NASW endorses Obama

Barack Obama signs the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010President Barack Obama signs the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 in a ceremony at Northern Virginia Community College in Alexandria on March 30, 2010. NASW cites the president’s passage of the health care act as one of the reasons it is endorsing Obama for re-election this fall. (AP file photo)

NASW’s Political Action Committee is endorsing the re-election of President Barack Obama, citing that his actions in office reflect key elements of the association’s legislative and policy agenda.

“NASW is pleased to endorse Barack Obama for president once again,” said NASW Executive Director Elizabeth J. Clark. “We applaud his efforts on behalf of our nation’s middle class as well as the most vulnerable among us. We’ve developed an excellent working relationship with the administration and look forward to continuing our support for initiatives like Joining Forces, the White House Council on Women and Girls, and the Middle Class Task Force.”

The national NASW board of directors unanimously approved the endorsement.

In supporting its decision, the board cited the president’s major accomplishments since taking office in 2009. They include:

  • Passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which will extend health care coverage to 32 million Americans.
  • Appointing two women to the U.S. Supreme Court, including the first Hispanic American to serve on the bench.
  • Passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act, which eliminates procedural blocks to women receiving equal pay for equal work.
  • Establishing the Council on Women and Girls and supporting initiatives aimed at improving women’s health.
  • Signing the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” into law, thus eliminating discrimination based on sexual identity in the Armed Services.
  • Signing the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act into law, allowing the Department of Justice to prosecute crimes motivated by a person’s actual or perceived gender, gender identity, sexual orientation or disability.

In addition to the presidential election, all 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and 33 seats in the U.S. Senate are up for election this year and will be decided on Nov. 6.

NASW’s PACE is the political action arm of the association. The national PACE Board of Trustees has interviewed, and will continue to interview, congressional candidates to determine if their responses support NASW's legislative and policy goals, including the Social Work Reinvestment Initiative.

The NASW PACE web page will feature ongoing congressional endorsements leading up to Election Day.

Due to a clustered primary election cycle, most endorsements are expected to be determined between July and September, said Larry Betcher, chairman of PACE.

“We interview the candidates to discover where they stand on issues that match the association’s agenda and on issues that benefit the clients of social workers,” Betcher said. “We encourage our members to check back to the NASW PACE website routinely to keep track of our endorsements. Once those endorsements are posted, NASW PACE will provide links to candidate websites. This will allow members to have the opportunity to participate in supporting a candidate’s campaign efforts.”

NASW PACE will also use its online advocacy system to send notices of endorsements to NASW members in their respective jurisdictions.

Marriage equality

In May, President Obama announced his support for same-sex marriage. NASW issued the following statement in support of his announcement:

For the first time in the history of our country a sitting President has publicly announced his personal support for same-sex marriage. The announcement by President Obama, coming off the heels of the disappointing North Carolina vote to ban same-sex marriages through a constitutional amendment, speaks volumes for the marriage equality movement and ignites hope in the LGBT community.

NASW has long held the position that persons of same gender sexual orientation should be afforded all the same rights as persons of other-gender orientation. The Association has worked in a variety of capacities to advance marriage equality including several amicus briefs filed by the Legal Defense Fund.