In Policy Practice for Social Workers in box 2.12, you will find a case study of a legislator from Indiana who is social worker. There are also social workers in the Texas legislature in the US Senate. Write a paragraph about Elliott Naishtat and Barbara Mikulski discussing their legislative priorities and explain why the priorities are evidence of their social work values.
When examining how legislators who have a background in social work construct their agendas, it becomes clear that legislative policy becomes influenced by one's vocation. The legislator with a background in social work never quite sheds their label of being a social worker. This can be seen in the legislative priorities of Elliot Naishtat and Barbara Mikulski.
Naishtat's background reflects how social work and public policy can converge. Naishtat began his exploration in such convergence as a VISTA volunteer in Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty. This singular fact alone reflects how Naishtat understands from both policy and social work perspectives the manner in which sociological reality impacts identity formation. His work in Texan community development is another example of how social work values has always been a part of Nashtat's public policy focus. The committees on which Naishtat serves are also reflective of a public policy focus. Serving on the Human Services Committee as well as the Committee on Aging as well as being the Vice Chair of the Committee of Public Health display how Naishtat has not lost sight on the idea of legislative priorities are formed through his emphasis on social work values. He has sponsored bills that bills that "increased protections for patients in psychiatric, substance abuse and rehabilitation facilities." These are all derivative from Naishtat's training in social work.
This same emphasis can be seen in the background of Mikulski from Maryland. Working as a social worker and community service organizer, she has brought this same emphasis into her legislative background. She has sponsored bills that have sought to "help low-income parents find child care for their children." Mikulski has also made sure to emphasize that her legislative priorities speak to the needs of returning veterans and economic equality, suggesting that employers treat workers with a sense of dignity and fairness: " [There is a need for legislation that] punishes employers for retaliating against workers who share wage information, puts the justification burden on employers as to why someone is paid less and allows workers to sue for punitive damages of wage discrimination." Both legislators feature a distinct emphasis on the rights of the individuals, the need to validate voices, and ensure that their work in government does not stray from the principles of social work that helped to form their public policy perspective.