Reflections and thanksgivings.
Subject: Nurses (Political aspects)
Electioneering (Evaluation)
Political campaigns (Evaluation)
Authors: Myers, Carole R.
Sullivan, Meredith
Pub Date: 12/22/2008
Publication: Name: Tennessee Nurse Publisher: Tennessee Nurses Association Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health care industry Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2008 Tennessee Nurses Association ISSN: 1055-3134
Issue: Date: Winter, 2008 Source Volume: 71 Source Issue: 4
Product: Product Code: 8043100 Nurses NAICS Code: 621399 Offices of All Other Miscellaneous Health Practitioners SIC Code: 8049 Offices of health practitioners, not elsewhere classified
Geographic: Geographic Scope: Tennessee Geographic Code: 1U6TN Tennessee
Accession Number: 191286522
Full Text: The election season is behind us now. We know who the winners and losers are, and now it is time to turn our attention back to the business of advancing the interests of professional nurses and the health of all Tennesseans through legislative and other processes of state government. Your Tennessee Nurses Political Action Committee (TN-PAC) is very active during an election season. You may not know that we work very hard after the election results are known. In this article, we will reflect on the work of TN-PAC during the past election season in Tennessee and the work before us with the next session of the Tennessee legislature.

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This past year, TN-PAC contributed a total of $18,300 to 63 candidates, 17 running in Senate races and 45 in House races. We also made contributions to the House/Senate Joint Democratic Caucus. You may not know ... there are times between election cycles when we make strategic contributions from TN-PAC for very specific purposes. Although we were successful in raising $18,560 during the past election cycle ($5,700 at the TNA Annual Convention), we are convinced that the best way to position the PAC is to build a large base of donors who give regularly. We will be most successful if we create a culture of giving that is not sporadic or isolated. Giving to the PAC is ideally a routine, reflecting an important professional obligation and investment. We are especially proud of the number of donations that came from first-time givers during this election cycle. Hopefully these one-time givers will follow the lead of those that have been faithful givers for years.

Last year, the PAC was focused on three operational goals: transparency, accountability and effectiveness. Each of these is essential to being good stewards. To this end, we want to describe how decisions were made regarding TN-PAC contributions during the 2008 election cycle in our state (remember: TN-PAC only makes contributions to candidates for state-wide offices and the TNA Board only makes endorsements in state races). We have made being transparent about what we do a priority, as well as being accountable to TNA members and those who support TN-PAC by their donations. As you review how decisions are made, we hope you will also appreciate the steps we took to make our processes more effective.

Prior to making contribution decisions, the PAC Committee analyzed all general election candidates using the following criteria:

* Survey Results -- A policy survey was sent to all candidates to provide an opportunity to voice their ideas about and commitment to resolving issues related to the nursing profession. These questions addressed issues affecting school nurses, bedside nurses, the patients who we serve, advanced practice nurses and other various issues. All surveys were scored on a scale of 1-5, based upon completeness, commitment to nursing issues, and quality of ideas outlined.

* Voting Record -- For incumbents, committee and floor voting records from 2007 and 2008 on key TNA bills were documented. A percentage was given based upon how often the legislator voted in support of TNA positions on these key bills.

* Legislative Position -- For incumbents, consideration was given as to whether they served on a key committee, had a leadership position on key committees and/or held a leadership position within their party's caucus.

* Election Details -- Recommendations for contributions were also made based upon poll data and other factors related to the potential success for each candidate.

* Political Party -- The PAC Committee wanted to ensure that a proportional amount of money was given to candidates in both parties based upon that party's percentage of representation in the respective chamber. This consideration only came at the very end when the amounts were analyzed to ensure they are made in the best interest of TNA.

TNA Lobbyist Meredith Sullivan compiled this data and presented it to TN-PAC committee members with recommendations for contribution amounts based upon TN-PAC's budget. With limited funds, contributions were made to maximize investments in key candidates and key races. Please note that a contribution does not constitute an endorsement. The list of candidates who received TN-PAC contributions is published in this issue of the Tennessee Nurse. When you see these candidates, thank them for their commitment to advance the nursing profession and improve patient care. Let them know we look forward to working with them in the next legislative session. Offer your help in making sense of bills related to professional nurses and the health of all Tennesseans.

A decision was made this year that will help the PAC be influential during the legislative session. All PAC members are now included as members of the TNA Government Affairs and Health Policy Committee. This move to increase collaboration and coordinate efforts should better leverage the efforts of the two committees and make us more effective during both the election season and the legislative session.

It was good to see many of you at the TNA convention. The TN-PAC appreciates your support. We thank you for visiting our booth, for your contributions to the PAC, for your participation in the TN-PAC auction, and for your feedback about how to maximize the effectiveness of the PAC.

TN-PAC is a non-partisan organization. Make your contribution now online at www.tnaonline.org. Click on the on the Click Here to Contribute Now link in the upper right hand corner below the TN-PAC logo to reach the secure online PAC contribution form.

Help us "PAC a Punch for Nursing" in Tennessee!

by Carole R. Myers, PhD, RN, APRN and Meredith Sullivan, TNA Lobbyist
Gale Copyright: Copyright 2008 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.