As this turbulent year comes to an end, our team wanted to take some time to share what we have been grateful for, and what we want to achieve in the fight for retirement security next year.
Below, members of our staff share their thoughts on this past year and what they are looking forward to in 2021.
Bridget Early, Executive Director:
One thing that provided such comfort during this year was pensions! When the stock market experienced volatility this spring, I was reassured that millions of hard-working essential public workers did not have to worry about their retirement disappearing. And when unemployment rates increased, I knew that those receiving a pension check still had a steady income, providing stability to those households and their local economies who rely on their business.
Into 2021, I am looking forward to resuming the conversations with public employees, policymakers, and the press I am fortunate to have that lift up the importance of public pensions.
Andrew Collier, Regional Campaign Manager:
This year has brought an unprecedented strain on public employees across the country. The coronavirus pandemic has upended every single life, and public employees have been there for their communities. This year we launched two projects that have highlighted their work. First, the Public Employee Stories series on our blog highlighted public employees giving back to their communities in extraordinary ways. There were the firefighters in Schertz, Texas who donated grocery gift cards to residents and money to local restaurants so they could stay afloat, the middle school teacher in Connecticut who spent his time off delivering groceries to the elderly free-of-charge, and the social worker from Detroit who took time off to start a food kitchen in her community. These are only some of the stories that show public employees have been there for us, as professionals and as volunteers in their communities. These sacrifices should not be forgotten. Second, we here at NPPC launched the Public Pensions Are Earned Campaign that reminded lawmakers that public employees put their lives on the line, protect their communities, and have risen to the occasion throughout the year – and they’ve earned their pensions.
The third major highlight of this year was our coalitions’ hard work in Oklahoma and Wyoming to pass a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for their retired public employees. In Oklahoma, Governor Stitt signed into law HB 3350, which granted retired public employees their first COLA in twelve years. In Wyoming, HB112 passed the state House of Representatives and would have provided two COLAs for retired public employees in 2020 and 2021. Although the bill did not pass the Senate, the Wyoming Coalition for a Healthy Retirement worked hard to bring an important issue to the forefront.
For next year, I’m looking forward to continuing to highlight the hard work of public employees across the country and protecting the pensions they have earned.
Margaret Rogers, Digital Media Specialist
The biggest highlight for me in 2020 was hearing the stories of public employees who stepped up in huge ways for their communities amidst the chaos of the pandemic. In a time of so much uncertainty, it was comforting to know that public employees will always continue showing up to work and doing their jobs.
One thing I’m looking forward to in 2021 is the chance to highlight the ways public employees went above and beyond during the pandemic. A lot of what we do at NPPC is create materials for advocates to give to legislators, and I’m excited to have the opportunity to tell public employees’ stories to the people who are in charge of their retirement security.
Tristan Fitzpatrick, Digital Media Specialist
In 2020, we saw many (unfortunately) familiar faces cite the coronavirus-induced economic downturn to justify their attacks on public employees’ hard-earned and well-deserved pension benefits. I’m grateful for the opportunity to correct these false and misleading claims every week by highlighting why pensions should be protected for public employees on our blog.
I know that next year, there will be even more chances to elevate the importance of pensions, especially as our nation begins recovering from the pandemic. I look forward to continuing to share accurate and reputable information about pensions and their ability to offer a secure retirement, whether through blogs or other materials like graphics, videos, and more.