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Labor leader Hietamaki dies

Led Dems, MNA

Carolyn Hietamaki

MARQUETTE — The Marquette County Democratic Party has extended its “heartfelt sympathy and love” to the family of Carolyn Hietamaki, who passed away at her home in Gwinn on June 21.

Hietamaki, 66, was a registered nurse and a leader in the Michigan Nurses Association, chairwoman of the MCDP and secretary of the 906 Dems.

Hietamaki also was a leader in the labor community and a member of the Upper Peninsula Labor Hall of Fame.

State Rep. Sara Cambensy, D-Marquette, recently issued this statement:

“Carolyn was the No. 1 advocate for our Marquette and U.P. nurses and spent tireless hours fighting for fair contracts and the Safe Patient Care legislation. She was also the current chair of the Marquette County Dems.

“I was proud to march with her in Marquette and also in Lansing, where we stood on the steps of the Capitol with nurses from around Michigan to demand better patient/staff ratios, protection from mandatory overtime and fair wages. She will be missed by so many of us but never forgotten.”

The MCDP also issued a statement:

“Everything Carolyn did, she did with an unbridled love and passion.”

Hietamaki first became a licensed practical nurse and later became a registered nurse. She held numerous positions on the Michigan Nurses Association Board of Directors and served on national RN nursing boards, which led to her being involved in local and regional labor councils.

Hietamaki also was an inductee into the Michigan Nurses Association Hall of Fame.

On June 10, she organized a rally along Washington Street in Marquette to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Michigan becoming the third state to ratify the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote.

Hietamaki told The Mining Journal she didn’t want the day to pass by unnoticed, even if she had to stand at the rally by herself, “because having the right to vote gives you so much. You get to have a say in policies and changes out there and rights, which we didn’t have before.”

Christie Bleck can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is cbleck@miningjournal.net.