Pennsylvania’s largest healthcare union endorses public defender Lisa Middleman for District Attorney, citing her commitment to racial justice and reforming Allegheny county’s criminal justice system
SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania announced their endorsement of public defender, Lisa Middleman, for Allegheny County District Attorney. The endorsement from Pennsylvania’s largest and fastest-growing union of healthcare workers comes as Middleman’s campaign continues to gain traction ahead of the November 5 election. Middleman, an independent challenging a 21 year incumbent, is running to bring integrity and fairness to our criminal justice system. Middleman is committed to restorative practices that help keep young people, addicted people, and poor people out of jail. She also intends to bring greater competence to investigation and prosecution so that dangerous criminals who belong in jail are convicted. Both are necessary to promote the health and well-being of working people and their communities.
“We are all in to elect Lisa Middleman for District Attorney because all people—black, white and brown—deserve justice,” says Matt Yarnell, President of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania. “Lisa’s vision for a more just and humane system—one that prioritizes rehabilitation over conviction rates—will better serve communities that have been left behind, as well as victims of crime and their families. We know Lisa Middleman is the best choice for District Attorney to serve all people of Allegheny County.”
SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, which represents 45,000 working people throughout the state, continues to be a leader in demanding progressive policies that center racial justice. The union and its members view advocating for their communities as a vital part of their work as healthcare professionals. This includes electing public officials who share their values. Middleman, a strong supporter of labor, organized her own union through the Steelworkers and is currently the grievance officer. In addition to ending over-policing in communities of color, Middleman plans to advocate in Harrisburg to eliminate laws that have a discriminatory effect on black and brown communities.
“People of color need a change in the criminal justice system,” says Artinese Malachi, LPN at Charles Morris Nursing & Rehabilitation Center. “That change is here: Lisa Middleman. I believe in her because she has our community’s best interest at heart. We deserve better out of our District Attorney’s office, but only we can make that happen by knocking on doors, talking to our neighbors, and getting out to vote for Lisa on November 5.”
Middleman’s campaign has seen a groundswell of progressive, grassroots support throughout Allegheny county, including endorsements from State Reps. Summer Lee and Sara Innamorato, Democracy for America, and One Pennsylvania. Her goals include creating diversion programs to keep people out of the legal system when social services, mental healthcare, housing, and employment support are more appropriate. She also promises automatic expungement of charges upon completion of diversion programs, removing a common barrier to re-entry, reducing recidivism, and helping the local economy and workforce throughout the county.
“As a Steelworker, I’m proud to have the endorsement of our union ally,” says Middleman. “With the support of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, we will reform the District Attorney’s office so that it operates in the best interest of our region’s working families.”