WSNA nurses run for State Senate

Nurses make outstanding elected officials – bringing a deep knowl­edge of the health care system, excel­lent critical thinking skills and a strong ability to build relation­ships. That is why WSNA is always excited when members step up to run for office at any level.

This year, we are proud to support two WSNA members running for office in the 34th legisla­tive district, which covers West Seattle, Vashon Island and Burien. Both Sofia Aragon and Lois Schipper are running for the open Senate seat, currently held by Senate Majority Leader Sharon Nelson. 

Sofia Aragon, JD, BSN, RN 

As Senator for the 34th, my goal is to put my experi­ence to work and hit the ground running to advocate for fully funding quality educa­tion, assuring afford­able housing for all families, and making sure quality health care is avail­able for everyone.” 

Sofia Aragon serves as the Execu­tive Director of the Washington Center for Nursing (WCN), an organi­za­tion estab­lished by WSNA and other leading nursing organi­za­tions to address the nursing shortage. Prior to joining WCN, Aragon was a senior govern­mental affairs advisor at the Washington State Nurses Associ­a­tion. Aragon also spent a number of years at the Washington State Depart­ment of Health, serving as the legisla­tive and policy manager for the Commu­nity and Family Health Division and as the contracts manager with HIV Client Services. She has held direct-care nursing positions with Provi­dence Medical Center and the Rainier Park Medical Clinic in Seattle. 

Addition­ally, Aragon has served on Governor’s Commis­sion on Asian Pacific American Affairs, as presi­dent of the Washington chapter of the American Associ­a­tion of Nurse Attor­neys, and is a member of Filipino Lawyers of Washington. She is a current board member of the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance. In 2014, Aragon was recog­nized as a Heroine of Health Care” by the Center for Women and Democracy. 

In 1975, Aragon immigrated to Seattle with her parents – her mother was one of the many hundreds of Filipino nurses recruited to practice in the United States. Aragon credits her journey in nursing to her mother, and her journey in advocacy to her experi­ence as a regis­tered nurse advocating for patients. The desire to be a stronger patient advocate led her to pursue a law degree and to engage in health policy at the state level. 

Aragon is a graduate of Issaquah High School and earned a degree from the Univer­sity of Washington and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Seattle Univer­sity. She holds a law degree from the Loyola Univer­sity – Chicago School of Law. 

Lois Schipper, MPH, BSN, RN 

As a nurse, I have dedicated my 30-year nursing career to helping families and children live better lives. I want to bring my experi­ence as a public health and children’s health expert to the State Senate in Olympia to inform the discus­sion about what we can do as a state to make things better for our children, our families and our community.” 

Lois Schipper has spent the majority of her 30-year career working in Public Health and Commu­nity Health Care, in both direct service and leader­ship roles. Much of her work has focused on under­served and low-income women and their children. While working for Public Health – Seattle & King County, Schipper led evidenced-based home visiting programs for pregnant women and children, oversaw the Parent and Child Health Program and served as the admin­is­trator of the White Center Public Health Clinic. Schipper currently manages the Patient Naviga­tion Program at Seattle Children’s Hospital. This program is located in the Center for Diver­sity and Health Equity and helps non-English speaking families under­stand their child’s complex health condi­tion and partner with the medical team to support and optimize their child’s health. 

Addition­ally, Schipper has been active in her commu­nity, serving as Diver­sity Chair for the 34th District Democ­rats and as PTSA Legisla­tive Chair. She led the bond and levy committee for her local school district for almost a decade, success­fully passing bonds and levies to support teachers and schools. 

A long-time member of WSNA, Schipper has served on negoti­ating teams and previ­ously served as the Chair for a bargaining unit. Until this Spring when she announced her Senate run, Schipper also served as a member of the WSNA-Polit­ical Action Committee Board of Trustees. 

Schipper holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Ohio State Univer­sity and a Master’s in Public Health from the Univer­sity of Minnesota. She served in the Peace Corps in Mauri­tania, West Africa, where she worked with malnour­ished children as a Maternal and Child Health Nurse. 

Note: The WSNA-PAC has also endorsed candi­date Shannon Braddock in this race.