Healthcare workers ecstatic to support Smith who serves as the Union’s Legislative Director, will fight to protect voting rights and empower all working families in Philly
For Immediate Release: January 21, 2023
Contact: Scott Vogel, email@example.com
(Philadelphia, PA) – SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania endorsed Jarrett Smith, the union’s very own Legislative Director today at his campaign launch for Philadelphia City Commissioner.
Wendell Royster, Vice-President of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania and the President of AFRAM (African-American Caucus) spoke at the press conference on behalf of the Union and issued the following statement in support of Smith’s candidacy.
“We are proud and excited to endorse our union brother, Jarrett Smith, for Philadelphia City Commissioner. Jarrett has fought hard to make sure that essential healthcare workers’ voices are heard in the halls of power in Philly and Harrisburg. He is an incredible organizer, advocate, and tenacious leader in our community to make sure healthcare workers, and all working families, have a seat at the table.
“Jarrett represents the very best of our Union, and is exactly the right person to be elected as our City Commissioner. He is a man of exceptional integrity, with a deep and abiding passion for working people, and a work ethic that is unstoppable,” said Royster.
Following Wendell Royster’s endorsement, Jarrett Smith spoke passionately about where he comes from and why he’s running for City Commissioner. “We often tell people in politics that in order to run for office you have to sacrifice showing up as your true self, minimizing your queerness, your blackness, your background, and so many other parts of your identity. But that’s not who I am. You are all here because you know that whenever I see injustice, I have fought it authentically as myself. I have fought it because, in my identities as a queer and biracial individual, I personally know exactly what is at stake if we stay silent.”
Lolita Owens, a home care worker for over 15 years in Philadelphia spoke about how she cares for a woman with Multiple Sclerosis and Type 2 Diabetes who cannot bathe or feed herself. “I love my job and know it is important work. But I still don’t make enough to survive on my own. It is leaders like Jarrett that are tirelessly fighting for essential home care workers like me and understands the contributions we make to our communities. Jarrett will not stop fighting for us until we earn a true living wage, respect on the job, and make sure our voting rights are protected. I’m proud to do whatever it takes to see him elected!”
Jarrett Smith’s leadership and success as the Legislative Director of SEIU Healthcare PA is remarkable. Smith’s hard work, strategic vision, and political skill produced historic victories such as:
- Securing a $425 million investment for PA’s long-term care system for residents and workers;
- Enacting permanent higher nursing home funding and accountability on the nursing home industry to improve staffing;
- Passing Change of Ownership (CHOW) legislation to protect workers when health care companies sell their properties or investments;
- Working tirelessly to build public support and will for paid sick leave legislation and the Patient Safety Act to hold powerful corporate health systems and hospitals accountable for short-staffing.
Smith’s leadership and knowledge was instrumental in electing healthcare champions and #UnionsForAll candidates all across PA in the last 2022 election cycle.
One of Smith’s key issues is expanding voting rights and stopping any attempt to disenfranchise voters, especially LGBTQ+ people and communities of color.
“For too long, Philadelphians have been told that elections are just run the way they are and that we need to accept the status quo. But when voting is this hard and our voter turnout is averaging less than twenty percent, it’s clear that something has to change. We can’t rely on a two party system running our elections when one party, the Republican party, is systematically disenfranchising our communities and allowing our voices to be silenced. That’s why I’m running for office with the Working Families Party to expand voting rights and make sure our voices are heard,” said Smith.
SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania is the state’s largest and fastest-growing union of nurses and healthcare workers, uniting tens of thousands of professional and technical employees, direct care workers, and service employees in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, home- and community-based services, and state facilities across the Commonwealth. SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania members are committed to improving the lives of health care workers and ensuring quality care and healthy communities for all Pennsylvanians.