As many of our members know, Mr. Bill Barnes has served on the TRTA legislative committee as its Coordinator and Chair for many years. Working side-by-side with Executive Director Tim Lee, Bill has represented the voices of retirees across the state by making hundreds of visits to the Capitol and meeting with every legislator. Although Mr. Barnes will no longer chair the TRTA State Legislative Committee, he will continue to work with TRTA on legislative matters as a consultant and with Tonna Duke as she transitions into this new and exciting role. Bill is so pleased to welcome Tonna to this position, and knows her dedication, thoughtfulness and intelligence will be great assets to the TRTA legislative team.


Hello! My name is Tonna Duke, and I am honored to have been given the opportunity to serve as the TRTA Legislative Coordinator and Chair of the TRTA State Legislative Committee. This committee consists of 20 intelligent, interested and motivated TRTA members working toward the success of TRTA legislative efforts. Our committee members advocate on behalf of all TRTA members with legislators and candidates at the district level and in the Capitol.

A document listing TRTA issues and goals was developed this past summer by members of the legislative committee for use by TRTA members.

WHY VOTE?

  • We must protect the defined benefit plan and funding for the TRS pension fund.
  • There must be a plan for increasing permanent state funding to ensure defined benefits, retirement security and a strong pension fund.
  • We need affordable and accessible health care for ALL Texas education retirees.
  • There is NO long-term funding plan to sustain TRS-Care. The two-year supplemental plan is NOT a permanent solution to our health care funding issue.
  • We must promote an annuity increase for ALL retirees.
  • The cost of living continues to go up, but annuities are relatively stagnant.
  • We support the reform at the national level for Social Security offsets, the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and Government Pension Offset (GPO).
  • Retired Texas educators are penalized under these offsets, and the programs treat retired teachers differently than the rest of the population.

Our committee has been busy trying to increase membership numbers to make our unified voice stronger. Our goal is to ensure all TRTA members are registered to vote and are informed and ready to cast their ballots on November 6. We ask that TRTA members consider voting for candidates who will support TRTA’s issues and those who will actively seek solutions for our priorities.

TRTA leadership at the district and local unit level are researching, visiting and interviewing candidates and legislators to determine which of those individuals will be the ones who support retired teachers.

Please note: The following links are to organizations not administered by TRTA. TRTA doesn’t endorse individual candidates. The links are for informational purposes only.

Click here to see a statewide list of candidates for the November 6 General Election. Click the links below to gather more information on candidates running for political office.

www.vote411.org

www.teachthevote.org

www.texaseducatorsvote.com

All districts and local units are using creative methods to help members gather and share information to help them determine who to vote for. I would like to share just one with you. District 13 has developed a chart to record responses received from legislators and candidates. They have published questions for their members to ask those candidates. This is a good tool that local units can adapt to fit their needs.

Thank you for allowing me to share information from the TRTA State Legislative Committee. Achieving our goals will take 100 percent of TRTA members participating in our legislative efforts and voting on November 6.

WHY VOTE? Because retirees deserve better!

-Tonna Duke

TRTA Legislative Committee Chair