We’re in the home stretch of our annual PAC’s Peak Challenge and hoping to raise $20,000 for ATPE-PAC by July 31. Twila Figueroa is a multi-age/SPED self-contained teacher at Ben Milam Elementary in McAllen ISD. At the 2019 ATPE Summit, she was inducted into the ATPE-PAC Hall of Fame, an honor for those members who have donated $10,000 or more to ATPE-PAC since July 1997. She shares why she’s continued the support the PAC throughout the years. Give today at atpepac.givesmart.com.
I learned long ago that money talks in politics and gets you in the door.
Years ago, during an ATPE lobby day event, I visited two legislators. I had not agreed with the way either of them had voted during the previous legislative session. I went to the first office and introduced myself. I asked to talk with either the senator or his education aide. The receptionist looked at me and said: “There is no one available to speak with you. The registry is outside.” So, I signed the book and left. The person with me asked, “What did you do?” I stated, “I disagreed with him last time.” Next, we went to my state representative’s office. When we walked into the office, his chief of staff met us. We were welcomed by name, offered something to drink, and given a place to sit and talk—without our even asking. We had a great conversation, even though we didn’t agree on everything. After we left, my friend asked me why it was so different at the second office. I told him, “I donated money to his campaign.”
Another time with a different representative, I stopped by the office around lunchtime. I didn’t think anyone would be available to talk, but I took my chances. I walked in, introduced myself, and asked to speak with either the representative or education aide. The receptionist was starting to tell me no one was available when from the back of the office, I heard the representative say, “Come on back, Twila—we can talk while I eat lunch.” I had donated to her campaign.
If you are worried about your donation not being large enough, don’t be. Legislators understand that teachers don’t make a lot of money. A small donation goes a long way toward getting you in the door and heard. A great way to boost the impact of your donation is by giving that money to ATPE-PAC. By pooling the small donations of our members together, ATPE can make larger, strategic campaign contributions to advance our association’s legislative goals.
If you can’t donate money, then donate your time to their campaign. All legislators need people to make phone calls, stuff mailings, and pass out information. Time is as precious as money.
As a member of the ATPE-PAC Hall of Fame, I know many people think I give big donations. No, I have given a lot of small donations that have added up over time. I’ve been donating to the PAC for over 20 years, and I have encouraged others to do the same. Every little bit helps get our lobby team into legislators’ offices. If every ATPE member donated $10 to ATPE-PAC, it would have over $1 million.
Please go to atpepac.givesmart.com
to make a donation to ensure public education will have the allies it needs when the Texas Legislature reconvenes in 2021.
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.
This article originally appeared in the Winter 2019 edition of ATPE News magazine.