Vote for nurses

Meet the candidates.

Who better to make state-level health policy decisions than a nurse? Each year, the Washington State Legislature considers hundreds of health care bills — many of which directly impact patient safety, nursing scope of practice and licensure, and working conditions in our state’s health care facilities.

Legislators, many of whom have no direct experience in health care, take votes that directly impact the work we do as nurses every session; some years it is expanding access to health care, meaning more of our patients become insured and no longer delay care due to lack of affordability. Some years, like in 2019, legislators vote to ensure nurses receive critical rest breaks and overtime protections. In 2023, the legislature will again take up the issue of nurse staffing — and we need nurses in the legislature who are prepared to fight for our interests.

Across the nation, nurses are stepping up and running for office — many of them driven by the COVID-19 crisis.

“Amid a global pandemic that has sown chaos and misinformation in health care and claimed more than 100,000 American lives, nurses’ expertise is more relevant than ever,” Rebecca Nelson writes in a June 2020 Elle magazine story. “They’ve seen the failures of health care policy and delayed action on the ground. They are on the frontlines of the crisis, clamoring for adequate PPE, deciding who gets put on a ventilator, FaceTiming dying patients’ family members when visitors aren’t allowed. And across the country, nurses are hoping to bring those unique experiences to elected office.”

That’s why in 2020, we are so inspired by the nurses who have stepped up to run for the Washington State Legislature. If elected, Ingrid Anderson will be the ONLY nurse in the Washington State Senate. Today, Rep. Eileen Cody, the powerful Chair of the House Health Care & Wellness Committee, is the only nurse serving in the House of Representatives.

We need nurses to step up and run — now more than ever. And these nurses need our support to be elected.

Ingrid anderson
Ingrid Anderson speaks at WSNA’s lobby day (Feb. 6, 2020).

Ingrid Anderson, BSN, RN, SANE, CEN

Candidate for State Senate
5th Legislative District, East King County (Issaquah, Snoqualmie, North Bend, Fall City)

In what may be the most-watched State Senate race of 2020, WSNA Member Ingrid Anderson is taking on an incumbent senator. Anderson has lived in the 5th Legislative District for 30 years and is raising her family there. She has a long history as a community advocate, and her values stand in stark contrast to her opponent (who voted against addressing wage discrimination for women in the workplace, among other things).

Ingrid graduated from Snoqualmie public schools and spent a decade as a grocery worker (and UFCW21 member) in North Bend. She earned her associate degree at Bellevue College and scholarships to the University of Washington – Bothell, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

For a decade, Ingrid treated members of her community in the Emergency Department at Overlake Medical Center. She also served as a sexual assault nurse examiner. Today, Ingrid works in Overlake’s psychiatric department as she simultaneously completes her master’s degree to become a psychiatric nurse practitioner.

After taking her hospital to arbitration to win rest breaks for the Emergency Department, Ingrid advocated with WSNA in Olympia for all nurses to receive this same workplace win. Ingrid also served as vice chair of the WSNA-PAC.

Ingrid is a mom, nurse, union member and strong community advocate. We need her in the Washington State Senate, where she would be the only nurse serving in that body.

Ingrid won the primary election by 491 votes and received the endorsement of Governor Jay Inslee following her Aug. 4 victory.

Eileen Cody
(Left to right) Eileen Cody meets with nursing students Kelli Mosely, Fayrene Arrington and Euijin Lee (Jan. 22, 2018).

Representative Eileen Cody, RN

Candidate for State Representative
34th Legislative District, West Seattle, Vashon Island

Rep. Eileen Cody is Chair of the House Health Care & Wellness Committee and one of the longest-serving members of the State House of Representatives, first appointed to the legislature in 1994.

For 40 years, Rep. Cody served as a neuro-rehab nurse at Kaiser Permanente (formerly Group Health Cooperative) in Seattle. She is also a long-time union member with SEIU Healthcare 1199NW.

Over the last two and a half decades, there has been no health policy that Rep. Cody has not influenced. She championed implementation of the Affordable Care Act, providing increased access to affordable health care for thousands of Washington residents. She has advocated for mental health parity, public health services, health care cost transparency, universal purchase of vaccines and much more. This year, during the pandemic, Rep. Cody has been a strong voice on the need for PPE, testing for health care workers and health system financial transparency.

Rep. Cody was the prime sponsor of the Nurse Staffing bills in 2008 and in 2017. In 2017, Rep. Cody received WSNA’s Nursing Champion Award for her leadership in updating the Washington Patient Safety Act, which governs nurse staffing committees. She was instrumental in building and maintaining strong support for the breaks and overtime protections bill in the House — support that only grew over a decade until the bill finally passed the full legislature in 2019.

Rep. Cody is running uncontested this year and won the primary election with 97% of the vote.

Marianna Everson
Marianna Everson, RN

Marianna Everson, RN

Candidate for State Representative
19th Legislative District, Southwest Washington (Grays Harbor, Pacific, Wahkiakum Counties)

Marianna Everson grew up in Grays Harbor County — one of the areas she seeks to represent in Olympia. The 19th Legislative District covers a broad swath of Southwest Washington, running along the Pacific Ocean to the west and spanning east across a deeply wooded region that Marianna refers to as “Timber Country.”

Marianna earned her nursing degree from Grays Harbor Community College in 2011. As a nurse, Everson’s priority is universal health care. In a March 2020 story in The Daily News, Longview’s newspaper, Marianna shared how one of her patients declined treatment for colon cancer because she didn’t want her husband to be bankrupt after she died.

Democratic candidates have lost the seat Marianna is running for by about 500 votes in the last two election cycles. Marianna is running on a platform of single-payer health care and a state income tax — issues that may be tough in what has often been a conservative-leaning district. Marianna hopes that her grassroots campaign and support for union workers will give her an edge in this race.

Everson received 22% of votes in the primary election (the other Democratic candidate received 20%). The incumbent received more than 57% of votes in the primary.

Lori Feagan
Lori Feagan, ARNP

Lori Feagan, ARNP

Candidate for State Representative
4th Legislative District, north of Spokane along the Idaho border

Lori Feagan has served communities in Eastern Washington as a nurse for 30 years. She now seeks to add to that service by representing the 4th Legislative District in the State House.

A family nurse practitioner in Spokane Valley for the past 11 years, Lori has also spent nearly two decades working as a nurse in the ICU at Valley Hospital Medical Center and five years at Eastern State Hospital.

Lori received her LPN degree from Spokane Community College and earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Washington State University in Spokane. She is a nationally certified family nurse practitioner.

As a nurse, Lori’s ethical code and moral compass guide her work. She looks forward to bringing this lens to state and local priorities, with a focus on the values her community shares.

Lori, who is running as a Democrat, received nearly 36% of the vote in the primary election against three other Republican candidates in the race. In a district that overwhelmingly votes Republican, Lori faces an uphill climb to the general election.

Tarra Simmons
Tarra Simmons, JD, former RN

Tarra Simmons, JD, former RN

Candidate for State Representative
23rd Legislative District, Kitsap County

Tarra Simmons is running a history-making campaign for the Washington State House of Representatives. Her personal experience with poverty, working in health care, opioid use disorder and incarceration give her a unique perspective on the policy challenges before the legislature. If elected, Tarra will be the first former inmate to serve in the Washington State Legislature.

Tarra served her community as a registered nurse for 10 years. Following her recovery from opioid use disorder and associated incarceration, Tarra was accepted to law school. She graduated with honors from Seattle University School of Law in 2017; however, the Washington State Bar refused to admit Tarra due to her criminal history.

Tarra took the Washington State Bar Association all the way to the Washington Supreme Court, where she won her right to be admitted to the Bar. In June 2018, Tarra was finally sworn in as an attorney to practice law in Washington state.

Today, Tarra is the co-founder and executive director of the Civil Survival Project, a nonprofit organization that supports people who have been directly impacted by the criminal justice system. She has been appointed by Gov. Inslee to serve on a state board, a state council and a state commission. Tarra is the recipient of Senator Patty Murray’s Golden Tennis Shoe Award.

Tarra won the primary election with 45% of the vote, with five other candidates in the race. She is well-positioned for the November election.