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Posted on Thu, Mar 1, 2012 : 12:21 p.m.

Mark Bernstein wins endorsement of Michigan Nurses Association in bid for U-M Board of Regents

By Ryan J. Stanton

The Michigan Nurses Association, representing 4,000 registered nurses at the University of Michigan Health System, has endorsed Mark Bernstein in his bid for U-M regent.

"Mark Bernstein is the best kind of leader — someone who speaks up for what's right but also listens," Katie Oppenheim, chairwoman of the U-M Professional Nurse Council, said in a statement.


Mark Bernstein

"He understands how important the U-M Health System is to our community and he is committed to making sure that our nurses can deliver the world-class care that our patients and community deserve," Oppenheim added.

Bernstein, an attorney and the longest-serving member of the Michigan Civil Rights Commission, earned three degrees from U-M, including a bachelor's degree, law degree and master of business administration.

He is president of the Sam Bernstein Law Firm, a leading plaintiff's trial firm based in Michigan.

"Mark Bernstein is the best choice for U of M Regent because he is passionate about priorities that matter to working people," John Karebian, executive director of the Michigan Nurses Association, said in a statement. "He shares the values of our Main Street Contract for the American People, including jobs at living wages, access to health care and quality education for all. Mark will advocate for Michigan's workers and families as a member of the Board of Regents and make sure their voices aren’t drowned out by CEOs and corporations."

Sixteen-year U-M Board of Regents veterans S. Martin Taylor, D-Grosse Pointe Farms, and Olivia Maynard, D- Goodrich, will not be seeking re-election in November.

That means two spots on U-M's eight-seat governing board and decision-making body are up for grabs.

Taylor, a retired DTE Energy executive, is endorsing fellow Grosse Pointe Democrat Shauna Diggs, a dermatologist, and Maynard, current Michigan Prospect president, was endorsing former Michigan Lt. Gov. John Cherry, but Cherry announced he's dropping his bid.

Other contenders, in addition to Bernstein, include Republicans Ronald Weiser, founder of McKinley Real Estate Management; Rob Steele, a physician and unsuccessful 2010 congressional candidate; and Dan Horning, a former regent who served from 1994 to 2002.

Bernstein, a Democrat, has been actively campaigning via Twitter and Facebook under the handle "MGoBernstein."

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.



Sun, Jul 8, 2012 : 11:36 p.m.

Does the Nurses association, who endorsed him, have a little protection now against their particular hospital being sued? Is that why they endorsed him? again, just a question. Gotta ask questions


Sun, Jul 8, 2012 : 11:32 p.m.

Doesn't his firm sue hospitals? Or maybe I'm wrong. Just asking...


Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 3:08 p.m.

I don't care what his politics are. If I keep seeing his family advertising during Detroit Tiger games, then I will NOT be voting for him.

James Socrates

Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 12:01 p.m.

I truly hope that Mr. Bernstein is not elected to the Board. Not withstanding conflicts of interest, I personally have no respect for individuals who use the law as a tool to enrich themselves on the platform of "helping the little guy." Its individuals like Mr. Bernstein who have crippled our legal system while filling their pockets. 50% 60% 80% of multimillion dollar settlements? It seems like a rather intriguing incentive to sue people. When the shoes on the other foot however....


Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 2:51 a.m.

I am sure he is a great guy and all, but before we vote him in lets have him tell us how much money him and his family have made off of settlements in cases against hospitals. Not what he has gotten in verdicts, but what he has made by just filing his client's complaint. Be candid Mr. Bernstein, this is your oppotunity to let us know you are not just anothe liar, oops lawyer.


Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 1:28 a.m.

Bernstein was appointed to the commission that drastically raised salaries for state government officials a few years ago. He proposed the raises so he should fit in well with the UM Board of Regents who like to give senior administration officials extravagant raises.


Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 1:23 a.m.

NoGoBernstein. At at time when Regents need to be controlling costs how could anyone consider someone who has made his living filing law suits against health care organizations? He also sued UM a couple of years ago against the Stadium project and that wasted more university funds. The nurses should be ashamed. Sad. Never before did I think of nurses as being self-serving.


Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 2:25 a.m.

Actually, it was his brother who brought suit.


Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 12:58 a.m.

I believe Mr Bernstein would be a poor choice for UM regent. I am very surprised that the Michigan Nurses Association would endorse him. He is a very successful practitioner of a profession that has driven the cost of health care up. The basic philosophy is that some one always has to pay, that some one is always to blame and he will take 30% of it thank you. Health care is the biggest business in Ann Arbor. We should not put him in a position to further shape how it is delivered. If one could remove all the defensive costs that are accumulated each year because doctors and nurses are always looking over their shoulder for the "CALL-SAM" gang you could fund coverage for all the uninsured people in this country. Next time you are sick call your doctor not "Sam"or his kid


Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 12:57 a.m.

I'm not sure that an endorsement by the Nurses union is a positive given the campaign they just ran, in which they wanted to earn paid time off while they were not working on medical leaves of absence, wanted to have a better retirement plan than every other UM employee group, and wanted to pay less for their medical benefits than every other UM group - clearly a group thinking they were entitled to more than their UM peers.

Neal Elyakin

Thu, Mar 1, 2012 : 11:54 p.m.

Mark Bernstein will be an excellent choice for the Univeristy of Michigan Regents. He has deep ties to the university, to the area, to civil rights, and to human rights. He is devoted to life long learning, and to improving the world. I believe he will bring many positive attributes to the Regents and to the University.


Thu, Mar 1, 2012 : 10:41 p.m.

I see that Mr. Bernstein has a history of membership with the Michigan Civil Rights Commission. How does he view alleged Israeli human rights violations by the Israel Defense Forces? What would his position be on university divestment from holdings relating to corporations transacting business with the State of Israel relative to supplying of military hardware? The Michigan Student Senate at U-M Dearborn has repreatedly passed resolutions urging the Board of Regents to adopt such a policy of divestment but the regents have not passed any position toward divestment. Check out the Scholars for Peace in the Middle East website at <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> - that pro-Israel organization, which has a significant presence at the University of Michigan, has cited the Boycott Divestment Sanctions movement as a potential source of adverse impact upon Israeli interests if the movement gains popular support in the U.S. Voters should endorse and support candidates for the Board of Regents who express support for BDS movement goals.


Thu, Mar 1, 2012 : 11:54 p.m.

He's running for the Board of Regents, UM. Folks rightfully criticize the Ann Arbor City Council when it espouses its view on the Arizona immigration legislation, the plight of Chinese workers in Apple factories, etc. Why should a UM Board of Regents candidate have anything to say on this, except that he may be Jewish, he may experience the hostile pickets in front of an Ann Arbor temple.


Thu, Mar 1, 2012 : 9:20 p.m.

I don't trust ambulance chasers. They contribute heartily to America's inability to compete in the world.


Thu, Mar 1, 2012 : 8:42 p.m.

Why hasn't the Democrat controlled Board of Regents put an end to discrimination against veterans with regard to financial aid at UM? Why hasn't Mr. Bernstein called for an end to this discrimination? If a veteran saves part of his pay in an education saving account while he is fighting for our country, the Congress says that savings account cannot be used against him with regard to federal financial aid but the University of Michigan says that he or she has to spend every dime in their savings account before they are eligible for institutional financial aid. I think our veterans deserve better than that. Visit <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> for more ideas on better governance by the Board of Regents.


Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 2:50 p.m.

Thank you, I expect to be supporting him then at the GOP State Convention.


Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 1:24 a.m.

@Roadman- He is a candidate for the Republican nomination


Thu, Mar 1, 2012 : 10:43 p.m.

What political party affiliation is he? Kind of hard to get elected if he is not on the Democrat or Republican ticket.

Mike D.

Thu, Mar 1, 2012 : 8:31 p.m.

Mark is a tireless advocate of human rights and a successful leader. The fact that an organization of health professionals endorses him, despite his being in a profession generally referred to as ambulance chasing, should tell you something about his character.


Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 2:22 a.m.

MIke D How many times do you hear of nurses being sued? When the doctors issue their vote in his favor, then I'll take notice.


Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 1:02 a.m.

You are correct being an ambulance chaser does say loads about his character and it does not endorse him to make decisions effecting how health care is delivered

John of Saline

Thu, Mar 1, 2012 : 10:49 p.m.

The union endorsed him. Not a surprise.

John of Saline

Thu, Mar 1, 2012 : 8:08 p.m.

Huge potential conflict of interest, as doubtless his firm sues U of M affiliated doctors and health facilities.


Thu, Mar 1, 2012 : 10:46 p.m.

A nother conflict of interest would be if his firm has clients treated in the University of Michigan Health System and those doctors are needed to provide expert witness testimony in an auto accident case.


Thu, Mar 1, 2012 : 7:09 p.m.

good idea to have him on the board. maybe he will give michigan a discount on &quot;1-800-call sam&quot;


Thu, Mar 1, 2012 : 6:45 p.m.

My understanding is Shauna Diggs is Martin Taylor's daughter-in-law. This seems to be relevant information in terms of his endorsement of her candidacy.

Tony Dearing

Thu, Mar 1, 2012 : 7:47 p.m.

Thank you for pointing that out. When I first went to that link, I was able to access the story even though I am not a subscriber, but now I cannot, so I removed the link. It was a Crain's Business Detroit article with information that Taylor is the step-father of Diggs' husband.


Thu, Mar 1, 2012 : 7:31 p.m.

@Tony Dearing: Your link returns the following: &quot;The content you requested is only available to subscribers.&quot;

Tony Dearing

Thu, Mar 1, 2012 : 6:51 p.m.

That is correct, and we will point that out in future stories.


Thu, Mar 1, 2012 : 6:35 p.m.

A twist on the punchline of that old joke comes to mind; the wise old bull says &quot;how bout we just sit down and let all the ambulances come to us instead.&quot;


Thu, Mar 1, 2012 : 6:13 p.m.

He would be a good regent. Folks at UM would know who to call if there's anything wrong going on at the University: 1-800-CALLSAM.