By Chuck Abshagen, Legislative co-chair
The long hot days of summer are in the distant past. Now we are in the “most beautiful” time of the year. What could be better? We have the fall colors, crisp fresh air, freshly picked apples, pressed apple cider, pumpkin doughnuts and football. It can’t get any better. Right? Oh, wait a minute, we also have the politics of an election season.
It’s the frosting on the seasonal cake.
As citizens of this great country, and of our state, we have an enormous responsibility to become informed on today’s issues before going into the voting booth on November 8. The question becomes “Where do we turn to become informed about the many issues facing us?” We often turn to our friends and neighbors. Studies show, however, that many of them will share our opinions and attitudes. After all, we have a tendency to seek out people who are somewhat like us and therefore are unlikely to expose us to different points of view.
So where else can we go to get good information on which to base our opinions? There are many sources available. The responsibility falls on us to do the necessary homework to seek out those reputable news sources. A word of caution: practice skepticism. When you seek out news (or if news finds you), ask yourself some questions. Did a company or politician pay for this content? What are the sources? Is the author credible? Be especially mindful when scrolling social media, as the social media business model is based on you engaging with content, and not on dispersing nuanced, fact-based information.
As MARSP members, we certainly should be interested in seeking out those candidates who align themselves with our positions. We should not be afraid to ask candidates what their opinions are on the issues stated in the MARSP mission statement. Will they support efforts to enhance pension and health care benefits for all Michigan public school retirees? How?
One of the issues we’d hoped to see addressed in the FY 2022-23 state budget was tax relief for public school retirees born after 01/01/1946. We haven’t seen a deal yet, so we will continue our efforts to bring about repeal. Please continue contacting your legislators by letter, email, over the phone or in person. You can also click here to get in touch with your elected officials and let them know your experience and position on this issue.
We will continue to update MARSP members as discussions on tax relief begin. For an up-to-date list of bills we are monitoring, visit the Advocacy page on the MARSP website.