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Reeves Says he will Refuse State Health Insurance Benefits until Texas Teachers have same benefits as State Lawmakers

Center Businessman and GOP Activist tells, “No Teacher Left Behind” Group that Texas Teachers deserve better health insurance benefits

Lufkin, Texas — On Saturday, Republican State Senate candidate Bob Reeves told a large group of professional educators gathered at a rally in Lufkin at the Angelina Courthouse that Texas teachers should receive access to the same affordable health care benefits that other state employees and lawmakers get.

Reeves, a sixteen-year school board member, long time Republican activist and former Republican County Chairman who is seeking the Senate District 3 seat being vacated by incumbent Todd Staples said that it was unfair that many public school teachers did not have access to affordable health insurance for them and their families.

Reeves said that, if elected, he would refuse to accept the health insurance benefits provided to State Legislators until such time as all public school teachers in Texas have access to comparable benefits.

“I think it is blatantly unfair to ask our teachers to provide one of the most important jobs in the state—educating our children, yet not provide them with adequate and affordable health insurance benefits, while at the same time members of the Texas Legislature have access to the finest quality health insurance benefits at absolutely no cost,” Reeves said.

“If I am elected to the Texas Senate, I will notify the Lieutenant Governor that I will not accept the health insurance benefits normally made available to members of the Legislature until such time as legislation has been passed giving every Teacher in the State access to those same quality insurance benefits,” Reeves added.

Reeves also told the group of assembled educators that as State Senator he would work for the reinstatement of full state funding for each member of the state’s teacher retirement system. Reeves said ten years ago, lawmakers reduced the state’s contribution from 7.31 percent to the current six percent. He also said that he would work to maintain the retirement rule of 80 for current Teacher Retirement System members, grandfather during the 79th Texas Legislature.

“We entrust teachers with our most valuable resource, our children,” said Reeves. They are doing a good job and we should pay our teachers a decent wage for the important work they do, Reeves said.

-more- Reeves Says he will Refuse State Health Insurance Benefits, page two

Reeves said that information compiled from the Austin American Statesman said that Texas students ranked third in the nation in regards to standardized test scores, yet Texas ranked 32nd out of fifty states in average teacher pay.

Reeves said that because of Texas’ low nationwide ranking in Teacher pay many college students and graduates who might wish to pursue a career in education are opting for careers in other fields. Reeves said that helps contribute to a lower overall quality of education in the state. “We must improve teacher pay in order to attract the brightest and the best,” he added.

“If we are truly going to make providing a quality education a top priority in Texas, then we must pay the teachers who provide that education a salary that recognizes the important role they play in our communities. We must provide them with a meaningful pay raise and health insurance benefits to bring them in line with the pay and benefits teachers receive in other states,” Reeves added.

Reeves said he was a conservative Republican and was not advocating raising taxes, but said that Texas must prioritize its overall spending priorities.

“All across the 3rd Senate District, Republicans tell me that their number one concern is providing a top quality education for their children and grandchildren,” If we truly hope to accomplish that goal we must move Texas from being ranked 38th out of 50 in the amount of money spent per student in our public schools, “ Reeves said. “Increasing teacher and benefits is an issue that the majority of Republicans and Texans support,” he concluded.

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2006 Friends of Bob Reeves