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“I back Jack,” says Nicholas

PHILADELPHIA (Dec. 4, 2009) – The President of District 1199c of the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees, AFSCME, AFL-CIO, today announced his endorsement of Auditor General Jack Wagner for Governor.

“I back Jack because he’s been a great friend to organized labor who shares our commitment to a better life for working families,” said Henry Nicholas. “He’s also been a great friend to southeastern Pennsylvania for years, and he’ll be a Governor we can all count on.”

District 1199c represents over 13,000 workers in all fields in the major health care institutions in Philadelphia. In addition to serving as President of District 1199c, Nicholas serves as President of the NUHHCE.

Wagner said that he was honored by the early endorsement and excited about the momentum that his campaign was gaining. “I look forward to working with Henry and other labor and health care leaders on the important issues facing Pennsylvania in the months and years ahead.”

In making the endorsement, Nicholas emphasized Wagner’s own union roots. After graduating from high school, Wagner was employed for five years at Duquesne Light, where he was a member of what is now Local 29 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in Pittsburgh. He worked as a meter reader, a draftsman, and, finally, a payroll clerk. Earlier this year, Local 29 re-instated Wagner as an honorary member in recognition of his work as Auditor General to protect the rights of the men and women of organized labor. As Auditor General, Wagner has uncovered violations of the prevailing wage, unemployment, and workers’ compensation laws, as well as violations of the fundamental right to form and join a union.

Wagner has worked for years to improve the quality of care in health care facilities, most recently through his support for the Pennsylvania Culture Change Coalition, which seeks to shift the focus of nursing home care from the facility to the patient. He was also a strong supporter of the ban on mandatory overtime for nursing and other health care employees and was pleased to see the ban finally passed into law last year. In addition, Wagner’s audits have identified hundreds of millions of dollars that could be saved in the Medicaid program, without reducing benefits for eligible recipients.

As Governor, Wagner’s top priorities for Pennsylvania will include: providing a HOPE Scholarship Program to help families afford the cost of higher education, maintaining vital government services without raising taxes, maximizing the state’s new Marcellus Shale energy resources in an environmentally responsible way, creating high quality jobs to grow our economy, and providing access to affordable, quality health care for Pennsylvania families.

Wagner, twice elected with bipartisan support as the state’s independent fiscal watchdog, received record-breaking vote totals in his re-election in 2008. Adding more supporters and endorsements every week to his campaign for Governor, the list now includes:

· Dennis Balbac, District Leader for the Lebanon County Democratic Committee’s District 4; member of PennAg Democrats; and, like Wagner, a Vietnam veteran

· Lu Inzana, Chair of the Jefferson County Democratic Committee

· Chris Katella, President of the Clarion University Young Democrats and Chair of Students for Wagner

· Monica Kline, a leader of Lebanon County Democratic Committee’s District 4 and daughter of the late Lt. Gov. Ernie Kline.

· Bill Miller, Chair of the Clarion County Democratic Committee

· Tim Nieman, leader of the Lebanon County Democratic Committee’s District 4

· Chris Tarsa, Chair of the Lebanon County Democratic Committee

Jack Wagner is a decorated Vietnam War combat veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, former member and president of the Pittsburgh City Council, and former state senator representing Allegheny County. Between the time of his military service and his service as an elected public official, Wagner worked his way through college on the GI Bill and as a paramedic, followed by ten years working as a Certified Safety Professional helping to ensure that businesses provide safe work environments for their employees. He was chosen by Pennsylvania families and taxpayers to serve as Pennsylvania’s 50th elected Auditor General in 2004, and was re-elected in 2008 with 3.3 million votes and 59% of the vote.

More information about Jack Wagner, his record of reform, and his campaign for Governor can be found at




Director of Policy & Communications

Jack Wagner for Governor

Ph: 717-695-9940

Fax: 717-695-9941

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