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.