12 May 2016

Primary Runoff Elections Coming Soon!

Thousands of voters turned out for the Texas Primary Election on Super Tuesday. According to the Texas Tribune, “more than 4.2 million Texans turned out to vote in the Republican and Democratic primary presidential elections, about 30 percent of registered voters.” We know that many of our members and their fellow retirees were a part of this dedicated group of people!

Many elections in Texas, particularly for seats in the Texas Senate and House, are decided during the Primary Election and not during the November General Election. A complete list of results from the March primary election can be found here.

While many races now have narrowed down the list of candidates for the Republican and Democratic seats to one contender, there are several runoff elections that our members should keep an eye on.

Be sure to mark your calendars and make a plan to get out and vote! Even fewer voters participate in a runoff election than in a primary election! That means even one vote — your vote! — can change the outcome of an election.

The Primary Runoff Elections will be held on Tuesday, May 24, 2016. Early voting will begin on Monday, May 16, 2016 and continue through Friday, May 20. Details about mail-in ballots and voter registration can be found here.

While it is common for voters to skip the Primary Runoff Election, TRTA wants our members to know that YOUR VOTE MATTERS! If you live in an area where there will be a Primary Runoff, get early voting on your schedule NOW! Please make voting a top priority this month!

Runoff Elections to Watch

TRTA will be following several races closely as the runoffs draw near.

Texas Senate Primary Runoff Races

Senate District 1
Senator Kevin Eltife is retiring. Republican candidates facing each other in the primary runoff are: Bryan Hughes and David Simpson. There are no Democratic candidates vying for this seat.

Senate District 24
Senator Troy Fraser is retiring. Republican candidates facing each other in the primary runoff are: Dawn Buckingham and Susan King. Democratic candidate Virginia Leeder won the Democratic primary.

Texas House Primary Runoff Races

House District 5
Representative Bryan Hughes has stepped down to run for the Texas Senate. The following Republican candidates will face each other in the primary runoff election: Cole Hefner and Jay Misenheimer. There are no Democratic candidates vying for this seat.

House District 18
Representative John Otto is retiring. The following Republican candidates will face each other in the primary runoff election: Ernest Bailes and Keith Strahan. There are no Democratic candidates vying for this seat.

House District 54
Representative Jimmie Don Aycock is retiring. The following Republican candidates face each other in the primary runoff election: Austin Ruiz and Scott CosperSandra Blankenship won the Democratic primary.

House District 73
Representative Doug Miller faces challenger Kyle Biedermann in the Republican primary runoff. There are no Democratic candidates vying for this seat.

House District 128
Representative Wayne Smith faces challenger Briscoe Cain in the Republican primary runoff. There are no Democratic candidates vying for this seat.

Thank You

Thank you for being a member of TRTA! If you are not a member and are interested in joining, please contact our Membership Department at 1.800.880.1650.

Protecting your retirement benefits is one of TRTA’s top priorities, and your participation makes all the difference! Be sure to stay tuned to our other digital mediums to stay informed on all the latest news and updates. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

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14 Apr 2016

TRTA Hosts Successful 63rd Annual Convention

The Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) hosted its 63rd annual convention this week in Houston at the Westin Galleria. More than 1,000 members convened to enjoy fellowship, receive vital training from state counterparts and conduct the business of the association.

One of many highlights of the three-day event, Congressman Kevin Brady (R – The Woodlands) stopped by during the convention Opening Ceremonies to discuss his bill, H.R. 711, with attendees. Brady was greeted with the voices of 1,000 public education retirees singing happy birthday to him before he spoke about his years-long journey trying to repeal the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). In a recent news article, Brady states that he is “cautiously optimistic” that the bill will pass this year. To learn more about the WEP and HR 711, visit this page.

The Texas Retired Teachers Foundation (TRTF), the charitable arm of TRTA, made several important announcements during the convention, including the introduction of the Lehr-Pritchard Endowment Fund. The fund is being created to establish long-term earnings that will be dedicated for TRTF’s most recognizable program, “A Helping Hand.” The grant program provides emergency assistance for Texas public education retirees in critical need. To date, more than $83,000 has been given to 87 retirees.

Jamie Larson (left), Tim Lee (center) and Ronnie Jung (right)
discuss the value of the Lehr-Pritchard Endowment Fund.

Members donated more than $10,000 during the Foundation’s annual luncheon to the endowment fund. The goal of the endowment fund is to reach $2 million in donations by December 31, 2019. TRTF is asking all members of TRTA to consider making a one-time donation of $30 to help the fund reach its $2,000,000 goal. Donations may be made online here or via snail mail by sending a check to TRTF, Attn: Endowment Fund, 313 E. 12th Street Suite 220, Austin, TX 78701.

TRTF also announced the creation of a new “Beginning Teacher” Scholarship, which will benefit recent college graduates pursuing a career in education in Texas by helping them pay for certification tests and supplies to set up their first classroom. This year’s Classroom Assistance Grants for public school teachers and Student Scholarships for graduating high school seniors were also announced. Read about the recipients here.

The TRTA House of Delegates, retirees representing the organization’s 257 affiliated local units, conducted association business on April 12. Members elected the following individuals to serve as officers of the state organization for the 2016-2018 term: Nancy Byler, President; Patricia Macias, First Vice-President; Leroy DeHaven, Second Vice-President; and Marcy Cann, Secretary/Treasurer. Members also voted positively on several bylaws amendments, including one that will allow the state Historian to become a voting member of the TRTA Board of Directors.

North San Antonio RTA member Carlos Ortiz was honored during the TRTA Awards Banquet with the prestigious E.L. Galyean Award for his many years of service. Mr. Ortiz has served in many capacities at the local unit, district and state level, including as a member of the TRTA State Legislative Committee and TRTF Board of Trustees.

Carlos Ortiz receives his E.L. Galyean Award
from TRTA President Fran Plemmons.

District 14 won awards for the highest percentage of membership gain, as well as highest total membership gain. Hamilton County ARTSP won the local unit award for the highest percentage of membership gain, and Abilene RTA won the local unit award for the highest total membership gain.

TRTA President Fran Plemmons was also honored with a special gift as she completes her term leading the organization. Under her leadership, TRTA’s membership has grown to over 80,000. Fran also created the President’s Diamond Award, which was presented for this first time during this year’s convention. The $1,500 award was presented to the Goliad County RSP for their advances in membership growth utilizing the TRTA Diamond Plus program.

About 800 attendees enjoyed a Legislative Luncheon, with the opportunity to hear from Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) Executive Director Brian Guthrie, and State Senators Joan Huffman and John Whitmire. The panel, led by TRTA Executive Director Tim Lee, enlightened the crowd about the problems plaguing the TRS-Care retiree health insurance program, potential solutions and state budget concerns.

TRTA appreciates the hard work of District 4 volunteers and the Leadership Training Committee members, all of whom worked non-stop to make the 63rd annual convention a great success!

Thank You

Convention is a great platform for learning and growing as an organization. For local unit committee chairmen and members, be sure to check out all of the convention resource guides now available on the TRTA website!

Next year’s convention will be held in Austin, and will include a TRTA Day at the Capitol event. As Senator John Whitmire stated numerous times during the legislative luncheon, our members must be engaged! Mark your calendars now for March 27-29, 2017, and plan to be the loudest, most unified voice at the Texas Capitol during the 84th Legislative Session.

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13 Apr 2016

TRTA 63rd Annual Convention Starts This Weekend!

The Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) is finalizing plans for the 63rd Annual TRTA Convention to be held in Houston April 10-12, 2016. More than 1,000 retirees are registered for the event already, which is taking place at the Westin Galleria on 5060 West Alabama.

This year’s theme, “Hearts of Texas: TRTA Proud,” focuses on the strength and dedication of TRTA’s 257 local units and their homegrown, grassroots advocacy. Late registration for the Convention is open online, and will be available onsite beginning at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, April 10. To view the full convention schedule, please click here.

In addition to conducting the business of the association, such as officer elections and bylaws amendment considerations, members will attend a number of training and educational sessions. A complete list of sessions, their descriptions and a schedule are available on our website here.

Legislation is always a key focus of our annual conventions, and despite 2016 being an interim year when the Legislature is not convening, our members are ready to address the looming $1.5 billion shortfall expected for the TRS-Care health insurance program in 2017. During the Legislative Luncheon being held on April 12, members will hear from TRS Executive Director Brian Guthrie and area Senators Joan Huffman and John Whitmire about potential solutions to the TRS-Care shortfall in 2017.

Although the Legislative Luncheon is sold out already, the panel discussion will be broadcast live in the Galleria Ballroom on Level 3. All convention attendees will have the opportunity to hear this important information, which begins at 12:15 p.m. on April 12.

Members will also have the chance to hear from Texas Congressman Kevin Brady (R-The Woodlands) during Opening Ceremonies on Monday, April 11. Brady will discuss progress on The Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act (HR 711). HR 711 is a bill that proposes to replace the current Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) with a newer, fairer formula. To learn more about the WEP and HR 711, visit this page.

Once again, TRTA will have a Diamond Plus booth, found in the exhibit hall in the same area on Level 4 where registration will occur. Diamond Plus, a value-added program for members of TRTA, offers a permanent membership card, personalized attention and hassle-free membership renewals.

Members who pay their dues via payroll deduction or bank draft already are participants in Diamond Plus. Attendees who renew their dues for the 2016-2017 year via one of these methods can join Diamond Plus while at Convention by visiting the Diamond Plus booth. All current and new Diamond Plus participants attending Convention will also be entered in a prize drawing, with winners announced after Convention.

For any questions about your registration or delegate certification, please contact our Membership Department at 1.800.880.1650 or email us at We look forward to seeing you in Houston soon! Please be sure to share our press release about Convention with your fellow retirees and media outlets.

Thank You

Convention is sure to provide TRTA a platform for learning and growing as an organization. We look forward to seeing you in Houston.

Be sure to like us on Facebookfollow us on Twitter and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

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