News & Events

MNA enjoys electoral success

From the Massachusetts Nurse Newsletter
November/December 2010 Edition

By Andi Mullin
Director, Division of Governmental Affairs

This year’s election season was a highly successful one for the Massachusetts Nurses Association. The organization prioritized 17 races for the state Legislature in the September primary and 25 in the November general election. Overall, the MNA compiled a win rate of 77 percent in the 2010 election, and on several key priorities, we ran the table.

The MNA contributed mightily to the campaign to defeat Question 3, a reckless proposal that would have cut the Massachusetts state sales tax by more than half, and MNA member Jacqui Fitts from Taunton was featured in a key, closing television ad against the ballot measure. Ultimately, Question 3 lost by 14 points.

The MNA and the NNU prioritized winning the open 10th Congressional District seat and campaigned hard for long-time MNA friend and champion Bill Keating, who won with 47 percent of the vote. The MNA’s diligent work contacting our more than 3,000 members in that district by mail and phone made a big difference in this close race. We also prioritized re-electing Congressman Jim McGovern, who won his race by 17 points. McGovern is the kind of ally who does the right thing for us before we even ask, and we are delighted to be able to continue to work with him in Congress. Subsequent to the election, the congressman had unexpected surgery to remove a cancerous thyroid gland. He is expected to make a full recovery, and we send him our very warmest wishes.

In addition, the MNA endorsed the successful re-election campaigns of Congressmen John Olver, Barney Frank, John Tierney and Stephen Lynch.

In the state Legislature, the picture was a little more mixed. We did see 10 pro-MNA House members lose their seats this year, and we will greatly miss those outstanding public servants. However, we gained a seat in the state Senate, elected several new senators to key seats, and also helped to elect House members who will prove to be key MNA allies.

Overall, this election was a huge success for the MNA by any measure, particularly given the anti-labor fervor that swept over much of the rest of the country. The key was getting members involved in races. It was members of the association, talking to their colleagues on the ground about MNA-endorsed candidates, that really made the difference between winning and losing. Here are just a few critical examples:

State Senate

Katherine Clark (D-Melrose)
This victory represented a key pick up in the state Senate, as Katherine Clark will replace the former Republican Party leader who had not been a supporter of the MNA safe staffing bill or of many other pro-labor issues. Clark, on the other hand, has been a key MNA supporter in the House of Representatives, working hard this past session to help us to pass a bill that increased the penalties faced by those who assault a health care worker providing care. Clark is also a strong supporter of the MNA’s safe staffing bill. We are extremely excited about working with her in the Senate.

Mike Rush (D-West Roxbury)
Mike Rush also comes to the Senate from the House of Representatives, where he compiled a strong track record of supporting MNA legislation, filing critical budget amendments, and being one of the House’s strongest pro-labor champions. Rush will be a great addition for us in the Senate.

Dan Wolf (D-Harwich)
We are also thrilled with the election of Dan Wolf to fill the Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Robert O’Leary. Wolf is the CEO of Cape Air, and has a long history of community involvement and positive relationships with his own employees. He has pledged to support the MNA’s safe staffing bill and to work closely with us in the Senate. The MNA’s work in this race was critical, as we phoned and talked to our members in the workplace about the importance of electing this candidate. As Wolf said after the election, “Everywhere I went throughout the campaign there were nurses, and the support of those nurses really made a difference.” Along with Clark and Rush, we look forward to working with Wolf in the Senate, and we think this new trio of MNA supporters will be our strong allies in the new session. State House of Representatives

Denise Garlick, RN (D-Needham)
We are delighted with the election of Denise Garlick to fill the seat previously held by longtime MNA friend Lida Harkins. Garlick won a very difficult primary election, and went on to win the general election by a strong 10 points. She is an MNA member and served as MNA president during the critical transition when we broke away from the management-dominated ANA. Garlick does not just understand nursing and the needs of patients, but she understands the MNA and the needs of our members and our organization. We congratulate her on running such an excellent race, and look forward to working with her as a member of the House of Representatives

Tackey Chan (D-Quincy)
Massachusetts made history this year by electing the first Asian-Americans to the Legislature, and we are proud to have assisted in the election of Tackey Chan. A former aide to an MNA ally, outgoing state Sen. Michael Morrissey, Chan will be a strong MNA supporter in the House.

Paul Mark (D-Hancock)
Paul Mark replaces outgoing Rep. Denis Guyer. Mark is an IBEW member and has a long history of union activism. Along with Garlick, he is one of the new union members elected to the Legislature who understands union issues because he has been a union leader. An attorney who got his law degree while working for Verizon, he brings a ferocious work ethic to the House, and we cannot wait to work with him. In all of these races as well as others, dozens of RNs and health care professionals spent time directly with these campaigns speaking to their own colleagues and the voters and educating them on how important voting for our allies is to protecting patients. The MNA’s electoral success is dependent on the participation of these members. To get involved in the next election, please contact Riley Ohlson, political organizer, at