Executive Director’s Blog Post: Stay politically involved and band together in 2018

If there’s any one lesson to take out of 2017, it’s the importance of staying politically involved and banding together as public school retirees for our common interests.

During the assault last year on public school benefits, MARSP, backed by the collective voice of its 40,000 members, protected your interests and preserved your health care benefits, whether or not you were a MARSP member.

We were also able to fight successfully to retain a defined benefit component for current workers and kept costs for all taxpayers from soaring.

As we head into 2018, we can’t rest on past accomplishments. This year’s elections will have important ramifications for all MARSP members and current public school employees. We will have an opportunity to identify and elect lawmakers who share our values and beliefs. More specifically, it is a chance to find candidates who are passionate about education.

Since you’re reading this, chances are you’re deeply passionate about public education, whether you’re a current or retired educator. Ideally, the 2018 election process – which will begin with party primaries in August and end with the general election in November – will allow us to identify candidates whose words and actions prove their passion for educating our children and supporting the educators who provide the instruction. As a voter with strong ties to the education community, you must search for those who truly share such values.

Now is the time to start paying attention because those running for office are making plans and developing platforms. I urge you to spread the word that education issues will top your priority list and that only those who have demonstrated their support will obtain your vote.

Our past legislative accomplishments have demonstrated that “strength in numbers” matters. To help ensure continued success in advocating for current classroom issues and protecting benefits for present-day and future retirees, we need to grow our association. We need you and you need us. With more than 215,000 public school retirees and additional beneficiaries who are eligible for membership, our goals for membership growth are very attainable. If you are not yet a member, we’d love to have you join us. Even if you are a long way from retirement, it’s never too soon to join the effort to protect your benefits.

As the number of MARSP members continues to grow, so does our ability to represent you at the Capitol. As we saw firsthand last year, the Michigan Legislature definitely listens when a large number of people speak up.

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