Two years ago, our school district considered becoming a District of Innovation. My colleagues and I were wholeheartedly against this proposition. In looking for guidance to defend our position, I met with ATPE Senior Lobbyist Monty Exter during our 2017 ATPE at the Capitol event. Monty explained the pros and cons of this designation and told me that if I needed anything, to feel free to contact him.
Later that legislative session, as our district’s vote on becoming a District of Innovation drew near, I contacted ATPE Lobbyist Mark Wiggins about a related bill that would help districts like ours avoid the difficulty of pursuing District of Innovation status. Mark responded to me immediately and asked for my thoughts on the bill. He offered to share my input with the bill sponsor and also emphasized that if I needed anything, to feel free to contact him.
While I had not yet donated to ATPE-PAC, those two examples proved to me that it was time to become an active supporter of our political action committee. It was because of the help and guidance from our ATPE lobbyists that my colleagues and I were successful in stopping our district from becoming a District of Innovation. ATPE lobbyists are available to listen to your thoughts and opinions on a particular piece of legislation and are always eager to help. I witnessed firsthand their accessibility and willingness to guide me, and, for me, it solidified the importance of contributing to ATPE-PAC.
In order for our lobbyists to successfully advocate for our professional interests in Austin, they also need to establish and maintain strong relationships with Texas lawmakers. As ATPE members, our voluntarily donations to ATPE-PAC provide funds for campaign contributions that can help our lobbyists build those important connections with lawmakers. Your donations to ATPE-PAC enable us to financially support legislative allies who are fighting alongside our lobby team this session and beyond. The 2020 elections will be here before we know it, so it’s important we shore up our ATPE-PAC bank account today.
I hope you join me in contributing to ATPE-PAC. Visit atpe.org/pac-donate to contribute. With your contribution, we can stand side by side in advocating for public education and supporting the more than five million students who attend Texas public schools.
I look forward to seeing your name, along with mine, on the list of contributors to ATPE-PAC.
Benjamin Lozano is a seventh-grade history teacher at BL Garza Middle School in Edinburg CISD and the chair of the 2018-19 ATPE-PAC Committee.
ATPE-PAC solicits contributions only from ATPE members, employees, and their families. Participation in ATPE-PAC is voluntary. Members can contribute any amount or nothing at all without affecting their ATPE membership status, rights, or benefits.