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Retired Teachers Ask Legislators to Honor Commitments

CEA Retired members listen to CEA Retirement Specialist Robyn Kaplan-Cho explain the details of legislative proposals during a retired teachers' lobby day this morning.

CEA Retired members listened to CEA Retirement Specialist Robyn Kaplan-Cho explain the details of legislative proposals during a retired teachers’ lobby day this morning at the State Capitol.

Retired teachers turned out in droves today at the State Capitol to tell their legislators why it’s so important that the state fully honor its commitments to retirees. “It’s extremely important to be here today,” said CEA Retired member Althea Carr. “Our legislators need to know about the issues that concern us.”

“If legislators don’t hear from us, they won’t know what issues are important to us – and they work for us,” said Ann Grosjean.

Grosjean and Carr were just two of the twenty plus CEA Retired members who joined their retired AFT Connecticut colleagues and members of the Association of Retired Teachers of Connecticut at today’s lobby day.

CEA Retired member Rose Marie D’Aquila said, “This is my first time coming to a lobby day at the Capitol. I’ve only be retired for two years, but I was very active with CEA as a teacher and I’d like to stay involved.”

CEA Retired President Gloria Brown meets with Senator Joe Markley.

CEA Retired President Gloria Brown spoke with Senator Joe Markley.

The issues of particular importance that the retirees highlighted with their legislators were the need for the state to fully fund its portion of the Retired Teachers’ Health Insurance Fund and their support for Governor Malloy’s proposal for a partial state income tax exemption for retired teachers’ pensions. Click here for details on these legislative issues.

Retired teachers first gathered as a group to hear presentations on the logistics of lobbying at the State Capitol and details of the legislative issues before seeking out their own representatives and senators for conversations.

CEA Retired President Gloria Brown met with her state senator, Joe Markley, in his office. She explained the issues to him and asked if she could count on his support. Markley acknowledged he knew little about the proposal to partially exempt retired teachers’ pensions from state income tax and therefore wasn’t sure if he could support it, but said he would look into the issue further.

As far as fully funding the state’s portion of the Retired Teachers’ Health Insurance Fund, Markley said, “We’ve got to fund it. The issue is finding the money.”

Rep. Theresa Conroy told the retired educators, "“You’re well spoken, you bring your issues to us very thoughtfully.”

Rep. Theresa Conroy told the retired educators, “You’re well spoken, you bring your issues to us very thoughtfully.”

He told Brown, “If a serious proposal comes along that doesn’t hurt someone else, I would support it.”

Many legislators later stopped in to speak with the retirees over lunch.

Rep. Mike Demicco told the retired educators, “As a former teacher I’m very sympathetic to all of your issues. I will work as hard as I can to make sure they are resolved in your favor.”

He urged the retirees to “keep up the pressure on your representatives and senators.”

“More teachers need to attend these types of events,” said Carr. “I would encourage other retirees to bring a friend and get the word out to their colleagues. Legislators need to hear from us and need to know our concerns.”

 

 

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