2016 NEA RAand Retired Annual Meeting

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              By Bobbie Margo
This year’s 33rd NEA Retired Annual Meeting was held at the Renaissance Hotel Downtown in Washington, D.C. from June 29-30, 2016.  The meeting was called to order and Minnesota’s own Charles Hellie sang the National Anthem.
Greetings and speeches were conveyed to us by the NEA’s top 3 Executive Leaders -President Lily Eskelsen Garcia, Vice President Becky Pringle, and Secretary-Treasure Princess Moss.  We, as retirees, were reminded that we have “history.”  Everything in our union lives we have spent years in the fight.  This election is more critical than ever for us to maintain those union rights.
Business was conducted on our final meeting day.  We dealt with 11 New Business Items, and for the fund raising 2016 year, we raised over $105,000.00!  Elections were held and our own Judy Rohde was elected to her second term representing NEA Retired on the NEA Resolutions Committee for the 2017 term.  (CONGRATULATIONS Judy!)  ED MN-R will continue to be represented at the national level.  Also part of our second meeting day was a presentation by NEA Counsel Alice O’Brien.  O’Brien stated that she really likes talking to retirees because when she references the 1960s in her speech, the people in the room actually remember the 60s.  O’Brien reminded us that the Warren Court was the last time that we had a liberal Supreme Court.  Since then, the Court has moved largely to the right-often increasingly detrimental to children and to education.  This upcoming Presidential election has the possibility of being able to return to a more liberal Supreme Court and that means everything to children and to education.
The NEA Retired Annual Meeting adjourned on June 30.  We packed up all of our “stuff” and switched hotels to join our Education Minnesota delegation in order to attend the 94th Annual Representative Assembly-the 153rd Annual Meeting-July 4-7, 2016.  Our hotel was the Capital Hilton which was nice because the delegation was given a choice of two methods of transportation - a Metro Pass or the shuttle bus.
The first day of business on July 4 opened with Minnesota’s own Chelsey Jo Herrig, Chair of the NEA Student Program, leading the Assembly in the Pledge of Allegiance.  The day’s keynote address was given by NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia.  She began her remarks by asking for time to honor and to remember the victims in the recent tragedy in Orlando.  Eskelsen Garcia then reminded us that this is the 50th Anniversary of the NEA-ATA (American Teachers’ Association which represented black teachers in segregated schools) Merger.
The following days included speeches from ESP of the Year, Teacher of the Year, the Friend of Education Award and the Social Justice Activist Award.  In the order of business, delegates elected two individuals to the NEA Executive Committee, along with 5 ESP at-large individuals and 4 at-large Higher Ed individuals to the NEA Board of Directors.  Discussion on the floor for 4 days involved 2 Constitutional Amendments, 3 By-Law Amendments, 125 New Business Items, 7 Standing Rule Amendments, 18 Legislative Amendments, 13 Resolutions, and 4 Amendments to Policy Statements. YIKES!
For those who like numbers:    1) The cost to implement the 125 New Business Items will be $1,035,925.00   
    2) There were 7,725 registered delegates from 50 states and the District
    2) the 2017 RA will be held June 30-July 5 at the Boston Convention Center

On behalf of Charles Hellie, Julie Jagusch, Larry Koenck, Diane Larson, Walt Munsterman, Judy Rohde and myself, we sincerely thank YOU – the members of ED MN Retired for giving us the opportunity to attend NEA.  All of us were very thrilled to be representing our state and our retired organization.  We represented you with pride and professionalism.