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Health Reform Results Spur Candidacy Former Va Nurse, Instructor Judy Personett Wants House Job

A former Veterans Affairs nurse and health-care instructor will announce her campaign for the Legislature today.

Judy Personett will run as a Democrat for the state House of Representatives seat currently held by Republican Jean Silver.

One of the driving forces in her decision, she said, was the Legislature’s reversal on the state’s comprehensive health care reform during the last session.

“Health care reform in the state was gutted,” said the Nine Mile Falls resident. “It has to be corrected.”

Personett, who teaches and writes about health-care management issues, said hospitals need to reconsider the concept of charitable care to offer services to the “working poor” - those who make enough money at their jobs to be off welfare, but don’t receive such benefits as medical insurance.

The state, she said, should offer basic health care to all children whose parents do not have private insurance.

Personett doesn’t have cost estimates for such a program, but said she isn’t advocating the state spend more money overall on health care.

“We are already spending enormous amounts of money in taxes. I think we can manage the money better and be more prudent,” she said.

On welfare reform, Personett said businesses should be given tax incentives to hire people who have been on welfare, or the state should consider paying part of the wages of a newly hired welfare recipient. But she opposes time limits for welfare benefits.

One incentive to getting off welfare would be raising the minimum wage, she added.

Personett, 54, was a VA nurse for 22 years and holds a doctorate in education. She taught nursing leadership at Gonzaga University and the Intercollegiate Center for Nursing Education. She is the mother of three adult children and has lived in Spokane since 1981.

Silver, a 14-year House veteran, has not yet announced whether she will seek re-election.

, DataTimes