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NUHW endorses Katie Porter for U.S. Senate

After three days of electronic voting following a forum with the leading candidates, NUHW members have chosen to endorse Rep. Katie Porter for U.S. Senate in California.

The endorsement commits NUHW to dedicate its energies and resources to back Porter in the March primary election that will determine the two candidates who will run in November for a six-year term to represent California in the U.S. Senate.

“I’m honored to receive the endorsement of the National Union of Healthcare Workers, whose members are on the front lines serving patients and fighting for a better California,” Porter said. “My campaign is committed to working with NUHW and all working people to secure a future in which workers are empowered, patients receive quality care, and healthcare is guaranteed for everyone in our country.”

NUHW members voted after watching the three leading Democratic contenders outline their positions on a variety of issues including Medicare for All, mental health parity, the housing crisis, and workers’ rights during the 90-minute forum held on the final day of NUHW’s annual Leadership Conference at the Westin Bonaventure hotel in Los Angeles.

The forum marked the first time that Porter and the other leading Democratic candidates, Reps. Barbara Lee and Adam Schiff, were on stage together since the recent passing of Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

“We are very appreciative to the candidates who took the time to meet our members and discuss the issues that are of concern to all Californians,” NUHW President Sal Rosselli said. “It was a great forum that focused on key issues without any personal attacks. Afterward, we honored our democratic principles with a transparent endorsement vote, and our members decided to give Katie Porter our support.”

NUHW also invited newly-appointed Senator Laphonza Butler to participate in the forum or speak separately at the Leadership Conference, but she did not attend.

Porter received 48 percent of votes cast. She was followed by Barbara Lee with 27 percent and Adam Schiff with 21 percent. Five percent of voters selected “No Endorsement.”

During the forum, Porter reiterated her unequivocal support for Medicare for All, opposed Governor Newsom’s veto of a bill that would have allowed striking workers to be eligible for unemployment benefits, called for the minimum wage to be indexed to inflation, and touted her pro-worker record in Congress.

“I went to Washington to unrig the system,” she said in her closing remarks. “I went to rewrite the rules, not be complacent to them. That’s my promise to you — to challenge the conventional wisdom; to go against the grain; to speak truth to power; to call out corporations; to fight like an NUHW member.”

Asked about what she’d do to bolster the ranks of mental healthcare professionals, Porter responded, “We need to pay them more, and we need to empower them to heal — not to treat them like they’re dealing with widgets, but to allow them to treat their patients as human beings….”

A panel of reporters from the Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, Politico, and Roll Call questioned the candidates during the forum. The moderator was Associated Press U.S. Planning Editor Lisa Matthews. 

Journalists with 20 media outlets either attended the forum or registered to watch the live stream, including the Los Angeles Times, Politico, Roll Call, Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, CalMatters, and CBS TV Stations. C-SPAN broadcasted a recording of the forum on Monday, October 10.

The forum can still be watched in English on Roll Call’s YouTube channel (skip ahead to the 27-minute mark) or C-SPAN, and in Spanish on NUHW’s YouTube channel.

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