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2020 NEA Retired Annual Meeting and NEA Representative Assembly

                                                                         By Bobbie Margo


This year’s 37th NEA Retired Annual Meeting was held virtually from June 29-30, 2020.  Virtually means that each and every one of the attendees could attend in their own homes, offices, etc.  For myself, I was able to attend in my rumpled house clothes and no one was the wiser!! 


President Sarah Borgman called the meeting to order; the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem were done by NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia.  Garcia sang and played her guitar.  Lily then spoke briefly.  She informed us that the NEA-R Annual Meeting and the NEA Representative Assembly were not canceled-the venue was just changed to accommodate a virtual meeting.  She continued-retirees are powerful and retirees are strong..  We as retirees ourselves are a current event now, and we will continue to demonstrate our power and our strength!  Garcia also reminded us that, come September 1, she will be one of us!  AND our membership keeps growing-at last count-we are 321,985 STRONG!


The agenda for the virtual Retired Annual Meeting allowed delegates to meet for 2 days, 2 hours each day.  As such, there was no discussion on new business items.  However, there was discussion and debate on one proposed amendment to the NEA-R Bylaws-Article VII, Section 2-and proposing a new Subsection C.  This new subsection relates to the NEA R President serving temporarily as the duly elected alternate for NEA R members of the NEA Board of Directors in the event that no alternate is available.


Borgman then delivered her address as President and reminded us that our Retired Annual Meeting was scheduled to be held in Atlanta, Georgia, and that she would be enjoying southern hospitality and drinking iced tea.  She challenged us to take the “Ts” in ability, creativity, responsibility, activity, possibility, and opportunity and make those words work for each and every one of us!  The remainder of day one was used to present Awards.  Our own Education Minnesota Retired won First Place in the category of the greatest Percentage of Membership Gain with 1.052%.  ED MN R also received the recognition of being added to the Membership Hall of Fame.  Any award winner that has earned a Membership Award three times in the same category becomes a member of the Hall of Fame.  (ED MN has done so in this category)  Once receiving the Hall of Fame designation, the winner is not eligible to win in the same category for three years thereafter.  Way to go ED MN RETIRED!!!


The second day of our virtual meeting concluded with candidate speeches.  Voting for candidates and the aforementioned by-law will be done by secret mail-in ballot this year.  This year we did not have to pack up our “stuff” to change hotels.  (in my case, I just put on different rumpled house clothes!)  We were able to attend the 158th Annual Meeting and the 98th NEA Representative Assembly-virtually.  Meetings were held July 2-3, 2020 for 5 hours each day.


In her keynote address, President Lily Eskelsen Garcia reminded us to speak up, to speak out and to speak for the National Association so that it can continue to do its work.  Some 7,289 delegates listened to messages from former First Lady Michelle Obama and from former Vice President Joe Biden.  Each thanked the delegates for demonstrating to their students the determination that it takes to create a better future for themselves and for their communities.


Other speeches included those from:  Tabatha Rosproy-Teacher of the Year, Elizabeth Davenport-Higher Educator of the Year, Andrea Beeman-ESP of the Year, Kim Anderson-newly hired NEA Executive Director (first woman and individual of color to be the NEA Executive Director)  Candidate speeches were also given.  This year, voting for candidates will be done by secret mail-in ballot along with voting to approve the NEA 2020-2022 Strategic Plan and Budget and whether to endorse former Vice President Joe Biden for President of the United States in the November 2020 election.


The 2021 Representative Assembly will be held on July 2-6 in Denver, Colorado.  On behalf of Victoria Ellis, Charles Hellie, Julie Jagusch, Diane Larson, Walt Munsterman, Judy Rohde, Jayne Schwalbach, Wes Tessman, and myself, we sincerely thank YOU, the members of ED MN Retired for giving us the opportunity to represent our state and our retired organization.  We represented you with pride, with purpose and with professionalism!

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