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Thoughts from the President

Vicki Smith

First, I would like to pause to express our deepest sympathy to Representative Tomas Salazar at the passing of his mother. There is little one can say at this time of bereavement but to express our heartfelt sympathy to Tomas and ask the Lord to provide the comfort and strength to him and his family at this most difficult hour.

Secondly, I want to express my gratitude to all who were so faithful during the 2019 Legislative Session. Through your tenacity the essential legislation was passed to ensure the solvency of our retirement pensions.

A very special thank you to Russell Goff for all of his demanding and difficult work, our loyal and faithful Rep. Tomas Salazar who carried our bills, Pauline Rindone for her work last fall with our legislative committee in helping us prepare for the Legislative Session, Senator Jeff Steinborn for sponsoring SB 664 which provides for a surviving spouse or domestic partner to be considered a beneficiary if the deceased member of the educational retirement plan has not designated a beneficiary, Senator Mimi Stewart and Representative Sheryl Stapleton in sponsoring memorials recognizing NMAER Day in the Senate and the House of Representatives.

I certainly don’t want to overlook those who worked so diligently for us all during the session, Terry and Roger Greer, Joe Montano, Linda Carr and her work with the AAls, The City Different REA for assistance at hearings and Senior Day, our lobbyists: Sue Griffith and Richard Romero, the Adopt-A-Legislator volunteers who kept the emails and phone calls flowing, and our faithful partners DeAnza Sapien and the AARP Legislative Council. I’m sure I may have overlooked someone; if I have, please forgive me.

Our work is already cut out for us for the next session. We must begin lobbying our own local Senators and Representatives NOW -- NOT NEXT JANUARY, in order to pass the necessary required solvency to our Retiree Health Care.

A special congratulations to Annette Johnson, newly elected President of the New Mexico AARP. I know our partnership with NMAARP will become even stronger. They not only work along side of us in New Mexico, but at the national level to protect our Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, not to mention the other issues that arise which affect us as retirees.

Keep tuned in on all fronts. Right now in Washington, lawmakers and policy experts are grappling over the future of our Social Security that some claim is in serious trouble. Supporters of this agenda to slash funding for Social Security and Medicare are talking about cutting our earned benefits to reduce the federal deficit. We can survive this issue with the help of the AARP and the Retired Teachers Association.

As you’ve heard us say many times before, “DON’T TAKE YOUR BENEFITS FOR GRANTED”.