May 31st, 2007 | Following the Leaders
It’s true, you can trust a nurse. Rep. Tami Green, RN, entered politics in 2000 when she ran for the Washington State House of Representatives. Tami said she threw her hat into the ring because she didn’t like how she was being represented at the state house. She lost the race. Four years later she ran again, and out of the 40,000 votes cast, she won by 253 votes, or one-tenth of a percent. Today, Tami is one of eight nurses working in the Washington State House.
Green is just one of a growing number of nurses who are entering into politics as a way of advocating for their patients. Tami’s campaign motto is, “You can trust a nurse.” Green, who also works as a psychiatric nurse, said she decided to run for the Washington House of Representatives as a way of advocating for the mentally ill, and for the nursing profession. She said, “I’ve been able to affect change in ways that I could only dream about when I was working as a nurse.” Tami said that as a nurse, she has the opportunity to teach her legislative colleagues about the patient needs, and make suggestions on how to meet those needs. She said, “My legislative colleagues listen to the nurses serving in the State House. They listen to us because they respect nurses.”
Tami is very proud of her voting record. She sponsored a bill that was signed into law on May 8, 2007 that provides backup for mental health professionals doing home visits. Tami said that this is the toughest worker safety laws ever passed for mental health workers. Tami also sponsored a bill that mandated health care facilities to purchase safe lifting devices. The goal of the bill was to ensure fewer employee injuries while providing safer care for patients. She also supported new and innovative programs to lower the cost of prescription medications, saving taxpayers millions of dollars. Tami is dedicated to improving access to health care. She said that she believes that everyone has a right to access the health care system without going bankrupt. Tami said, “I am happy to keep pushing the conversation towards quality and affordable health care for everyone.”
Tami said that she it is essential that more nurses enter the political arena. She said, “I thought it was important when I ran for office, but now I’m even more convinced, and I see how affective nurses are as legislators. It’s in our nature to be hard workers. We aren’t afraid of hard work, we are persistent, and we are not easily discouraged. We don’t take no for an answer.”
Tami is a great nursing leader because she is demonstrating how nurses can create positive change within society by becoming active in politics. Visit Tami’s website and learn more about what she’s doing for the people of Washington and for nursing.