The Importance of Primary Elections and Who Is Running for Office in Your Area
Welcome to the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) series on “Good Voter Health” Day 2! Yesterday, TRTA focused on the importance of being registered to vote and provided valuable, informative links for our members to check their registration status.
As a reminder, if you are not sure of your voter registration status, please check the Secretary of State website TODAY.
Yesterday, TRTA briefly mentioned the importance of the primary elections. Our members need to know that the vast majority of elections in Texas are determined during the primary elections. In legislative races, the November general election does not matter that much!
Your power as a voter is amplified in primary elections simply because so many other people choose not to vote. Occasionally, the candidate from your political party most likely to win the primary election does not represent your ideals.
If you are in this situation but you do not want another influential interest group to take away your power in the November general election, consider voting in the OPPOSITE party primary and choosing a candidate you believe may be friendlier to TRTA issues.
TRTA is not suggesting that you disregard your political ideals or that you vote for someone you do not support; however, the primary process offers a choice of candidates, some of who may support the TRTA legislative agenda. If you think your vote may be better used in this way, this may be a winning strategy for gaining support for TRTA issues during legislative session.
Some TRTA members may agree with the likely victorious political party in their area. This does not mean, however, that the party’s candidate who won the primary is the person you want representing you on vital TRTA legislative issues.
It is easy to take for granted our favorite candidate’s chances of election, but we must remember that when a candidate faces a challenger in the primary, the vote could go either way! If TRTA does not exercise its resources – the voices of 80,000 retirees – our allies in the Texas Legislature or candidates asking for a chance to serve and protect your TRS benefits may be defeated.
You may know someone who served in the Legislature previously that is no longer serving due to the results of a primary election. Because so few people cast a vote in the primary elections, these races can be determined by just a handful of votes! This means YOUR VOTE IN THE PRIMARY ELECTION MATTERS. Every vote cast in a primary election makes a difference!
TRTA does not endorse candidates for political office, but has a reputation for working across party lines to establish strong relationships with legislators for the good of TRS and its 350,000+ retirees. We also know that many groups seek eliminate our defined benefit retirement plan. Some challengers to elected officials in primary elections are supported by groups that want to do away with our retirement system.
It is up to us to do our due diligence and ask candidates the tough questions about TRS!
Because your retirement benefits affect your livelihood, you owe it to yourself to find out the answers to the following questions from ALL candidates in your area:
- 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?
Please feel free to report back to TRTA with any responses you receive, both positive and negative. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Elections.” It is also worthwhile to share the feedback you receive from candidates with other education retirees.
Remember this too: regardless of who you vote for, there will be many new legislators joining the Texas Legislature in 2017. Several Senators and Representatives retired or chose to run for other offices, including supporters such as Senator Kevin Eltife and Representative Jim Keffer.
Who is Running for Office in My Area?
As former educators, let us educate ourselves and all candidates running for office in Texas! Make a commitment to contact the candidates in your area and ask them the questions listed above.
Remember, early voting for the primary elections begins February 16, 2016 and continues through February 26, 2016. Primary election day is March 1. We encourage members to vote early if possible, and to begin researching their candidates NOW! You may click on the names of the candidates in the charts below to learn more about their political stances and ways to contact them.
If you are not sure which Texas Senate and House district you reside within, please use this link to learn more.
Tomorrow, stay tuned for information about how you can get more involved in the political process by reading our “Good Voter Health” Day 3 article!
Texas Senate Races
|2016 Texas Senate candidates|
|1||No candidate||Bryan Hughes
James K. Red Brown
|4||No candidate||Brandon Creighton (I)|
|6||Sylvia Garcia (I)||No candidate|
|11||No candidate||Larry Taylor (I)|
|12||No candidate||Jane Nelson (I)|
|13||Rodney Ellis (I)||No candidate|
|18||No candidate||Lois Kolkhorst (I)|
|19||Carlos Uresti (I)
|Peter P. Flores|
|20||Juan Hinojosa (I)||Velma A. Arellano|
|21||Judith Zaffirini (I)||No candidate|
|22||Michael Collins||Brian Birdwell (I)|
|24||Virginia Leeder||Brent Mayes
|26||Jose Menendez (I)
Trey Martinez Fischer
|27||Eddie Lucio (I)
O. Rodriguez Haro
|28||No candidate||Charles Perry (I)|
|29||Jose R. Rodriguez (I)||No candidate|
|Notes||• An (I) denotes an incumbent.|
Texas House Races
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.