January 18, 2018
Our Proud Recent Past
Texas Alliance for Retired Americans Educational Fund
Report of Recent Developments
TARA-EF is successful on every front. In all its history, Texas seniors have never had such an effective advocacy group!
Our strength begins with our national organization on the 5th floor of the AFL-CIO Building in Washington DC. They carry out an effective lobby for seniors while keeping tabs on all legislative developments for their 37 state affiliates, including Texas. They provide invaluable guidance for a strong and united national seniors’ movement.
At the state level, we have the strong backing of Texas AFL-CIO, several CLC’s, and several affiliated statewide unions. If we find an existing senior organization, we try to get them to affiliate with us for a nominal fee of $25. On our own, we have chapters in each of the seven major metropolitan areas. All of them consist of different union retirees plus community activists. Our 501c4 tax status, finalized at the 2016 convention, enables us to participate broadly in politics.
We campaign, we lobby, we raise funds, we petition, we make phone calls, we send delegations, we march, and we picket. No arena of political struggle is foreign to us. WE make use of every opportunity to partner with responsible organizations that can help further the seniors’ cause.
Because of the vast distances involved in Texas, we rely heavily on telephone and telecommunications. We maintain a killer web site and a large data base for blasting emails across the state. Each of our seven chapters is engaged in social media. The Texas Alliance for Retired Americans Facebook Page recently received its 1000th “like.” In other words, each of our daily postings goes out to over 1000 supporters.
A quick look at http://texasretiredamericans.org shows that we keep up a strong pace of activities. At the beginning of the last quarter of 2017, our retirees were working with the AFL-CIO on flood relief. During that same time, we began doing our part in the national budget fight. We kept abreast of developments from the Texas Legislature. Among the local issues we addressed were a proposed fair hike by the Dallas Area Rapid Transit System. In early October, we celebrated our victory over the Republican effort to kill the Affordable Care Act. In mid-October, three Texans went to Maryland for leadership training with activists from all over the nation. Immediately afterward, we helped spread the word on the Texas AFL-CIO ballot recommendations. The Republican tax bill and budget considerations had to be fought all the way through December. The tax bill became our first major lost battle since we were chartered in 2006, but the final bill was not nearly as horrible as the original proposals, and the Republicans had to pass it with no more than 26% public support!
The Texas Alliance also urged members to become precinct chairs. We began discussing and experimenting with a precinct-by-precinct method of organizing and increasing our electoral clout. On the second day of 2018, we began our campaign to get more progressive seniors to apply to vote by mail.
In our January meetings, TARA chapters were swamped with candidates seeking retiree support.
We continue working on analyzing our strengths and weaknesses in order to develop the strongest possible program at our January 19 biennial convention.