CANTON, Mass., April 4, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Massachusetts Nurses Association/National Nurses United (MNA/NNU), the state's largest union and professional association for registered nurses and health care professionals, announces its endorsement and strong support for Patrick O'Connor, Republican candidate for the Plymouth and Norfolk state senate seat.
"Patrick O'Connor has deep experience in local government and as a community leader," MNA President Donna Kelly-William said. "He is committed to nursing values and has pledged to support nurse efforts to improve patient care through the state legislature. The Massachusetts Nurses Association is proud to endorse O'Connor, the son of a longtime registered nurse and MNA member."
O'Connor is president of the Weymouth Town Council and former legislative director to Robert Hedlund, who was elected mayor of Weymouth last November, leaving vacant the senate seat that covers Weymouth, Hingham, Hull, Cohasset, Scituate, Norwell, Marshfield and Duxbury. A primary for the seat is scheduled for April 12. The general election is May 10.
Born and raised in Weymouth, O'Connor was first elected to the Town Council in 2005 at age 21. After being elected president in 2014, his first action was to create the council's Mental Health and Substance Abuse Committee. The opioid epidemic is one of O'Connor's top priorities, he told MNA leaders, along with economic growth, expanding the middle class and advocating for state funding for local services.
O'Connor also pledged to support pending MNA legislative efforts, including: Requiring safe patient limits for nurses in all Massachusetts hospital units; putting in place safe patient handling programs to reduce health care worker injuries and unnecessary costs; and preventing excessive assaults against nurses and other health care professionals by requiring that hospitals give workers a voice in implementing workplace violence prevention plans.
"As a state senator, I will work to make Massachusetts an even better place to live, work and raise a family," O'Connor said. "Accessible, affordable, high-quality health care is an essential part of that goal. I plan to work closely with members of the Massachusetts Nurses Association to advocate for improvements to our health care system."
O'Connor's mother, Theresa O'Connor, has been a neonatal intensive-care unit nurse at St. Margaret's Hospital in Dorchester and then St. Elizabeth's Medical Center in Brighton for 41 years. She said her son has always shown interest and concern about her work.
"He truly cares about nursing," Theresa O'Connor said. "Over the years, Patrick has become one of my best supporters in my nursing profession. I know he would bring that dedication with him to the State House."
Founded in 1903, the Massachusetts Nurses Association/National Nurses United is the largest professional health care organization and the largest union of registered nurses in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Its 23,000 members advance 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 the Legislature and regulatory agencies on health care issues affecting nurses and the public. The MNA is a founding member of National Nurses United, the largest national nurses' union in the United States with more than 170,000 members from coast to coast.
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SOURCE Massachusetts Nurses Association/National Nurses United