Vote for nurses

This story was published in the Fall 2020 issue of The Washington Nurse magazine.

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.

One strong voice: WSNA members are stepping up in uncertain times

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