Early voting for the Primary Election begins today, February 18! Members of the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) are ready to get out the vote and let their voices be heard this election season!

Many of you may have read our Voter Health Series through our Inside Line e-newsletter a couple of weeks ago. One of the key takeaways from that series is the significance of every single vote in the Primary.

Very few voters make it out during the Primary, but this is when your vote counts the most! Most political races in Texas are determined DURING THE PRIMARY ELECTION, not the November General Election!

It is vital that our members make time during their schedules in the next 10 days (during early voting February 18-28) to get to the polls. Remember, when you vote early, you do NOT have to vote in your precinct. You may vote at any location convenient for you within your county. Review early voting locations in your area here.

Some of you may be wondering why your vote matters so much. You may wonder what your motivation is. TRTA has several reasons to share, all of which ultimately impact your livelihood!

The #1 reason TRTA members need to vote in the Primary is because of the impending funding crisis with TRS-Care. This vital health insurance program is used by nearly 250,000 retirees and their dependents. Saving the program and improving its funding structure is a must! If nothing is done to address the shortfall, TRS-Care premiums could triple!

It is essential that we elect Senators and Representatives that support TRS-Care. In our previous Voter Health Series articles, we discussed several contested and open seats in the Primary election. A large number of our elected officials will be NEW or have less than two years of experience by the time the next legislative session begins in January 2015. This means YOUR Senator or Representative in 2015 may know very little about issues affecting retired school personnel in Texas!

It is important that our members make the effort to discuss TRS with all candidates for political office. If you have not yet decided who you plan to vote for in the Primary or have not discussed TRS with your candidate of choice, be sure to ask the following questions:

  • Which candidate supports a defined benefit plan for all current and future TRS retirees?
  • Which candidate supports providing reasonable, affordable healthcare for TRS retirees?
  • Which candidate has said they will work as your legislator to ensure that the TRS pension fund and TRS–Care health insurance program are preserved and improved?

If you do not know which candidate in your area is the best for TRS retirees and active school employees, contact your fellow TRTA members and ask who they may be voting for and why. We have a great network of retirees with much legislative experience. They are more than happy to share their thoughts on who deserves your vote. Ultimately, it is your decision. TRTA wants you to vote for the candidate you think will best represent your livelihood and then HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE!

Today’s action item for all TRTA members: SCHEDULE A DAY TO VOTE EARLY IN THE PRIMARY ELECTION. If you still need time to determine who you will vote for, make that time today! Contact your candidates’ offices and speak with a staff member about retirement issues. Find your candidates using the Texas Tribune Elections Bracket.

Thank you for being a member of TRTA! Remember, you are a valued member of our organization, and your vote in the Primary Election is also valuable! Use your power and vote! If you are not a member of TRTA and want more information about joining, contact us at 1.800.880.1650.