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22 Jan
0

TRTA “Good Voter Health” Series: Day 5

Closely Watched Primary Races

The Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) ends its “Good Voter Health” series today with an important strategic article about high-profile contested races in Texas.

As we mentioned in Day 2 of our series, TRTA does not endorse candidates for political office. It is vital, however, that our members research the candidates in their area and ask them tough questions about the Teacher Retirement System (TRS), the defined benefit plan, and the TRS-Care health insurance program.

To locate the candidates running for office in your area, we recommend using Ballotpedia:

There are several key races that TRTA is following closely this primary season. Most legislative elections are decided during the primaries and not during the November general election. For this reason, we encourage all of our members to VOTE early in February (16-26) or on Tuesday, March 1.

If you live in an area where some of these key races are taking place, it is very important that you get in touch with the candidates and find out their answers to the following questions, and it is absolutely VITAL that you VOTE in the primaries:

  • Do you support a defined benefit plan for all current and future TRS retirees?
  • Do you support providing reasonable, affordable healthcare for TRS retirees?
  • What will you do as my legislator to ensure that the TRS pension fund and TRS–Care health insurance program are preserved and improved?

As we mentioned in yesterday’s series (Day 4), TRTA is often asked by its members, “Whom should I vote for?” Although TRTA does not endorse candidates for political office, we strongly encourage our members to talk to each other and ask the following: Who are you voting for and why?

Your fellow retirees may be your best resource in helping you determine which candidate may be more favorable to issues impacting the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS). Now is the time to have these important conversations with each other and to learn more about the candidates! TALK TO EACH OTHER! Share information!

Whether or not we endorse candidates, we MUST be involved in the political process. Our organization’s success depends upon our involvement! Our members’ lifetime of educating others did not end in the classroom, and continues as we educate candidates about the TRS pension fund and TRS-Care health insurance program.

High-Profile Races to Watch

Please note that we have first listed the incumbent in each district and the same party candidate(s) that the incumbent faces in the primary election (this is the contested race). In fairness, we have also listed candidates of other parties that are running for the same seat whether or not they face a challenger. During the general election in November, the candidate who wins the contested race and the other party candidate(s) will face each other.

We have included a link to a map for each district. If you are not sure if you reside in the district listed, review the map or use the Texas Legislature website to determine your district.

High-Profile Contested Texas Senate Races

Senate District 1
Senator Kevin Eltife is retiring. The following Republican candidates are vying for this open seat: Bryan HughesDavid SimpsonJames K. Red Brown, and Mike Lee. There are no Democratic candidates vying for this seat.

Senate District 24
Senator Troy Fraser is retiring. Democratic candidate Virginia Leeder does not face a challenger in the Democratic primary. Republican candidates facing each other in the Republican primary are: Brent MayesDawn BuckinghamJon CobbReed WilliamsRyan Downton, and Susan King.

Senate District 26
Senator Jose Menendez faces a challenger in the Democratic primary, Trey Martinez Fischer. There are no Republican candidates vying for this seat.

High-Profile Contested Texas House Races

House District 1
Representative Gary VanDeaver faces challenger George Lavender in the Republican primary. There are no Democratic candidates vying for this seat.

House District 2
Representative Dan Flynn faces challenger Bryan Slaton in the Republican primary. There are no Democratic candidates vying for this seat.

House District 4
Representative Stuart Spitzer faces challenger and former Representative Lance Gooden in the Republican primary. There are no Democratic candidates vying for this seat.

House District 5
Representative Bryan Hughes has resigned to run for the Texas Senate. The following Republican candidates will face each other in the primary election: Cole HefnerHolly Coggins HayesJay MisenheimerPhilip Hayes, and Randy Davis. There are no Democratic candidates vying for this seat.

House District 8
Representative Byron Cook faces challenger Thomas McNutt in the Republican primary. There are no Democratic candidates vying for this seat.

House District 11
Representative Travis Clardy faces challenger Tony Sevilla in the Republican primary. Democrat Stephen J. Wright is also vying for this seat, but faces no challengers in the primary.

House District 12
Representative Kyle Kacal faces challengers Michael Stanford and Timothy Delasandro in the Republican primary. There are no Democratic candidates vying for this seat.

House District 14
Representative John Raney faces challenger Jess Fields in the Republican primary. There are no Democratic candidates vying for this seat.

House District 17
Representative John Cyrier faces challenger Brent Golemon in the Republican primary. 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 election: Ernest BailesJ. TurnerJames MorrisonKeith StrahanVan Brookshire, and Wesley Hinch. There are no Democratic candidates vying for this seat.

House District 20
Representative Marsha Farney faces challenger Terry Wilson in the Republican primary. There are no Democratic candidates vying for this seat.

House District 47
Representative Paul Workman faces challenger Jay Wiley in the Republican primary. Democratic candidate Ana Jordan faces no challengers in the primary.

House District 54
Representative Jimmie Don Aycock is retiring. The following Republican candidates face each other in the primary election: Austin RuizLarry Smith, and Scott Cosper. The following Democratic candidates face each other in the primary election: Lan Carter and Sandra Blankenship.

House District 58
Representative DeWayne Burns faces challenger Philip Eby in the Republican primary. There are no Democratic candidates vying for this seat.

House District 59
Representative J.D. Sheffield faces challenger Brent Graves in the Republican primary. There are no Democratic candidates vying for this seat.

House District 60
Representative Jim Keffer is retiring. The following Republican candidates face each other in the primary election: Kevin Downing and Mike Lang. There are no Democratic candidates vying for this seat.

House District 65
Representative Ron Simmons faces challenger Ben Kissling in the Republican primary. Democratic candidate Alex Mendoza faces no challengers in the primary.

House District 73
Representative Doug Miller faces challengers Kyle Biedermann and Chris Byrd in the Republican primary. There are no Democratic candidates vying for this seat.

House District 81
Representative Brooks Landgraf faces challenger Joshua Crawford in the Republican primary. There are no Democratic candidates vying for this seat.

House District 84
Representative John Frullo faces challenger Jim Landtroop in the Republican primary. There are no Democratic candidates vying for this seat.

House District 89
Representative Jodie Laubenberg faces challenger Dalton Lytle in the Republican primary. Democratic candidate Denise Hamilton faces no challengers in the primary.

House District 92
Representative Jonathan Stickland faces challenger Scott W. Fisher in the Republican primary. Democratic candidate Kim K. Leach does not face any challengers in the primary election.

House District 94
Representative Tony Tinderholt faces challenger Andrew Piel in the Republican primary. There are no Democratic candidates vying for this seat.

House District 99
Representative Charlie Geren faces challenger Bo French in the Republican primary. There are no Democratic candidates vying for this seat.

House District 113
Representative Cindy Burkett faces challenger Jonathan Boos in the Republican primary. Democratic candidate Rhetta Andrews Bowers faces no challengers in the primary.

House District 115
Representative Matt Rinaldi faces challenger and former Representative Bennett Ratliff in the Republican primary. Democratic candidate Dorotha M. Ocker does not face any challengers in the primary election.

House District 121
Representative Joe Straus faces challengers Sheila Bean and Jeff Judson in the Republican primary. There are no Democratic candidates vying for this seat.

House District 127
Representative Dan Huberty faces challenger Mitchell Bosworth in the Republican primary. There are no Democratic candidates vying for this seat.

House District 128
Representative Wayne Smith faces challengers Briscoe Cain and Melody McDaniel in the Republican primary. There are no Democratic candidates vying for this seat.

House District 131
Representative Alma Allen faces challenger John Shike in the Democratic primary. There are no Republican candidates vying for this seat.

House District 134
Representative Sarah Davis faces challenger David L. Palmer in the Republican primary. Democratic candidate Ben Rose faces no challengers in the primary.

Tell Everyone You Know

Please help us get the word out about the races listed above if you live in an area with a high profile election, and tell your fellow retirees, family members and friends to get out and VOTE February 16-26 or on March 1! Usually, if a candidate does not win the “early vote,” they don’t win the overall vote in the primary.

We hope we have expressed the significance of voting in the primary elections over the past several days. Please keep this in mind: this is NOT a marathon, it’s a sprint! The starting gun has sounded. We must act NOW. We have only until March 1 to make sure that we protect the interests of our members in the Texas Legislature.

If you have any questions about these high profile races, please contact TRTA at info@trta.org or 1.800.880.1650. Remember, you can view ALL races for the Texas Senate and House online using the Ballotpedia links below:

 

Thank You!

We hope you have enjoyed and benefited from our “Good Voter Health” series and are prepared to VOTE during the primary election! Your vote in the 2016 primary election is VITAL!

You can view the other four days of our Voter Health Series below:

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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21 Jan
0

TRTA “Good Voter Health” Series: Day 4

Helping Others Get Involved in the Political Process

Today, the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) continues its weeklong series about “Good Voter Health” with ways to help your fellow retirees, family and friends get involved in the political process.

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

As we mentioned at the end of yesterday’s article, TRTA derives its strength from the voices of our 80,000 members. Now, we need YOU to get in touch with other TRTA members, retirees who are not members of TRTA, and your friends and family and GET OUT THE VOTE!

In order to exercise the vast strength represented by our organization, we need the influence of individuals such as you! Many people do not understand the significance of primary elections. These elections are often determined by a handful of votes. Because so few people vote in the primaries, EVERY VOTE COUNTS.

Your vote WILL make a difference! Vote in the primary election, and VOTE EARLY! Early voting begins February 16 and continues through February 26.

Are Your Friends, Family Members and Fellow Retirees Prepared to Vote?

Today, we are asking you to contact your fellow retirees, neighbors, friends and family and ask them to join you in voting during the primary elections!

As we mentioned in Day 1 of our “Good Voter Health” series, it is important that everyone you know check on the status of their registration. Send them the link to the Texas Secretary of State website today.

Next, be sure you share information about the candidates running for office in your area. Information about all political races in Texas can be found on Ballotpedia:

Texas Senate Races

Texas House Races

It is especially important to pay attention to Texas Senate and Texas House races. The people elected to these positions will be your Senators and Representatives in the Texas Legislature. They will make the decisions that impact your Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) pension fund and TRS-Care health insurance program.

If you are not sure which Texas Senate and House district you reside within, please use this link to learn more.

The Local Unit Connection

Many of our TRTA members are involved in a local unit. Your local unit is vital to spreading the word about the importance of the primary elections. Are you a local unit officer? Do you have a meeting scheduled in February? If so, share this important information with ALL of your members!

Another great asset to being a member of a local unit is the ability to organize at the grassroots level to support and vote for the candidate(s) of your choice. Organize a car pool to take voters to the polls! Consider how to make voting fun for your members and develop a group voting event with your local unit!

During your unit’s regularly scheduled February meeting, consider hosting a morning coffee and tea party, and then caravanning to a nearby polling location. You can also send press releases to your local media outlets about your “primary party,” letting the community know that retired teachers get out and VOTE!

Remember, when voting early, you do not have to vote in your precinct. If your local unit or a group of your family and friends plans a “primary party” to vote early, you can choose the early voting location nearest you. Check with your County Election Administrator Early Voting Clerk to find out where the early voting locations are in your area.

Early voting begins February 16 and continues through February 26. Primary election day is March 1. How many people can you encourage to vote in the primaries? Tell us more about your early voting plans at info@trta.org!

Who Should I Vote For?

TRTA often receives this question. The answer is: TRTA does not endorse candidates for political office. However, we encourage our members to talk to each other and ask the following: Who are you voting for and why?

Your fellow retirees may be your best resource in helping you determine which candidate may be more favorable to issues impacting the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS). Now is the time to have these important conversations with each other and to learn more about the candidates!

TALK TO EACH OTHER! Share information! Even though TRTA does not endorse candidates, this does NOT mean that we cannot be involved in political activities. The more you learn from the candidates and from each other, the better informed you will be on the day you vote!

In our final article of our “Good Voter Health” series tomorrow, we will focus on some of the high profile races that TRTA is following closely. We need our members to pay close attention to these races and need members living in these areas to vote! Casting your vote during the primaries ALWAYS makes a difference!

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.

Read More
20 Jan
0

TRTA “Good Voter Health” Series: Day 3

I’ve Researched the Candidates. Is My Work as a Voter Done?

Welcome to Day 3 of the Texas Retired Teachers Association “Good Voter Health” Series! On Monday, we discussed the voter registration process and checking your voter status. If you missed this article, be sure to visit the Texas Secretary of State website to determine if you are registered to vote.

Need to register? There is still time! The deadline is February 1. Click here to register to vote.

Yesterday, TRTA focused on the importance of the primary elections. Most elections in Texas are determined DURING THE PRIMARIES, not the November general election! While it is important to vote in ALL elections, many voters do not make it to the polls for the primaries.

Be sure to put early voting for the primaries on your schedule: February 16-26, 2016! Remember, because so few people vote in the primaries, EVERY VOTE COUNTS. Your vote WILL make a difference!

We also asked our members to review the candidates running for office in their area. A complete list of elections is available through Ballotpedia:

If you are not sure which Texas Senate and House district you reside within, please use this link to learn more.

Talk to the Candidates

Find out who your candidates are for the Texas House and Senate, and ask them those three vital questions about TRS:

  • Do you support a defined benefit plan for all current and future TRS retirees?
  • Do you support providing reasonable, affordable healthcare for TRS retirees?
  • What will you do as my legislator to ensure that the TRS pension fund and TRS–Care health insurance program are preserved and improved?

If you have contacted your candidates already, and determined who your candidate of choice is, your work as a voter may not be done! Though not all members of TRTA are politically active, we encourage our members to participate in the political process as much as possible.

How Can I Support My Candidate of Choice?

You may be asking yourself, “What can I do to support my candidate?” Consider the following activities as part of your legislative duty over the next few weeks:

  • Make the decision and commitment to vote!
  • Convince others they need to vote, and ask them to make the same decision and commitment.
  • Let your friends and colleagues know who you are voting for and why. It will help them make a more informed decision.
  • Volunteer to work for the candidate of your choice.
  • Call the campaign and ask for a yard sign.
  • Give permission for the campaign to put large campaign sign on your property.
  • Allow the campaign to use your name as endorsing your candidate.
  • Sign up for campaign emails and pass them on to friends and colleagues.
  • “Friend” your candidate on Facebook, and encourage others to do the same.
  • E-mail and telephone your friends and family and tell them why you support your candidate.
  • Volunteer to walk your neighborhood to distribute campaign material for your candidate.
  • If you are willing and able, consider making a contribution to your preferred candidate’s campaign.
  • Ask the campaign if they have personal endorsement postcards you can use to mail to your friends and family. (Most campaigns are happy to pay for the postage if you will address and sign the cards to send out). Your personal endorsement makes a strong statement to your friends and family, and helps them feel confident about voting for the person you recommend.
  • Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper and the candidate of your choice about why you support your candidate. The candidate would probably love to use your letter for campaign purposes!
  • Share all of the information you learn with your local unit, and consider how to make voting fun for your members such as developing a group voting event!

As you know, TRTA does not endorse candidates for political office, but this does not mean our members cannot participate as fully as possible in the political process. We will not tell you who to vote for, but we will always encourage you to ask the questions listed above and choose a candidate that supports the interests of public education retirees and pre-retirees.

If your candidate does NOT support sustaining the TRS defined benefit plan or the TRS-Care health insurance program, or you think your candidate needs additional education about these issues, please let us know! TRTA will contact the candidate and provide him or her with educational material.

You can also download informative documents at our website here. The Resource Guide is great for providing a background on both the pension fund and TRS-Care.

TRTA is a strong grassroots organization with 80,000 members! Our strength derives from the voices of our members: that’s YOU! We encourage you to get involved in the political process and find a method of participating in elections that reflects your interests.

Tomorrow, during Day 4 of our “Good Voter Health” series, we will discuss encouraging others to get out and VOTE!

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.

Read More