11 Jan 2023

Tim Lee Hosts Welcome Video, Provides 10 Tips for the Legislative Session

Tim Lee, the Texas Retired Teachers Association’s (TRTA) Executive Director, hosted a live video event on Facebook and YouTube yesterday. He welcomed TRTA members to the legislative session and provided an overview of what to expect. Watch the video here.

During the video, he provided 10 tips for the legislative session.

  1. Stay Informed
  • Sign up for the Inside Line and keep an eye out for our urgent Action Alerts that will prompt you to contact your legislators about urgent matters like committee hearings and bill votes.
  • Watch Tim Lee’s regular updates about the 88th Legislative Session on Facebook and YouTube live on Thursdays, beginning January 19 at 4 p.m.
  • Contact your Senator and Representative and ask them if they’d like to appear with Tim during one of his live broadcasts.
  1. Build Relationships
  • Advocacy is a relationship business!
  • Be a spokesperson for our issue: TRS Retirees Need a COLA!
  • Encourage and educate your legislator about why TRS retirees need a COLA and why they need one now.
  • The truth is the truth: share the facts and share your story of how inflation has impacted you with your legislator.
  • Think of yourself as a valuable resource who can provide the necessary insight legislators need to better understand why this issue is so important.
  1. Stay Connected
  • Join TRTA if you have not done so already or ask a friend or former colleague to join!
  • Consider joining a TRTA local chapter and getting involved at the grassroots level and back home in your legislative district.
  • Follow TRTA on FacebookTwitter, and YouTube and download our app to stay up to date on all the latest legislative happenings.
  1. Follow Up
  • Follow-up is crucial!
  • If you meet with your legislator or their staff, be sure to remain in touch with them throughout the session and during the interim.
  • Check in once a month or more. Make a phone call, write a letter, or send an email!
  • Maintain that relationship and help them remember you, and to remember you fondly!
  1. Say “Thank You”
  • It may be controversial to say, but it is important to be polite and respectful when communicating with legislators and their staff.
  • There are 181 legislators and thousands of staff members, many of whom are recent college graduates, students, or interns, and some who have spent their entire careers in public service.
  • Every day, they hear from upset constituents who may express their concerns using anger.
  • Be forthright, not disrespectful, and say “thank you” when a legislator or their staff member has taken the time to listen to your issue.
  • You will be contacting them again, and you want them to remember you.
  1. Be Strong
  • This will be a long, tough session.
  • Things will change often, and legislation can be very fluid, and at times, very frustrating.
  • We won’t always feel like progress is being made!
  • Take a break if you need one and come back to fight another day!
  1. Believe
  • Believe we can make a difference collectively: you as a member, your fellow retirees, the TRTA Capitol lobbying team and staff, and every TRTA volunteer at the local, district, and state level.
  • We understand that believing may not be easy sometimes.
  • Believe you are not alone on this journey.
  1. Be Honest
  • It’s okay to not know the answer to a question asked by your legislator or one of their staff members.
  • If you need assistance in providing information to them, please let us know what they need, and we will have someone on the Capitol Team provide a response.
  1. Stay on Message
  • TRS retirees need a raise!
  • Now is the time for the Legislature to act.
  • Inflation is the highest it’s been in forty years, and TRS retirees living on modest, fixed incomes need help now.
  1. Show Up Every Day
  • Show up every day, knowing all of us as a team are making a difference.
  • Show up by believing.
  • Show up by reading and sharing information.
  • Show up by calling, emailing, or sending a letter to your legislator, or meeting with them back home in the district or via Zoom.
  • Show up for TRTA Day at the Capitol on April 12.
  • Show up and support this crucial cause of helping TRS retirees in any way you can!

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09 Jan 2023

Texas Legislative Session Begins Tomorrow, Tim Lee to Host Live Video at 1 P.M.

Ready. Set. Go! The Texas legislative session begins tomorrow, Jan. 10. The Texas Retired Teachers Association’s (TRTA) team has been preparing for this moment since the end of the 2021 special session. Everyone’s focus is on one thing: Legislators need to pass a meaningful, much-needed cost-of-living increase for public education retirees.

To discuss the legislative session, TRTA’s Executive Director, Tim Lee, will be live on Facebook and YouTube tomorrow at 1 p.m. Central.

In subsequent weeks during the session, Lee will be live on Thursdays at 4 p.m. Central on Facebook and YouTube. Be sure to mark your calendars for Thursdays at 4 p.m. Central, starting on Jan. 19, as Lee will keep members up to date on the latest legislative happenings.

Remember, the 140-day legislative session is a marathon, not a sprint! There will be ups and downs, but our focus will remain on helping retirees achieve the biggest and best benefit possible. Help us achieve our goals by staying connected to TRTA through the Inside LineFacebook, and YouTube!

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20 Dec 2022

Congress Unable to Reach WEP Compromise

Dear TRTA members and supporters,

Congress was unable to reach a compromise on a solution for the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) or the Government Pension Offset (GPO) this session. The Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) has been informed that after many sessions of negotiation and hours of activity behind the scenes, congressional members could not agree on how to reach a bipartisan deal on a WEP compromise or any action on the GPO.

TRTA is incredibly disappointed with this news. We adamantly believe that Congress knows the egregious nature of the both the WEP and GPO, and that a deal on the WEP was available but rejected by House leaders. Two million current public employee retirees, including teachers and other school personnel, as well as millions more future public school teachers, firefighters, first responders, and other public workers, will continue to be impacted by the unfair and arbitrary WEP.

Congress knows the WEP is unfair. They could have and should have fixed it this Congress. TRTA will review our strategy and plan for the next congressional cycle. We will be back next year to represent our membership and work to fix the unfair and financially devastating WEP and GPO.

I want to thank all TRTA members and supporters who put the pressure on Congress to act in the lame duck session. Thousands of phone calls were made and emails sent. Many congressional offices were overwhelmed with TRTA members’ activities. You are all incredible advocates! We will endeavor to see these efforts paid back with real solutions being enacted on the WEP and GPO.

TRTA also thanks ATPE and Mass Retirees for their support and partnership on finding a solution to WEP and GPO. These organizations and their members were incredibly engaged and helped make our voices even more amplified!

We also want to thank Congressman Kevin Brady for his leadership and his staff for their many hours of time invested in making numerous proposals to other congressional leaders on how to move forward. Finally, we want to thank Texas Congressmen Lloyd Doggett and Jodey Arrington, who serve on the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee, for their help and service on finding a bipartisan path forward. They too have invested many hours of support on this endeavor and with TRTA directly.

The fight is not over! The communication on the WEP and the GPO hit all-time highs this Congress. We believe the day is coming that WEP and GPO will be resolved. We MUST keep up the fight! The next Congress is just weeks away, as is the Texas Legislative 88th Legislative Session.

Our voice is being heard! Many people who could and should be TRTA members still need to join in our efforts. PLEASE consider joining the team that knows how to work with this system and has the relationships needed to advance our issues.

Again, thank you for all of your help. Congressional inaction must be met with the power of organized and meaningful grassroots efforts. We can win, and we will win. Thank you for believing in TRTA and for standing with us while we advocate for your retirement security and for the issues we know you want resolved.

Wishing you the best during this joyous holiday season,
Tim Lee
Executive Director
Texas Retired Teachers Association

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