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.

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 vote in the vital primary elections, and often that is because they may not understand the significance of these political races. 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 primaries, and VOTE EARLY! Early voting begins February 18 and continues through February 28.

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: https://team1.sos.state.tx.us/voterws/viw/faces/SearchSelectionVoter.jsp.

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 the Texas Tribune website here: http://www.texastribune.org/2014/elections/brackets/.

It is especially important to pay attention to Texas Senate and Texas House races. The ladies and gentlemen 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.

The Local Unit Connection

Many of our TRTA members are members of 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 a 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!

TRTA State President Maridell Fryar shared an idea recently about what her unit in Midland plans to do. During the unit’s regularly scheduled February meeting, the unit is hosting a morning coffee and tea party, and then caravanning to a nearby polling location. They are also sending press releases to their local media outlets about their “primary party,” letting their 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: http://www.sos.state.tx.us/elections/voter/county.shtml.

Early voting begins February 18 and continues through February 28. Primary election day is March 4. 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 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.