ANA Advocacy Team Prepares for a New Administration and a New Congress


The ballots have been cast and we are now waiting for the electoral college to come together to cast their votes for the next President of the United States. The projected winner is Joe Biden and his transition team is already working to prepare for the start of his presidency, and Congress is currently electing their leadership for the 117th session.

Just as the President-Elect and Congress are preparing for 2021 – so is ANA’s Policy and Government Affairs team. ANA seeks to maintain a position as a leader on nursing issues with both the new Administration and Congress – and advocacy has already started. Two letters have been sent to the Biden transition team – one capturing ANA’s priorities and the other related to placing a registered nurse on the Biden COVID-19 Task Force.

We want you to know that the Policy and Government Affairs team has developed a comprehensive “100 Day Advocacy Plan” which will encompass all levels of advocacy – Administration, legislative, regulatory, grassroots and political. The plan is a coordinated approach to ensure that ANA’s policies and priorities are shared at all levels of the federal government.

We remain committed to finding opportunities for nurses to be at the table; –We will resume our outreach with career policy makers at federal agencies and seek to establish meaningful relationships with the newly appointed leaders to support a swift and seamless transition between administrations.

Last year ANA achieved several legislative victories and thanks to many of you we increased our advocacy network by over 160%. The Policy and Government Affairs team will continue this level of excellence in the next Congress, working closely with returning members as well as establishing relationships with newly elected freshman. Our team will continue to seek opportunities for nurses to testify before Congress and make your voices heard. Please know, that early on we will be asking our nurse advocates to reach out to their newly elected Congressional Members not only to congratulate them, but to offer to be a resource on health care issues.

Our Administration has changed – but our work continues. Much more needs to be done to ensure that our frontline providers have access to PPE and other resources as they continue to combat COVID-19. ANA is working with our colleagues to ensure APRNs can work to their full scope. As telehealth continues to grow as a health care delivery model – ANA will be there to support those efforts. That’s just a few of the issues we are working on!

ANA is prepared with a solid plan to support the interests of the 4.2 million registered nurses. However, we can’t do this alone. We need nurses and nurse advocates to actively engage in the process. Please sign up for alerts at, visit our advocacy page, and read our Capitol Beat blog for all the latest activities of ANA’s Policy and GOVA Department.

A Fresh Look and New Feature on ANA’s Advocacy Landing Page


With all that is going on in our everyday lives, sometimes it is nice to have something that can be summarized as “one stop shopping.”

Many of you have visited ANA’s Advocacy page where you may have found it challenging to find what you were looking for or may not have realized all of the areas impacted by the Policy and Government Affairs team. You can now, more easily than ever, navigate to federal, state, and regulatory policy, the ANA-PAC, COVID-19 resources, and so much more. All of this information is provided with a fresh new and engaging look.

But the updates don’t stop there! In addition, we are very excited to have a new feature implemented: Latest News. This section will be used to give a quick snapshot of what is the newest and latest coming out of Washington. We will be posting information about regulations and policies coming out of agencies and keeping you up-to-date with what the House, Senate, and White House are working on.

We hope you find this useful as you stay informed with how ANA is working for you and what is happening in Washington that impacts your patients or your profession.

The page can be found here and we hope you continue to utilize the resources that are posted and we always welcome your feedback!

ANA’s Presidential Engagement Policy and what YOU can DO!!


Ginna Betts chaired the ANA Presidential Endorsement Taskforce and guest authors today’s Capitol Beat Blog to provide her perspective into ANA’s move to a Presidential Engagement process.

The 2020 U.S. Presidential election cycle is one that is generating strong opinions and even stronger feelings from every corner of the United States. The American Nurses Association (ANA) has not been exempted from the fervor as, notably, for the first election cycle since 1984, ANA chose not to endorse (based on a 2019 Membership Assembly (MA) decision) a presidential candidate. For those members who may not have been following ANA’s internal policy processes closely and for others who (like me) have always highly valued ANA’s political and policy leadership roles, let me catch you up on how the Association reached the decision in 2019 to not continue endorsing in presidential elections and then describe what ANA would like YOU, our politically active and passionate members, to do: ENGAGE.

Since the 1988 presidential election, the ANA Political Action Committee (PAC) and the ANA Board (BOD) have implemented a rigorous process to select then endorse a candidate for the president of the USA. Presidential endorsements were followed by ANA encouraging and facilitating its membership to participate in political events in support of the endorsed candidate. Making the candidate selection and then advocating for ANA’s choice has always been fraught with controversy— especially when ANA’s endorsed candidate did not win the election. Letters to the ANA President and BOD with threats to drop memberships seemed to lessen (but not totally) when ANA endorsed winning candidates (such as Clinton/Gore and Obama/Biden). The upside of the endorsement of winning candidates was that nurse leaders were named to key posts in the federal government; ANA increased its presence at the national policymaking table; and ANA’s policy agenda and professional principles were imbedded in US executive policy initiatives. That upside was certainly my own experience as ANA president 1992-1996!

However, the political climate in the Nation has changed enormously and has rapidly become more and more contentious and polarized. Political campaigns have become wildly expensive. All of these variables are difficult to manage in the context of a professional association of members who hold widely diverse political views and a PAC whose coffers are limited. Even as the 2016 PAC Board voted unanimously to recommend the endorsement of Secretary Hillary Clinton for president with her long history of support for ANA, nursing, and health care, there was angst within the PAC about whether or not endorsement was the best way forward for the Association. The PAC debated many complex questions and concerns about the impact of endorsement of any presidential candidate, then elevated the issues to ANA’s BOD and Membership Assembly (MA). The 2018 MA held a comprehensive Policy Dialogue that included a report on the Association’s history of endorsement and outlined the current political environment after which the endorsement issue was sent back to the ANA Board of Directors for development of a definitive proposal urging in-depth exploration of multiple factors.

In the Summer of 2018, Pam Cipriano, ANA’s then president, appointed an eleven member Task Force (TF) on ANA’s Presidential Endorsement policy and process and (knowing of my unwavering belief in and commitment to nursing, policy, and political action) asked me to chair. The TF was charged to study ANA’s Presidential Endorsement process, its implementation, and its impact over more than a two-decade period and to submit a report to the BOD with recommendations. The TF was comprised of a geographically diverse group of politically engaged nursing leaders holding varied personal and political perspectives, and we were charged to serve the interests of ANA and its entire membership utilizing our political and policy passion and savvy.

The TF studied numerous ANA political and policy materials developed over time; held robust discussions and debates; engaged in rich conversations with external consultants to seek a keen understanding of professional associations’ best practices in their political activities; and sought input from Constituent/State Nurses Associations and ANA members across the United States. From our expert consultants, we became aware of some very important facts that certainly weighed heavily in our deliberations and recommendations. Included among these: (1) the impact of the advent of vast amounts of unregulated money into U.S. politics post the Supreme Court Citizens United case; (2) current candidates are more likely to seek significant financial contributions than other kinds of support; (3) increasingly, candidates did not respond to ANA’s questionnaires or agree to interviews by the PAC; (4) all of our other peer non-unionized health professional associations do not endorse presidential candidates; (5) membership surveys indicated that ANA’s membership over time had become more evenly balanced between the two major political parties; and (6) ANA can take positions on policy and political issues without endorsing a particulate candidate.

As a TF, we sought a way to have ANA and nurses participate in the presidential election process that was both relevant and doable in today’s complex and ever-changing political environment. Thus, the TF considered the pros and cons of (1) continuing with the historic endorsement process; (2) modifying endorsement activities; and/or (3) proposing an alternate approach to presidential election activity. The TF chose the latter and brought our preliminary recommendations to the BOD in December 2018 and a final report in Spring 2019 for consideration, review, feedback, and action.

Our recommendation was that ANA move away from presidential endorsement and adopt a policy of strong ANA supported political engagement during each presidential election cycle. We very much wanted to encourage ANA’s membership and all 4.2 million nurses throughout the USA to VOTE and be supported to fully engage in political activism for their candidate of choice. We saw ANA assuming a vital leadership role in the political arena by equipping professional nurses with accurate and current information about the candidates’ relevant positions and statements; the political parties’ platforms; and importantly how each candidate compared to ANA and nursing’s principles, positions, and policies. Prior to the MA vote, the TF and ANA hosted a webinar reviewing the TF’s work followed by an onsite MA forum held prior to official membership action. The debate at the 2019 MA was robust, positive, and transparent. Elected MA representatives were focused on making an informed, future-focused decision that would position ANA to be successful with its entire advocacy agenda. By an 87% positive vote, the Presidential Engagement policy replaced the Presidential Endorsement policy. The policy then moved forward for implementation just as the 2020 election “season” begin to heat up.

Then… a perfect storm that stoked more anxiety, controversy, and angst. The first iteration of Presidential Engagement IMPLEMENTATION is occurring during a time of a global pandemic posing a significant threat to nurses and their families; a national reckoning with racism as a second national public health crisis; heightened hyperbolic political rhetoric and a presidential impeachment; and significant city and street protests/and violence. This unprecedented time in history that will call for a deliberate review of what worked, what did not work, and what the ANA Presidential Engagement policy should look like when we get back to what will be a “new normal.”

TODAY, I think we all agree that this year’s elections are among the most consequential in our lifetimes calling for every nurse to consider engaging in the political process. Just as we together are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote; the WHO Year of the Nurse and Midwife; and Florence Nightingale’s 200th birthday, we can also do so much together with other nurses to be politically engaged.

You may have seen that I, along with seven of my past president colleagues, have embraced ANA’s Presidential Engagement process to support the candidate we believe most aligns with our political views [LINK]. We made our choice by comparing ANA’s policies, principles, and values to the candidates’ past positions and actions.

The eight of us are working tirelessly to get our chosen candidate elected. We are working with the media. We are using social media. We are organizing nurse activists in the battleground states to work with their media partners, to participate in outreach work with other nurses, and to share nurses’ beliefs with their members of their communities. Please join us in engaging nurses to VOTE and to speak out about what nursing stands for and what nurses need. By doing so, ANA and the nursing profession will be stronger, more powerful, and more valued for years to come. With over 4.2 million nurses in the United States – our engagement can make an impact in this coming election. I encourage each of you to actively participate in the political process.

Thank you. I hope to see you on the campaign trail!

Virginia (Ginna) Trotter Betts, RN, MSN, JD, FAAN
ANA Past President 1992-1996
Task Force Chair on Presidential Endorsement Policy

ANA maintains neutrality in the presidential elections. The views expressed in this blog post do not necessarily reflect ANA’s.