Each month, Thurston Community Media (TCMedia)’s Mission Nonprofit connects with local organizations and agencies that are making positive impacts in our communities. This month, Mission Nonprofit host Robert Kam sat down with Clair Olivers, president of the Retired Public Employees Council of Washington (RPEC), and Bev Hermanson, RPEC Political Action Committee chair.
The nonprofit has been advocating for retired state, county, city and local government employees since 1971. With 30 chapters in 9 Districts statewide, they work with other organizations including Alliance for Retired Americans, the Washington Senior Citizens’ Lobby and Public Employees for Pension Responsibility (PEPR) that all share the same mission to help retired state employees.
Their work includes promoting legislation for improving financial and medical benefits and be a resource for their over 13,000 volunteer members. “Our purpose is to protect and enhance the earned benefits of these retirees,” explains Olivers.
RPEC works closely with congressional delegations on things like social security, Medicaid, Medicare, pensions, property taxes, etc. “The more members we have, the stronger our voice, the more affective our outreach is,” Olivers says.
While the Retired Public Employees Council of Washington has professional staff, a lot of the outreach to legislators is made by the thousands of volunteer members.
Political Action Committee
The Retired Public Employees Council of Washington is one of the top Political Action Committees (PAC) in the state. All the funds used for the PAC come from within the organization, from the members. These PACS are non-partisan and the money is then used to help further the mission. For example, for the last two years in a row they helped secure cost of living adjustments. “Now we’re working really hard to make it be reoccurring so that we don’t have to fight that battle every year, we can fight something else that we need,” shares Hermanson.
To join RPEC, you have to have retired from state, city, county, special districts – such as water, PUD, ports etc. – corrections and public school non-teacher staff. “This state allows any three people that want to get together to form a municipality of some kind and so there’s lots of them out there and they’re all eligible,” shares Olivers. “Their entity has to join the retirement system, but almost all of them do, so they’re all eligible.”
For more information, watch the full video above and visit the Retired Public Employees Council of Washington website. You can also call 360.532.8262 for information about becoming a member.
You can watch Mission Nonprofit on channel 77 on Sundays at 4:30 p.m., Tuesdays at 7 p.m., Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., and Saturdays at 6:30 p.m. You can also watch on TCMedia.org, Video On-Demand or our Roku channel. To learn more about what TCMedia does, visit the Thurston Community Media YouTube channel or the TC Media website and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.