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The video of Wednesday’s rally can be viewed at: https://youtu.be/T3bc7xhpfNg

By Jim Bardwell/Gladewater Mirror

Texas teachers are fed up and they want elected officials in Austin to “Remember Mark White.”

White was elected Texas governor in 1983 thanks to the backing of Texas teachers. And when he didn’t honor his campaign promises made to teachers – they joined forces again and voted White out of the governor’s office in 1987.

An estimated 800 retired and active teachers and school employees who rallied July 12 in Longview on the Gregg County Courthouse lawn want Texas legislators to understand history can repeat itself, so stop cutting teacher benefits and start listening to what teachers say.

Teachers dressed in red for solidarity came from Gladewater, White Oak, Longview, Pine Tree, Union Grove and other Northeast Texas school districts. They were joined by fellow teachers, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, maintenance personnel, administrators and others who paid into the Texas retirement system’s pension and/or health insurance from as far away as New Boston and Nacogdoches. They were all urged by rally organizer Suzanne Bardwell to “Use Your Teacher Voice” and let Texas representatives and senators know they plan to vote for the people who support them.

“You are the largest voting bloc in the state of Texas,” Bardwell, a retired teacher of 33 years, told the sea of red that filled the courthouse lawn. “Let me remind you of this: One in 20 Texans is a member of the Texas Retirement System, and teachers and public school employees vote.

“We’ve got to begin using our teacher voices, people. We’ve got to stand together for ourselves. We’ve got to stand for the retirees, and we’ve got to stand for teachers and the public school employees in the system right now.”

The rally was held just ahead of the Legislature’s special session, which began Monday. Gregg County Judge Bill Stoudt, whose wife taught for 30 years, welcomed the large crowd to Longview and “to YOUR courthouse” and urged everyone to get involved and not to become complacent when it comes to decisions made in Austin that affect their pocketbooks and the future of education.

(Read the complete story next week in the Gladewater Mirror)


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