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www.gae.org | 23 • Continue the conversation. In any relationship, if you are given a “no” and you just go away, the conversation ends, and the relationship dies. However, if you take time to discuss other issues—ones on which commonality might exist--, you begin to build a rapport. Don’t just contact your legislators when you want something. Be aware of what they are doing “back home” when the legislature is not in session. Attend their events. Communicate with them throughout the year. • Stay connected throughout the year. • Think of creative ways to involve your legislators back home. • Publicize these back home meetings in your local newsletter and newspaper. And who else besides legislators should be on our radar to lobby those 365 days or so? Remember your local school board, the State School Board, the Professional Standards Commission (PSC), Teachers Retirement System (TRS, and Department of Community Health Board, and your US Congressmen and Senators all need to hear from you! Why should you build a relationship with your legislator? Think about who the decision makers are concerning your public-education life in such arenas as the following: • your salary • health care coverage • health care co-pays • school budget • length of the school year • social security participation • employee rights • class size • length of the work day • retirement benefits Every education decision IS a political decision, and every work-related decision in a school employee’s life is made by politicians or someone appointed or hired by politicians. I don’t know about you, but I want to have some input into what happens in my professional life. If I don’t advocate for my profession, who will? Remember you are the expert in the realm of public education. You know more about the profession than anyone else who is not in the trenches 140-190 days a year. Don’t be a bystander. Don’t be a victim. Be an advocate for your profession, not just one day a year but 365 days or so. GAE-RETIRED UPCOMING EVENTS NEA-Retired Organizing Conference March 24-26 Sheraton Atlanta Hotel 165 Courtland Street, NE Atlanta, GA 30303 Register online at: http://bit.ly/1CV8c7C GAE-Retired All Member Conference April 17 Atlanta Renaissance Concourse Hotel (Time TBA) NEA-Retired Annual Meeting June 28-29 Orlando, Florida (Time TBA)


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