Chris Turner is a lifelong Texan who has spent his adult life working for the basic principles of the Democratic Party: expanding opportunity for all Texans to have access to good jobs, quality schools and affordable health care and protecting the civil rights and workers rights of all Americans.
The son of a teacher and grocer, Chris grew up in a middle class family in Dallas. Chris attained the rank of Eagle Scout at 16 and attended Skyline High School, where he served as senior class president. Chris knew early on that he was drawn to public service, so he majored in government in college and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin. It was at UT that Chris worked on his first of many Democratic campaigns.
Working for Democratic Principles
Not long after graduating, Turner returned to North Texas to become the executive director of the Tarrant County Democratic Party. It was in Arlington that he met Lisa, whom he would marry in 1999. Lisa and Chris lived the better part of a decade in South Arlington and their two kids graduated from Mansfield Summit High School.
Chris served as a campaign manager for Congressman Chet Edwards in four tough elections – successfully directing the campaigns that gave Edwards the distinction of representing the most Republican district in America to be held by a Democrat. Chris also served as Edwards’ district director in his congressional office.
Serving Tarrant County in the State House
In 2008, Chris ran for the Texas House of Representatives in southern Tarrant County and unseated a three-term incumbent in a district that had been in GOP hands for two decades. As a state representative, Chris’s priorities included reforming our insurance system to protect the interests of consumers, providing veterans the benefits they have earned, fighting for better funding for public schools, making college more affordable, strengthening DWI laws to protect families from repeat offenders, and lowering utility rates for Texas families.
Making a Difference for Texas Families
Chris had significant legislative successes in his first session: he passed the landmark law that established a dedicated lottery scratch off ticket to benefit the Permanent Fund for Veterans Assistance, generating up to $9 million per year to pay for much-needed benefits for Texas veterans and returning soldiers. Chris also wrote the law that requires electric utility companies to provide notice to consumers when their contract is about to expire.
His work on veterans’ issues led to Chris receiving numerous awards including: “Legislator of the Year” by the Texas Veterans of Foreign Wars, “Legislator of the Year” by the Vietnam Veterans of America, Texas State Council and the bi-partisan Legislative Veterans’ Caucus’ “Freshman of the Year.” He was also given the “Leadership Award” by the Texas Veterans Commission.
In addition, Chris was named “Freshman of the Year,” by Texas Watch for his work on consumer protection issues and “Best of the House” by the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas (CLEAT).
Chris’s primary focus as a representative was attending to the needs of his constituents and district. He attended hundreds of community meetings in his term in office and he hosted numerous town halls and seminars to provide constituents with information on how to pay for college, lower utility bills and get help with veterans benefits.