“It’s important to talk to us and express your views.”
That was the message Sen. Paul Formica gave to nearly 100 retired teachers who converged on the State Capitol today for Retired Teachers’ Lobby Day.
The event, organized by CEA-Retired, AFT Connecticut, and the Association of Retired Teachers of Connecticut gave retirees the opportunity to meet face-to-face with their elected representatives to discuss issues of importance to students and active and retired teachers.
Retired Stratford teacher Lynnette Baroni attended for the first time and said she was pleased to see that so many legislators understand the need to honor their commitments to retired teachers.
Baroni was able to meet directly with Representative Joe Gresko to discuss the need to preserve teachers’ pension and health care benefits and decouple SBAC from evaluations.
“He was personable and really seemed interested in hearing our point of view. I was very happy to hear him tell us that he supports our issues and is a cosponsor of SB 380,” she said.
CEA-R member Lisa Bress said her legislators were not available today but that didn’t stop her from getting her message to them about the need to support SB 380, the bill that would delink SBAC from teacher evaluations.
“They were not available to meet with me, but I communicated with them via email and educated them on our issues. I also went to their offices to drop off fact sheets with their staff people,” she said.
Bress said that while in-person meetings with legislators are priceless, “we should use every communication method available to reach our legislators.”
She emphasized,“We need to use social media to communicate our message and email legislators whenever we can.”
Bress made a comment on Facebook about Rep. Brandon McGee, a member of the Education Committee, after he voted against SB 380.
“After I left a comment, he called me at home and I explained our position. He said he is now more informed and that he learned a lot from me. Hopefully he will now support the bill,” she added.
CEA-R Vice President Bill Murray told the retirees that it’s important to talk to legislators about their concerns.
“This is where it happens and we are taking action to educate legislators on our issues. What we are doing makes a difference,” he said.
To contact your legislators, visit www.cea.org/takeaction.