Saturday, July 23, 2016

Report from the AFT Minneapolis Convention

I spent this week in Minneapolis at the AFT Convention the AFT Connecticut delegation.  Seven productive, enjoyable, and tiring days.
This was my first trip to Minneapolis and St Paul, both great cities. Many of the buildings have over the street walkways that connect them and that was appreciated with the very warm weather. We could walk from our hotel to the convention hall three blocks away without going outside.  I imagine they come in real handy in the winter.

There were lots of great places to eat or have a drink and relax with friends in the area and we also took a short ride to St Paul to check out a couple of places that were recommended to us. Some of the Connecticut delegation hopped the train and went out to the Mall of America, which they said was amazing. I wish I could have had even more time to spend with our members.  It was also great to see friends from all across the country.

We were well represented on the convention floor, with almost 100 delegates. Roger Woods won the Healthcare Everyday Hero award for his work at Danbury Hospital and across the country on Ebola and other infectious disease controls. Roger is known as the “nurse whisperer, because he uses hypnosis technics in his work to calm patients. He used it in his acceptance speech, speaking softly, and having everyone turn to their neighbor, touch them lightly on the shoulder, and tell them they were successful. It was pretty cool. 
Our delegates rose to speak on resolutions, including Lisa D’Abrosca and Harry Rodriguez, who are presidents of the L+M RN’s and Healthcare Workers, respectfully. Both rose to speak on the resolution for better controls on hospital mergers. Harry is an AFT CT VP and Lisa an AFT CT Divisional VP.
Hillary Clinton was inspirational in her speech as were Randi Weingarten, Mary Cathryn Ricker and Loretta Johnson, and many others. President Weingarten is a good chairperson, finding a way to efficiently attend to the business of the convention, while allowing those less familiar with Roberts Rules to participate while not feeling embarrassed.  She listened with grace and patience to the few who wished to speak against her.

She and her entire Progressive Caucus slate were elected with 98% of the vote, which brings me to my most exciting news coming out of Minneapolis, the election of AFT CT President Jan Hochadel as an AFT Vice President! 
She joins the AFT Executive Council, the governing body of the international. 
It is recognition by the delegates of her incredible leadership. 
Many talk the talk, some walk the walk, Jan not only walks the walk; she brings others along with her. 
AFT CT is lucky to have her and now so too is AFT
I also had an opportunity to practice my nursing skills, assisting in a couple of medical emergencies, including a trip to the local hospital.  Luckily, both patients recovered nicely.

Always lots of work to do after a convention and while my fellow officers will be back hard at work in Connecticut, I'm off to Philadelphia for the Democratic Convention where I will have the honor to vote for the next President of the United States on behalf of the democrats of Eastern Connecticut’s Second Congressional District.

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