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04 Apr
0

TRTA Hosts Successful Convention and Day at the Capitol

The Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) held its 66thAnnual Convention this week in Austin on April 1-2, followed by a rousing day of advocacy at the Texas Capitol on April 3, where more than 1,500 TRTA members and friends convened to rally and meet with their legislators!

Held at the Hilton Austin, the convention was a two-day affair packed with information, including committee and officer training sessions and a productive House of Delegates meeting. TRTA will provide a full update on bylaws amendments in second quarter issue of The VOICE.

Carlos Ortiz was recognized for his service to TRTF during the luncheon by TRTF President Jamie Larson and Executive Director Tim Lee.

During a fundraising breakfast for TRTA’s charitable partner, the Texas Retired Teachers Foundation (TRTF), TRTA districts, local units and members donated more than $17,000! A video honoring former TRTA Executive Director and TRTF Board Trustee Mike Lehr was also aired for all attendees.

Also at the breakfast, TRTF announced its 2019 Beginning Teacher Scholarship and Classroom Assistance Grant recipients. Click the links below to read the names of all the winners.

TRTF 2019 Beginning Teacher Scholarship Recipients

TRTF 2019 Classroom Assistance Grant Recipients

Former TRTA State President Herbert Norris was presented with this year’s prestigious E.L. Galyean Service Award for his many years of dedicated service to TRTA at both the state and local levels.

Herbert Norris accepts the E.L. Galyean award from President Pat Macias and Executive Director Tim Lee.

All committee and training session resource guides are now available for download from the TRTA website under the Membership/Member Resources tab:

 

Legislative Luncheon Features TRS Director, Legislators

From left to right: TRS Executive Director Brian Guthrie, Rep. Mary González (D – Clint), Rep. Greg Bonnen (R – Friendswood) and TRTA Executive Director Tim Lee.

On Tuesday, April 1, TRTA held a well-attended legislative luncheon, featuring a panel led by TRTA Executive Director Tim Lee. Lee started the program, by discussing the current state of the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) pension fund with TRS Executive Director Brian Guthrie.

Representative Greg Bonnen, Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Article III and author of House Bill 9 (the House’s version of the TRS pension fund actuarial soundness bill) also appeared on the legislative luncheon panel, along with Representative Mary Gonzalez, a member of the same subcommittee.

The luncheon gave members the opportunity to hear directly from legislative leaders who are working to establish a long-term funding plan for the pension fund so that the system can become solvent. Until the pension fund becomes actuarially sound, the system cannot provide cost-of-living increases to annuitants due to state law.

Day at the Capitol Event Well-Attended by Retirees and Legislators

TRTA District 10 celebrates a successful Day at the Capitol on the east lawn’s steps.

On Wednesday, April 3, TRTA members from all across the state began arriving on the east lawn of the Texas Capitol, some coming from the Austin Hilton and hundreds arriving on chartered buses. The enthusiastic crowd of educators wore red shirts, carried red bags, and donned specially made bracelets that read “Raise the Base!”

Throughout the day, retirees were honored with proclamations in both the House and the Senate and set up meetings with hundreds of legislators. At noon, hundreds of retirees gathered at the TRTA tent on the east lawn for a rousing rally and heard from multiple legislators.

TRTA wishes to thank all those legislators who took time out their very busy schedules to speak publicly to our members and meet with them one-on-one.

Rep. Lynn Stucky (R – Denton) welcomes Tim Lee, Leroy DeHaven, Tonna Duke and Ella Gauthier to the House floor.

During the rally, TRTA was honored to share the platform with Representative Ron Reynolds, Representative Shawn Thierry, Representative Tony Tinderholt, Representative Phil Stephenson, Representative Ana-Maria Ramos, and Representative Carl Sherman. A staff member from Representative Kyle Biedermann’s office also addressed the crowd. Legislators and their staff also joined members on the east lawn for an ice cream social featuring local favorite Amy’s Ice Cream.

Members, if your legislator took the time to meet with you or join us on the east lawn during Day at the Capitol, please be sure to send a handwritten thank you note or give them a phone call to let them know you appreciate their support. Our Day at the Capitol event made a huge impression and put hundreds of faces to the very real and challenging issues that face Texas public education retirees today.

TRTA is making progress in both the House and the Senate on various legislative agenda items, and we must continue communicating with our legislators about the importance of retirement security for all current and future public education retirees.

Sen. Joan Huffman (R – Houston) meets with TRTA members outside of the Senate chamber.

Thank you to each and every member of TRTA for his or her participation in our convention and Day at the Capitol. Your presence was felt whether you were able to be here in person or participated from home. Thank you to those of you who made phone calls and sent emails, reminding legislators to #RAISETHEBASE!

Thank You

Thank you for your membership to TRTA. We are fighting ardently for your benefits every day at the Capitol. If you are not yet a TRTA member, please join here.

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

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03 Apr
0

TRTA Day at the Capitol is Here!

Today, April 3, is the Texas Retired Teachers Association Day at the Capitol event! More than 1000 retired educators from across the state will arrive on the east lawn of the Texas Capitol wearing red shirts, #RAISETHEBASE bracelets and stickers, and rallying in support of funding for vital pension and health care programs! TRTA IS THE VOICE FOR TEXAS PUBLIC EDUCATION RETIREES, and we want to be seen and heard today! Though many of our retirees would like to attend this event, not all are able. We want your voice to be heard today too! Here are some ways you can participate and promote the causes that matter most to retired educators.

Participate in Day at the Capitol Even If You’re At Home Today!

1. Send An Email Action Alert Today!
  • Help us extend an invitation to all legislators and their staff members to join us for our ice cream social and rally on the east lawn. We’d also like for our legislators to come out to the tent during our rally and share some encouraging words. We want to show our appreciation for their overwhelming support this session to make the TRS pension fund actuarially sound and set retirees on a path for a meaningful benefit increase.
  • Click this link to send your email now
2. Call Your Legislators Today!
  • If you are unable to send an email or prefer the phone, please call your legislator today using the Legislator Hotline: 1.888.674.3788.Please let them know education retirees appreciate their hard work this session, and we want to show our gratitude by inviting them to our rally and ice cream social on the east lawn! The rally begins at noon and the ice cream social begins at 12:30 p.m. Legislators and their staff members should feel free to stop by anytime between Noon and 2:00 p.m.
3. Download and mail the TRTA Day at the Capitol Fact Page to Your Legislators! To Write State Senators: The Honorable (full name) Texas Senate P.O. Box 12068 Austin, TX 78711-2068 To Write State Representatives: The Honorable (full name) Texas House of Representatives P.O. Box 2910 Austin, TX 78768-2910 To find out who your Senator and Representative are, please click here.

Thank You!

Thank you again to everyone participating in the TRTA Day at the Capitol. We appreciate you coming to Austin, or virtually participating through the email advocacy campaign, phone calls or mail. Your membership is what makes TRTA the successful organization that it is! Thank you for your membership to TRTA. We are fighting ardently for your benefits every day at the Capitol. If you are not yet a TRTA member, please join here. Be sure to like us on Facebookfollow us on Twitter and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

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30 Mar
0

TRTA Convention and Day at the Capitol Are Almost Here!

  • Invite your legislators to TRTA Day at the Capitol on April 3!
  • Please be sure to share our press release about convention and Day at the Capitol with your fellow retirees and local media outlets.
  • Please pay attention to the weather forecast. Some recent forecasts have indicated there could be rain and thunderstorms in the Austin area the week of April 1. Pack an umbrella or poncho!

TRTA 66th Annual Convention Details

The Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) 66th Annual Convention begins Monday, April 1, 2019. The two-day event is followed by a TRTA Day at the Capitol on April 3.

Early registration for the convention is now closed. Late (on-site) registration will begin on April 1 at 10:00 a.m. The TRTA state office will be closed, as all staff are attending the convention. If you have any questions about your registration or delegate certification, please contact our Membership Department at membership@trta.org or communicate with the staff at the registration booth on the 6th floor.

Legislation is always a key focus of our annual conventions, and this year our members are excited to learn more about legislation filed this session to make the TRS pension fund actuarially sound and provide retirees with some financial relief.

During the Legislative Luncheon being held on April 2, members will hear from TRTA Executive Director Tim Lee, Senator Bryan Hughes, Representative Mary Gonzalez, Representative Greg Bonnen, and TRS Executive Director Brian Guthrie and about what potential solutions are on the table and how it will affect retirees.

Members will also be able to attend a special legislative pep rally that occurs after the House of Delegates on April 2. Legislative Coordinator Tonna Duke and the Austin legislative team will provide updates on the 86th Legislative Session, including what is happening with bills such as HB 9 and SB 12 and the state’s budget bills. Ms. Duke will share techniques and materials to help members advocate during TRTA Day at the Capitol on April 3.

Day at the Capitol Details

Day at the Capitol, which is open to all convention attendees as well as any member or friend who wishes to join us, will occur on Wednesday, April 3! TRTA is expecting nearly 2000 attendees for this day of grassroots lobbying. Attendees will receive a special #RaisetheBase bracelet and sticker to wear while supplies last.

Schedule of Events

8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.                 Legislative Visits (optional)
9:30 a.m.                                        House Gallery (head to gallery at 9:00 a.m.)
10:30 a.m.                                      Senate Gallery (head to gallery at 10:00 a.m.)
11:30 a.m. or 12:00 p.m.             Rally on the East Lawn
12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.               Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Social
12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.               Additional Legislative Visits (optional)

Capitol Maps

Capitol Grounds and Building Maps
Capitol Directory of Legislator Offices

Day at the Capitol Quick Tips

  • Wear red!
  • Wear comfortable walking shoes.
  • If you’re attending convention, bring your convention bag and name badge with you.
  • If you are not attending convention, please consider bringing a bag from home.
  • Bring business cards if you plan to meet with legislators or staffers.
  • Carry your identification and any pertinent medical information you may need in case of an emergency.
  • To set an appointment with your legislators, call the Legislator Hotline (888.674.3788) and speak with the scheduler in your Senator’s or Representative’s office.
  • There is more than one line to enter the Capitol! If the line is too long at the east door, please consider going to the south or north doors for quicker access. The only wheelchair accessible entrance is the north door.
  • Email your photos to info@trta.org and we will post them to Facebook.

Shuttles and Parking
Convention attendees may ride a shuttle from the Hilton to the Capitol. Shuttles will begin running in 20-minute intervals at approximately 7:00 a.m. and will run continuously until 4:00 p.m. (final pickup).

If you are travelling to Austin on April 3 or prefer to park near the Capitol you may do so in one of the state parking garages located along San Jacinto Street (between 12th, 13th and 14th streets). From the state garages, the east lawn is a short walk of one block to the west.

If you are with a large group arriving on April 3, please be aware that buses must unload passengers on the east side of the Texas Capitol (on Brazos street). Buses may park along Trinity Street.

Thank You!

TRTA is the voice for public education retirees, and we want to be seen and heard on April 3! Let’s get as many TRTA members and friends as possible in Austin for this important legislative event!

Let your legislators know we are looking forward to seeing them on April 3! Call 888.674.3788 to reach out to your legislators now or send them an email.

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