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                    By Bobbie Margo

This year’s 34th NEA Retired Annual Meeting was held at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel in downtown Boston, MA from June 26-28, 2017.  Boston is famous for the Boston Tea Party.  Massachusetts is famous for being the home of Horace Mann-a leader in the fight to provide public education for all students.  The meeting of some 400+ participants was called to order with the presentation of the colors of the Flag-arranged with the Haverhill High School ROTC Color Guard.

Greetings and speeches were conveyed to us from NEA’s top 3 leaders-President Lily Eskelsen Garcia, Vice-President Becky Pringle, and Treasurer Princess Moss.  We, as retirees, were reminded that there is constant movement in Congress to repeal and to replace the Affordable Care Act.  This newly proposed legislation has the potential to demonstrate the “slash and burn technique.”  Coverage would be “spotty” with many millions of individuals suffering with the loss of affordable health insurance. 

NEA Executive Director John Stocks also spoke.  He stated that the days of the Bushes and of Reagan could now be termed “the good old days” – compared to what is happening currently in the White House.  Stocks stated that we need M.O.R.E. – to Mobilize, Organize, Recruit, and Engage.  Remember if there are two people in a room, it is an organizing opportunity.

Business was conducted with much discussion centered around 8 New Business Items.  We also had elections for several positions in the NEA-R organization.  Judy Rohde was re-elected to her third term representing NEA-R on the NEA Resolutions Committee.  Bobbie Margo was elected to a position on the NEA-R Executive Council.  (way to go Judy and Bobbie!).  Amethyst Stegbauer, a student member attending UM-Duluth, was awarded a $2500 scholarship.  (All three are in the picture below).


The NEA-R Annual Meeting adjourned on June 28.  Our membership numbers stand at 316,265-an increase of 3,806 from last year.  Fund raising efforts for the year totaled $73,513.00.  We packed up all of our “stuff” and switched hotels to join our Education Minnesota delegation in order to attend the 96th Annual Representative Assembly-the 155th Annual Meeting-July 2-5, 2017.  Our hotel was the Omni Parker House Hotel,

famous for Parker House Rolls and the origin of Boston Crème Pie. (the “Pie” was really mostly cake with hardly any crème at all-bummer!)

The first day of business featured the keynote speech from President Lily Eskelsen Garcia.  She noted that education is about opportunity, access, and equity.  Our diversity and our strength allow us to listen, to debate, to take action-by uniting we will prevail!    This year’s Rep Assembly was all about speeches. (campaign and acceptance)  The top 3 executive positions were up for election. 

Lily Eskelsen Garcia was re-elected as President, Becky Pringle was re-elected as Vice-President, and Princess Moss was re-elected as Treasurer. 

The following days included speeches from the Teacher of the Year (Sydney Chaffee, MA-who told us that education is the fabric of who we are), the ESP of the Year (Saul Ramos, MA-who told us that organizing isn’t everything, it’s the only thing), and the Friend of Education Award (LeVar Burton-who told us that if everyone is thinking alike, then no one is actually thinking-discourse is healthy!)

In the order of further elections and of business, delegates elected 2 individuals to the NEA Executive Committee, along with 7 ESP At-Large candidates to the NEA Board of Directors.  One victorious ESP candidate was Brenda Johnson, MN (way to go Brenda!)  Discussion on the floor for 4 days involved 2 constitutional amendments, 12 standing rule amendments, 8 legislative amendments, 16 amendments to policy statements, 28 amendments to resolutions, and 159 new business items-YIKES!!

For those who like additional numbers: 

1)  the cost to implement the 159 new business items will be $1,062,781.00
2)  there were 7,191 total registered delegates from 50 states and the District
3)  the PAC-Fund for Children and Public Education totaled $1,000,000.00+
4)  the 2018 RA will be June 30-July 5 at the Minneapolis Convention Center!!

On behalf of Julie Jagusch, Sharon Kjellberg, Larry Koenck, Walt Munsterman, Judy Rohde, Lynette Wayne and myself, we sincerely that YOU-the members of ED MN Retired for giving us the opportunity to represent you at NEA. 

All of us were thrilled to be representing our state and our retired organizations.  We represented you with pride and with professionalism.


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