October 28, 2014
“Let’s Have a Peaceful Revolution!”
Steve Massey, President
Since the firing of the shot heard ‘round the world’ in April, 1775, and achievement of independence for the United States of America less than a decade later, our nation has been in a state of continuous revolt. Yes, at first it required actual warfare, but with establishment of the Constitution and a permanent form of government before the end of the 1780’s, everything turned peaceful.
Yes, the new thirteen states – plus the 37 that would follow in the next two centuries – and the new federal government seated in Washington. D. C., would settle into a peaceful revolution – every two years. This peaceful revolution came in the form of elections. What a blessing for us as citizens of this great republic and the state of Oklahoma!
Tuesday, November 4, all registered voters will have the opportunity to participate in this ongoing peaceful revolution by voting in the general election. Various seats in the U. S. House of Representatives and Senate will be filled. In addition, a number of critical positions will be decided for the Oklahoma House of Representatives and Senate.
We’ll have the opportunity to elect those who will lead us. Should we take this for granted?
Just like some American colonists who did not participate in the war for independence, it appears there are many present day Oklahomans who don’t involve themselves in state and federal elections. They don’t vote!
During a recent Oklahoma primary election for a legislative seat, reports indicate that as few as four percent of eligible voters actually went to the polls, deciding who would represent them and the remaining 96%. That’s hard to believe and accept!
Nonetheless, this election example is an important indicator of the importance of the one vote that you will cast November 4 (or before, through permissible early voting). Imagine combining your vote with the other 56,000 retired Oklahoma educators, plus their family members and friends, in favor of our common goals. And let’s not forget the tens of thousands of active education employees who share interests similar to ours.
Together, speaking with one voice, Oklahoma’s retired and active educators can have a major influence on those elected to lead us at the state and national levels.
In the October issue of the OREA “News Bulletin,” you were presented a list of OREA Fund-recommended candidates running for statewide and legislative office. Look them over, please. If you like them, vote for them November 4. But, most importantly, vote. Let’s play our part in America’s peaceful revolution.
“Retired Educators Give Nod to Joe Dorman
and Dr. John Cox in General Election”
The Oklahoma Retired Educators Association, the state’s voice for more than 55,000 retired public school, career technology, and higher education employees, announced today that it is recommending to its members the candidacies of Joe Dorman and Dr. John Cox in the November 4 general election. Dorman is a candidate for Governor and Cox is seeking the office of State Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Norman Cooper, OREA Executive Director, said the organization carefully studied the platforms and overall qualifications of all candidates in the two statewide races, concluding that Dorman and Cox offer great potential for progress in public education, as well as protection and improvement of the state’s largest public pension plan, the Oklahoma Teachers’ Retirement System.
“Public education at all levels in Oklahoma has seen a dramatic decline in funding in recent years, particularly since the Great Recession of 2008-09. The current governor and state superintendent have failed to champion public education as the most important driver of economic prosperity and quality of life improvement in our state. As other states make educational progress, Oklahoma continues to lag behind. We place responsibility for that on the state’s current political leaders,” Cooper said.
Cooper said that “Joe Dorman has pledged his support for improved public education funding, as well as protection of the Teachers’ Retirement System from politically motivated attacks by powerful forces inside and outside Oklahoma. We strongly believe he will advocate for tax policies fair to all citizens, and will strive to preserve the financial security that TRS offers to tens of thousands of retired education employees.
“Dr. John Cox will bring a breath of fresh air as the state’s new school leader. He will work to eliminate the constant state of controversy that has existed for almost four years due to the divisive behavior of the outgoing superintendent. He will place focus on student instruction, not excessive student testing, and he will seek to involve local school district parents and officials in the education of our students at all levels. Legislators, too, will find Dr. Cox a highly reasonable and consummate professional, as he works with them to craft laws governing public education,” Cooper said. Cox will also serve as a member of the Teachers’ Retirement System Board of Trustees, where he will strongly defend the structural integrity of the pension system, Cooper concluded.
“OREA Fall Meetings: Making Life Better for Retired Educators”
Kicking off a new year of advocacy for retired educators in Oklahoma, OREA members are invited to attend fall membership and legislative meetings at one of eight Oklahoma locations from late September through October.
Everyone attending will receive a $10 lunch stipend, but more importantly will be able to participate in a program aimed at increasing OREA membership and legislative strength. Members will give their views regarding the association’s 2015 legislative agenda. Making life better for Oklahoma’s 55,000 retired educators will be the focal point of each meeting.
No reservations are necessary. Show up, participate, enjoy, and get $10. Dress is whatever makes you comfortable. Attend any meeting, regardless of where you live.
Hope to see you at one of the following meetings!
- September 25 (Th) – Southeast District, Choctaw Tribal Headquarters, Tuskahoma, OK, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
- October 1 (W) – North Central District, Meridian Technology Center, 1312 S. Sangre Road, Stillwater, OK, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
- October 10 (F) – East Central District, Tahlequah Public Library,
120 S. College, Tahlequah, OK, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
- October 15 (W) – Tulsa County/Northeast Districts, Tulsa Technology Center, Lemley Campus, 3420 S. Memorial, Tulsa,
1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
- October 21 (T) – Southwest District, Southwest Technology Center, 711 W. Tamarack Road, Altus, OK, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
- October 23 (Th) – Capitol/Central Districts, OREA Headquarters, 323 E. Madison, Oklahoma City, OK, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
- October 24 (F) – South Central District, Southern Oklahoma Technology Center, 2610 Sam Noble Parkway, Business Center Room 204, Ardmore, OK,
9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
- October 28 (T) – Northwest District, Northwest Technology Center, 801 Technology Drive, Fairview, OK, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
MEMBERS RECRUITING MEMBERS: WHY DIDN'T SOMEONE THINK OF IT BEFORE?
Click on the link below for a 2014-15 membership form and the simple rules of the new OREA member recruiting plan. Aimed at growing the already strong OREA membership base to strengthen the retired educator voice in all the places it's needed, the "Member Recruiting Members" program is so simple, yet has great potential. And, if you elect to take part, it could put some extra dollars in your purse or wallet. Take a look at the program, and we hope you'll utilize the OREA membership enrollment materials to recruit new members. We'll all be better off if you do.
2014 -15 Membership Enrollment Form & The Basics of the Program
“State Board Adopts 2015 Health Insurance Rates”
The Oklahoma Employees Insurance and Benefits Board (OEIBB) met Friday, August 1, in Oklahoma City to adopt premium rates for HealthChoice insurance programs for active and retired state and education employees for the calendar year beginning January 1, 2015.
The news is very good for retired educators participating in the HealthChoice Medicare Supplement with Part D pharmacy program, but not so good for those retired but not yet qualified for Medicare.
For retired educators in the Medicare Supplement with Part D program, the 2015 monthly premium rate will be $16.10 less than 2014, for a rate reduction of 4.98%. The new monthly rate of $307.28 is the result of recent favorable claims experience, combined with a monthly subsidy of $29.34 from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The $307.28 monthly rate does not include the Teachers’ Retirement System subsidy ranging from $102 to $105 per month for qualifying retirees, which will further reduce out-of-pocket expense for insurance premiums.
Almost 32,000 retired state and education employees and dependents participate in the Medicare Supplement with Part D program.
For retired educators not yet qualified for Medicare, the adopted 2015 premium for the high option plan is $499.42, up $14.55 from 2014 – a hike of 3.00%. The new rate reflects an OEIBB subsidy of $24.64 per member per month. Stated differently, the subsidy will make the monthly premium $24.64 less than it would be without the subsidy.
Less than 9,000 retired state and education employees and dependents participate in the pre-Medicare program, representing less than 10% of the approximately 109,000 individuals covered by the plan.
OREA representatives were on hand for the adoption of 2015 premiums, having already provided input on behalf of retired educators early in the rate-setting process.
Members with questions about state-sponsored health, life, dental, and disability programs are invited to contact the OREA office.
NEW MEMBER BENEFIT!
OFFICE DEPOT SAVINGS PROGRAM
OREA has partnered with Office Depot® to bring you a FREE discount program. Save up to 80% off preferred products!
- Shop online with FREE next day delivery on orders over $50 (excludes furniture orders)
- Shop in one of Oklahoma’s 17 stores
To shop online or print off your in-store savings card, click here:
Now Available...Join Online.
It's quick and easy.
This option is only available
for the OREA (State) Annual Membership.
Click here for information and to join
“Program Ideas for Local Unit Meetings and Activities”
Need a new, fresh program idea for your local county meeting? Thanks to the OREA Communications Committee and the Tulsa Metro Retired Educators Association for their suggestions.
Click here for lots of amazing ideas
Ever wonder how OREA members become officers, board members, or committee chairs? Perhaps there are members who would like to
become more active in the association but aren't certain of the way
officers are elected and the responsibilities of each. Click here for
an overview of officers, board members, and committee chairs
how they achieve an office.
CALL OREA DIRECT
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