Nurses endorse Vincent Orange; Vincent Gray picks up more support

Orange’s advocacy for nurses’ pet legislation won him their backing in mayoral race. (Amanda Voisard/The Washington Post)

A coda to Tuesday’s action on the Patient Protection Act, the D.C. Council bill that would set mandatory minimum nurse staffing levels in District hospitals: Two days after pushing the council to take action, Vincent B. Orange (D-At Large) won the endorsement of National Nurses United for the upcoming mayoral primary.

Orange has “demonstrated his support, leadership and commitment to the nurses of the District and to our patients,” said a statement from Sandy Falwell, a union vice president who works as a neonatal intensive care nurse at Children’s National Medical Center. “He has earned the respect of registered nurses across the city and we are proud to support him.”

Said Orange in a statement, “I am extremely pleased to stand and work with the men and women who dedicate their lives to taking care of mankind.”

The nurses also endorsed two other Democrats: Jim Graham for a fifth term representing Ward 1, and Charles Allen to fill the Ward 6 seat being vacated by Tommy Wells.

In other endorsement news:

• Mayor Vincent C. Gray on Wednesday won the endorsement of the Current newspapers, which are well distributed across a wide swath of Northwest Washington. (The editorial can be read in a large PDF file, on page 8.) The paper said Gray “had a weak start” and “had some management failures” but has “done well in managing the city” — praising, in particular, his handling of education reform and economic development. As for the ongoing federal investigation into his 2010 campaign: “While we think he should have been aware of the shadow campaign, we believe he was in the dark,” the paper wrote, adding that if prosecutors had enough evidence to indict him, they “would have done so by now.”

• Gray on Wednesday also received the backing of the American Federation of Government Employees District 14, which represents tens of thousands of federal and District workers. The district leader, Eric Bunn Sr., said Gray’s move to keep city workers on the job during last year’s federal shutdown and his move to repay workers for furlough days in 2011 were key factors in the endorsement. “I look forward to another four years of partnering with the Mayor,” Bunn said in a statement. AFGE joins another major city-employee union, AFSCME, is supporting Gray. The unions representing police, fire and teachers have yet to endorse mayoral candidates.

• Also on Wednesday, a day after the council voted to decriminalize marijuana, the activist group seeking to have voters endorse its outright legalization threw its mayoral support behind Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6), who shepherded the decriminalization bill through the council. Adam Eidinger, DCMJ’s leader, gave Wells credit for that effort and, more generally, for his “politically fearless advocacy for what he knows is right.” Said Eidinger: “Although the issue hasn’t come up before the council yet, we’re encouraged by Tommy’s personal support for outright legalization of marijuana.” The Board of Elections is currently considering whether DCMJ’s initiative proposal is legally suitable for the ballot.

Mike DeBonis covers Congress and national politics for The Washington Post. He previously covered D.C. politics and government from 2007 to 2015.

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Mike DeBonis · March 6, 2014