Tucson nurses find Sinema’s office empty, just like her promises
When they went to discuss the Build Back Better Act with Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, members of National Nurses United and thier allies in Tucson found her office empty - just like her promises. | Image via Google

TUCSON—When local members of National Nurses United showed up at Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s local office on Oct. 7, they were not surprised to find the office empty, just like her promises.

Working people have gotten used to being ignored by her. They knew there was no chance they could speak to the senator or even a staff member, so they brought along signs and a bull horn to hold a rally in front of the unlit office.

The Nurses and community supporters were there to urge Sinema to support the full $3.5 trillion Build Back Better Act, which the senator is holding up, and to protest her refusal to support nurses’ values.

The first speaker at the protest, Dominique Hamilton, said that passage of the act would be life changing for millions, especially for women, who make up most of her union’s members. She specifically cited the act’s provisions for universal free child care, family leave, and child care credits. “It’s imperative to invest in health care and not leave anyone behind,” she added.

Fawn Slade, who like Hamilton is a nurse and union activist, urged support for the Build Back Better’s comprehensive plan to lower drug prices through Medicare negotiation, expand Medicare coverage to include full dental, vision, and hearing benefits, provide paid family and medical leave, and lower the Medicare eligibility age to 60. She explained, “This bill will bring the transformational changes that women, working families, and our communities need.”

Arizona Jobs with Justice leader Steve Valencia expressed support for the common struggle working people share in the fight to Build Back Better. “I’m proud of the nurses at two Tucson hospitals who won a contract during the pandemic period and are now providing leadership to the labor movement and community,” Valencia said.

C.J. Boyd, campaign manager for Tucson Fight for $15, offered solidarity and thanked the nurses for their support, as well. A $15-an-hour minimum wage voter’s initiative for Tucson will be on the November 2021 city election ballot.

Last to speak was Mike Oles, National Field Director for Our Revolution, who happened to be in Arizona on a national tour pushing the PRO Act. “We did our job electing a Democratic Congress, and now her office is empty, and she’s lying to the people,” he said, pointing out that Sinema is the only Democrat in Congress not supporting the PRO Act. Instead, she supports corporations.

In informal discussion after the rally, the question was raised as to who might be a good candidate to challenge Sinema when she’s up for election in 2024. This has become a regular subject of discussion among progressive Arizonans. Every name suggested has another election hurdle ahead before 2024, so it’s a bit early. The only agreement so far is that the people of the state need someone who’s not in the pocket of corporate interests.


Joe Bernick
Joe Bernick

Joe Bernick is the Director of Salt of the Earth Labor College, Tucson, Arizona.