
“Our members played a significant role in getting these key officials elected,” said Bernie Mulligan, director of NYSNA’s newly-created Political and Community Organizing Department.
“The groundwork has been set – now we must hold these officials accountable by making a concentrated effort to arrange visits in lawmakers’ districts and offices in Albany to keep our safe staffing campaign moving forward,” said Mulligan.
Hundreds of nurses have already volunteered to help with our Safe Staffing Campaign. If you want to help, contact NYSNA’S Political and Community Organizing Department at ext. 283 for more information.