Texas AFT Retirees Plus hosted its first Virtual Retiree Summit this week bringing together retirees from across the state to share what they have accomplished in their first two years. Attendees heard from advocates on issues impacting retirees including healthcare, pensions, and the legislative outlook for next session.
The last legislature saw several wins for retirees, including a 13th check and $231 million dollars to TRS for healthcare premiums through 2021. Texas AFT outlined some of the challenges that retirees should be ready for in the upcoming session in the face of the COVID-19 crisis. Much of the focus will be on making sure the Texas legislature doesn’t undo the good work that has been done.
However, there is also an opportunity this year to elect lawmakers who will be champions for retirees in the future. Retirees can amplify their voices and advocate on key issues nationally and at the state level. Summit participants encouraged retirees to share their stories on why their pensions matter and to continue making sure their voices are heard at the Capitol.
Despite the difficulties social distancing imposes, retirees are still finding ways to organize, for example, calling legislators to support the HEROES Act and helping to get out the vote for candidates that will fight to protect pensions next session.
Cheryl Anderson, Texas AFT Retiree Plus Chairwoman, said, “We are advocating for retiree issues every day and it is so exciting to see so many retirees wanting to get involved. There is a lot of potential here!”
This was the first in a series of Retiree Summits that will be held throughout the year to keep retirees informed and ready to take action. The next Retiree Summit is currently being planned for the fall on education funding and elections.
In case you missed it Thursday, you can watch the entire summit by clicking here.