American Nurses Association


February 24, 2004

Carol Cooke
Heidi Ecker

American Nurses Association Endorses Kerry for President

Nurses Say Change is Needed to Improve Health Care for All

Washington, DC - The American Nurses Association (ANA) will announce today, at a Town Hall meeting in Ohio, its endorsement of U.S. Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) for president in the 2004 election. Citing the need for dramatic improvements in the nation's health care system, as well as continued support for registered nurses and their role in health care, ANA president Barbara A. Blakeney, MS, APRN,BC, ANP, on behalf of the ANA Board of Directors, declared Sen. Kerry the best candidate to lead health care reform efforts.

"Health care is at a crossroads in the United States," Blakeney said. "Too many Americans are without accessible, affordable, quality health care and nurses can play a critical role in turning that around," she added. "We pledge our support to help Sen. Kerry become the next president because, as president, we can count on him to continue his support for issues that are high on the agenda of nurses."

In the Senate, Kerry has been a consistent advocate for increased funding for the Nurse Reinvestment Act and other nursing workforce development programs. He supported the ANA-backed mandatory overtime bill known as the Safe Nursing and Patient Care Act (S. 373); and opposed the repeal of strong ergonomic protections that were passed during the Clinton Administration.

Sen. Kerry was, in fact, co-author of both the Nurse Reinvestment Act and the Safe Nursing and Patient Care Act and has been a strong advocate on behalf of nurses throughout his entire senatorial career.

"For ANA, each election is a powerful opportunity to advance nursing's perspectives on health care," said Greer Glazer, RN, CNP, PhD, FAAN, Chair of ANA-PAC. "More than 2.7 million strong, registered nurses represent the largest group of health care professionals. We are acutely aware of the changes that need to be made to improve health care for all and we will use our power at the ballot box to make health care a priority," she added.

ANA has been making presidential endorsements since 1984. The endorsement process included sending a questionnaire on nursing and health care issues to all of the democratic and republican candidates, an invitation to all of the democratic and republican candidates for a personal interview and an online survey of ANA's membership.

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The American Nurses Association is the only full-service professionalorganization representing the nation's 2.7 million registered nurses (RNs)through its 54 constituent member associations. The ANA advances the nursing profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice,promoting the economic and general welfare of nurses in the workplace,projecting a positive and realistic view of nursing, and by lobbying theCongress and regulatory agencies on health care issues affecting nurses and the public.

The Road to Endorsement

The ANA Board’s decision to endorse Senator Kerry came only careful consideration and analysis of a variety of factors including: This deliberate, inclusive, and non partisan endorsement process is rooted in the 1985 House of Delegates resolution directing ANA to engage presidential contenders of all parties in endorsement considerations.

Engaging the Candidates
Beginning in the summer of 2003, ANA sent candidate questionnaires to:
President George Bush, General Wesley Clark, Governor Howard Dean, U.S. Senator John Edwards, U.S. Representative Dick Gephardt, U.S. Senator John Kerry, U.S. Representative Dennis Kucinich, U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman, Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun, and Reverend Al Sharpton.

In addition, each candidate was invited to participate in interviews with representatives of the ANA Political Action Committee (PAC) Board and ANA Government Affairs Staff.

ANA staff maintained regular, contact with all of the campaigns, and through this outreach and interaction, ANA received completed candidate questionnaires from all of the contenders except President Bush and Reverend Sharpton, and conducted personal interviews with all candidates except President Bush, General Clark, and Reverend Sharpton.

Informing and Polling the ANA Membership
The candidates’ questionnaire responses, as well as additional background information on their positions on issues relating to nursing and health care were made available on the ANA Government Affairs website,, and from February 2-13, 2004 ANA members weighed in by voting for the candidate of their choice online in ANA’s Virtual Voting Booth.

This call for member input on the endorsement met with an unprecedented level of response, and the voting results were conclusive.

(Congressman Gephardt and Ambassador Moseley-Braun had withdrawn from the race prior to the voting, and Senator Lieberman withdrew shortly after the voting began).

Based on all of the information gathered in the endorsement process, the ANA-PAC Board voted to recommend that the full ANA Board endorse Senator Kerry.  On February 20, 2004, the ANA Board voted unanimously to approve that recommendation.

February 19, 2004

CONTACT: Suzanne Martin

UAN President Cheryl Johnson, RN, Votes to Support Sen. Kerry in 2004 Presidential Race

Positive Stand on Nurses', Workers' Issues Key Factors in Decision

Washington, DC -- UAN President Cheryl Johnson, RN, joined other AFL-CIO affiliate union leaders in unanimously voting to endorse Sen. John Kerry for president of the United States in the upcoming November election. The AFL-CIO General Board voted to endorse Sen. Kerry at a meeting this morning.

"We believe that Sen. Kerry has taken a strong stand on issues important to the 100,000 staff nurses of the UAN, from his support of legislation placing limits on the amount of mandatory overtime hours nurses must work to his commitment to workers' rights and the freedom to choose a union," Johnson said. "In addition, Sen. Kerry's policy experience makes him the best candidate to defeat George W. Bush."

As the only registered nurse on the AFL-CIO Executive Council, Johnson added that Kerry's stand on issues like whistleblower protections and a strong and enforceable ergonomics standard have shown that the Senator is willing to work hard on behalf of registered nurses.

"The number-one election year priority for the UAN is to beat George W. Bush," Johnson stated.  "Under the backward policies of the Bush administration, nurses have lost the ergonomics protections we won under President Clinton, seen the Bush Labor Department pass rules that could threaten nurses' overtime pay and witnessed the unprecedented erosion of workers' rights to choose unions.

"It is past time for a change," Johnson stated. "We've got to work now to win back the White House in November. With a nurse staffing shortage projected to reach more than 808,000 by 2020, we must act now to create good nursing jobs that will encourage more Americans to choose bedside nursing as a career."

The United American Nurses, AFL-CIO, the union affiliate of the American Nurses Association, is the nation's largest RN union with 100,000 nurses and is made up of state nurses associations or collective bargaining programs from 24 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.