Putting Nurses in Office
Monday, April 8, 2019
Posted by: Roy Muyinza
The Texas Nurses Association’s Nurses in Office initiative hopes to bring nurses into positions of political power by encouraging and supporting nurse campaigns both large and small.
The brainchild behind the project, longtime TNA member Lolly Lockhart, PhD, RN, was concerned with the lack of nurses represented in leadership roles and saw that small local elections were a doorway into the greater political landscape.
“Thinking of how Representative Donna Howard started on the local school board, I realized that was the way to go,” she says. “Get early and mid-career nurses to run for school boards or other local elected offices and in a few years, they would be ready for the Texas legislature and eventually, Governor or Congress.”
Lockhart teamed up with Ellen Martin, TNA Director of Practice, and Kevin Stewart, Texas School Nurses Organization Legislative Counsel, to strategize a plan. Launched in 2018, the program operates its online presence as TNA’s Nurse Campaign Support Center, hosting resources designed to show a step-by-step process for getting started, finding support and being elected.
The initiative has an ambitious vision too (below), with goals to win small races that pave the way for big campaigns. Nearly three million Americans are registered nurses but only two nurses current serve in Congress, meaning there are ample opportunities to create a more representative body of lawmakers.
Hope for 2040: Nurses Leading the Charge
- 2022: Ten RNs running locally
- 2030: Five RNs at the Texas State Capitol
- 2040: RN running for governor
Despite being rated the highest as a profession for honesty and ethics for the seventeenth consecutive year, nurses often underestimate their own power. Nurses in Office hopes to inspire nurses to see this reality and empower them with the tools, resources and support necessary to launch a winning campaign.
If you or a nurse you know is interested in running for office, please let us know. Whether it’s a position on a local school board, city council, county office or justice of the peace—we’re here to offer our help and resources. Don’t have anyone to run? Consider creating an interest group of nurses in your community to find a strong nurse candidate. Want to support a nurse’s campaign in the future? Fill out our volunteer survey.