If educators and other Texas voters succeed in electing M.J. Hegar to the U.S. Senate to replace President Trump’s lapdog, John Cornyn, the deposed senator would have an early start on financial security in retirement. Even while he receives his $174,000 Senate pay, he already has been collecting state retirement payments worth more than the average salary of a Texas teacher.
I don’t have an up-to-date figure, but eight years ago he was receiving more than $62,000 a year in combined annual payments from the Judicial Retirement System of Texas, the Employees Retirement System of Texas and the Texas County and District Retirement System, according to a 2013 report in The Dallas Morning News.
The average teacher pay in Texas is about $57,000, and most educator pensions are nowhere near that much. Remember, Cornyn has consistently supported Trump policies, including the president’s pressure on governors to reopen schools prematurely during a deadly pandemic, which has forced many teachers to resign to protect their health or take early retirement, which they can’t really afford.
The disparity in retirement security stems from the fact that the elected officials who create the public pension systems are more willing to take care of each other than provide financial security for educators. Before he was elected to the Senate in 2002, Cornyn held a succession of state offices, including Texas attorney general, a seat on the Texas Supreme Court and a state district judgeship in San Antonio.
Once he leaves the Senate, Cornyn will be eligible for a federal pension to add to his state pensions, and he can qualify for lifetime health insurance.
At some point, Cornyn also will begin receiving full Social Security payments, unlike many educators who are penalized by two Social Security provisions, the Windfall Elimination Provision and the Government Pension Offset, which Congress has refused to change.
That is another reason for Texas voters to change senators.