This week and next, I will be joining many of our neighbors at events honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
During these celebrations of Dr. King’s life, we will often be reminded of his work fighting each and every day for equality and justice for all. I hope you will join me in honoring his legacy and his work not just this week or next, but each and every day of the year.
It’s easy to be distracted by the divisive rhetoric we hear in our state and country sometimes, especially in the midst of a presidential election. But as Dr. King understood so well, our diversity is a strength, not a weakness, and the differences we have pale in comparison to our shared goals and values. It’s up to us to remind others – and ourselves– of this and speak out against those who would divide us. We must be vocal advocates for our communities, our nation and our world. In Dr. King’s words, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
(Click below for locations and times)
Last month, the Speaker of the House announced the creation of the House Select Committee on Mental Health, appointing thirteen lawmakers to address a complex issue that touches every Texan in one way or another. As the only Tarrant County legislator on this committee, I look forward to the opportunity to better understand our community’s concerns on this topic and share them with my colleagues in the Legislature.
Beginning early next year, the Committee will start to take a serious look at current mental health and substance abuse services and how state agencies, in partnership with local governments and other entities, can collaborate to address critical needs across our state.
My staff and I have recently spent a great deal of time learning about what state agencies, local governments, first responders, school districts, non-profits, and others are doing to address mental health care. We’ve learned a lot already but know that we’ve just scratched the surface of this very complicated issue.
There’s a few things I am already certain of, though – mental health issues do not discriminate, every Texan is impacted and there are not enough resources to offer adequate support to those in need.
Interest and fees trap low-income families in a cycle of debt | 850 vehicles a week repossessed by auto-title lenders | Legislature must act
BY CHRIS TURNER
Special to the Star-Telegram
Can you imagine taking out a $500 loan and it costing more than $1,100 to pay it back?
Every day in the Fort Worth-Arlington metro area, many of our neighbors are doing just that and paying up to 484 percent in interest and fees on small, short-term “payday” and auto-title loans.
These absurd interest rates are completely legal in Texas, due to the inaction of the Legislature, which refuses to pass meaningful reforms to rein in what is largely an unregulated industry.
As a result, payday and auto-title lenders are allowed to charge unlimited interest and fees, effectively trapping low-income families in a cycle of debt.
“Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid. They have earned our undying gratitude.”
– President Harry S. Truman
Today we honor the men and women whose bravery and commitment to defend our freedom has made our nation great. In the words of President Truman, the service of these incredible men and women can never be repaid and they have indeed earned our undying gratitude. Today and every day, we should celebrate our nation’s heroes.
As we pause today to thank our veterans, we must not forget their families and the countless sacrifices they have made.
Please join me in paying tribute to those who have served our nation and fought to protect our freedom. They have truly earned our lasting respect and gratitude.