Tomorrow, Tuesday, March 4 is Primary Election day in Texas. The Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) has been spreading the message that voting in the Primary Election is of vital importance to all of our members and all public education retirees in the state!

An article by Bud Kennedy featured in the Ft. Worth Star Telegramreiterates how few voters turn out for the Primary Election in Texas. In fact, states Kennedy, “in the last five gubernatorial primaries, 3 to 6 percent of Texas voters chose our state’s leaders.

This means YOUR VOTE MATTERS! TRTA has 80,000 members and represents the voices of over 300,000 retirees and more than 800,000 pre-retirees in Texas! We must use our influence and VOTE IN THE PRIMARY ELECTION!

It is essential that we elect Senators and Representatives that support TRS-Care and the TRS pension fund. 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.

Please review these races and determine if you are impacted! The Texas Tribune Elections Bracket can help you determine who is running for office in your area.

Please also use the valuable Teach the Vote resource from the Association of Texas Professional Educators (ATPE) to review candidates’ responses to important questions about education and TRS. Teach the Vote can be found by clicking here.

When you vote tomorrow, you must vote in your precinct. To determine your polling location, please visit the Texas Secretary of State website by clicking here.

Per the website, you may select one of three methods to do a polling place search: search by 1. your Texas driver’s license number, if you provided it when you applied for voter registration; 2. your Voter Unique Identifier (VUID), which appears on your voter registration certificate; or 3. your first and last name.

Please encourage your fellow retirees, family members and friends to come out and vote in the Primary Election. Arrange a car pool of neighbors and go to the polling location together!

Most political races in Texas are determined DURING THE PRIMARY ELECTION, not the November General Election! As Bud Kennedy reminds us in his article, “the stakes are high…but voter interest is low.

As a public education retiree in Texas, you know that the TRS pension fund and the TRS-Care health insurance program are necessary for your retirement security. With TRS-Care facing a $1 billion shortfall in the next biennium, the stakes are extremely high! Your voter interest should also be very high!

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.