Congratulations Nurses and Friends of Georgia’s Children,
Thanks to our combined efforts and money from the stimulus package, school nurses are included in the 2009 supplemental budget. (However things are still up in the air for the 2010 budget, so we need to keep fighting.)
This session’s effort on behalf of nurses has created a last minute change in key Republican talking points. This change is a good indication that our efforts had an impact. I am urging you to continue to make your voices heard so that the fight will not have to be as intense next year.
Here is a short synopsis of the sea change we were able to create with your help:
At the beginning of the 2009 session, the Republican Leadership’s strategy was to go after nurses’ jobs and children’s healthcare with a vengeance. In a group setting at the capitol when asked, “How can you take nurses away from our school kids?” the talking points delivered by a key Republican leader to the group was verbatim as follows: ”You know, these kids are just soft. These kids need to just toughen up. They used to take kids out west on wagon trains and they did fine… Today’s kids will just have to toughen up. We just need to focus this money somewhere else.”
As you know nurses spend untold hours becoming qualified to administer health care services. Often they have given up higher paying jobs to help take care of our state’s schoolchildren. School Nurses are vital to our state’s future and our Republican Leadership was ready to toss them aside.
Thanks to your efforts in voicing your concern and by our Democratic House Caucus keeping this issue in the foreground, a few key Republicans in Leadership are starting to publicly change their tune. This was a great indicator that we would win the battle. Some key Republicans even posted pro nurses in schools videos on their websites this week when they realized the nurses would be added back into the budget- just as if they have been for nurses all along. We welcome each and every one of them on board. Nurses must stay in public schools, and united, our voices are making a difference. Now that they have come forward we must make sure they do not revert to their original views next year. To insure this I ask you to stay engaged in the process.
Without a majority of votes in the House and Senate our job is to hold that majority party accountable. Our strongest allies in doing this are the voices of fellow Georgians who understand the damaging effects across the board cuts have on healthcare and education. As you know, even when times were good and Georgia had surplus money in the budget, our Republican State Leadership cut 1.6 billion from public education and as much as they could from Public Health. These short sighted efforts have and will continue to greatly damage Georgia’s ability to bounce back from this recession. A healthy and well educated public is key to our economic recovery.
Once again, thank you for your efforts. Your voices have helped us to hold the Republican Leadership’s feet to the fire. With this year’s supplemental budget we have started to win the fight. I ask you to stay engaged and continue your efforts. With a school nurse’s care, more of Georgia’s children can stay in the classroom, more parents can stay at their jobs and more teachers can spend their time teaching. By working together we can secure a more healthy future for Georgia.