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Courtney to Host Frontline Health Care Worker Sherri Dayton as Guest for President Joe Biden’s Virtual State of the Union Address

April 27, 2021
Press Release
Dayton is a Registered Nurse at Backus Hospital in Norwich, and President of the Backus Federation of Nurses

NORWICH, CT—Today, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) announced that he will host Sherri Dayton, RN, as his guest of honor for President Joe Biden’s first State of the Union address on Wednesday, April 28th. Ms. Dayton has worked as a health care professional for 27 years. She has served eastern Connecticut communities on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic as a Registered Nurse at Backus Hospital in Norwich, and has helped support her fellow colleagues and health care professionals as President of the Backus Federation of Nurses.

“I want to say thank you to Sherri Dayton for giving me the opportunity to host her for tomorrow’s night’s State of the Union address. No one has worked harder to support our communities through the last fourteen months than our frontline health care workers, and Sherri and her colleagues at Backus Hospital aren’t letting up—she’ll be working with patients tomorrow all the way up until kick-off time, and we’re just grateful for this small chance to say ‘thank you’,” said Congressman Courtney. “As if serving our local communities during the pandemic wasn’t enough, Sherri is also a profoundly strong advocate for taking action to protect her fellow nurses against rising rates of workplace violence. She’s been a driving force behind this year’s bipartisan passage of our bill to protect health care and social service workers against on-the-job violence, and I look forward to hosting her for tomorrow night’s address while we keep working together to turn our bipartisan bill into law this Congress.”

“Our entire team of nurses and health care professionals represented by AFT Connecticut have worked hard to support our patients and each other since the pandemic began. It’s not over yet, we’re still battling each day to keep the infection rate down, but I’m proud every day of the talent and determination our professionals bring to Emergency Room on behalf of our communities,” said Sherri Dayton, RN, President of the Backus Federation of Nurses. “The American Rescue Plan that President Biden signed into law is giving a real boost to our team and to all of our region, especially when it comes to expanding access to vaccines and protecting public health. But this year, we’re hoping President Biden signs another bill into law, too—one that will help protect our team of nurses and so many others from workplace violence while we’re working to protect our patients. Congressman Courtney has been by our side pushing this effort forward for years. His Workplace Violence Prevention bill passed the House this year with support from Republicans and Democrats, and with the strong support of nurses here in Connecticut. Thank you to Congressman Courtney for his work to support our nurses and health care workers during and long before COVID-19, and for this chance to join him to watch President Biden’s first State of the Union address tomorrow evening.”

In addition to supporting eastern Connecticut and her fellow health care professionals throughout COVID-19, Ms. Dayton is also a strong advocate in pressing for action to protect nurses, doctors, EMTs, and others from the rising rates of on-the-job violence taking place against them. Earlier this month, she joined Rep. Courtney, Rep. Ro Khanna (CA-17), Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-MN), and others at a press conference to highlight the House’s bipartisan passage of Courtney’s H.R. 1195, the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act. Dayton provided powerful testimony on the reality of on-the-job assaults that she and her colleagues across the country face on an everyday basis, and stated that she herself has been spat on, bitten, kicked, and verbally threatened by patients. “Workplace violence currently effects about ninety-five percent of ER professionals I work with. That is a statistic for you guys, but for us, my co-workers, that is a daily reality. Workplace violence is an everyday danger. Every day we go to work we have to deal with that fear, and it’s increasing in frequency. The pandemic has made that a bigger issue for us, unfortunately,” said Dayton during this month’s press conference. Click here to watch her full remarks.