Black History Month

Today marks the start of Black History Month, an annual celebration of African Americans’ incredible achievements and contributions to our nation’s history. During the month of February, I will highlight various African American leaders on social media and on my website. I hope you will join me in honoring these men and women and share the posts among your networks.

This Sunday, February 4th, marks what would have been Rosa Parks’ 105th birthday.  As you may recall, last year I passed a measure to name the Arlington and Grand Prairie portion of the SH 360 South extension the Rosa Parks Memorial Parkway.  This will both honor her legacy and pay tribute to the rich diversity of our community.

Over the last few months, my staff and I have worked with the North Texas Tollway Authority and Dr. Jason Shelton, the Director of the Center for American Studies at the University of Texas at Arlington, to finalize the language for the commemorative plaque that will be installed when the road is complete.  It will read:

The Texas Legislature has designated this important Southeast Tarrant County road the Rosa Parks Memorial Parkway, in honor of an American hero whose courage helped to change our nation for the better. As a black woman in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1955, Ms. Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a city bus to a white man. This act of courage inspired the Civil Rights Movement, which aimed to eliminate racial discrimination and make the American Dream possible for all people. Ms. Parks’ fight for equality and fairness spanned her entire life, as she continued to tackle issues such as affordable housing and public education until her death in 2005.

“I would like to be remembered as a person who wanted to befree…so other people would also be free.” – Rosa Parks 

This spring, there will be an event to open the highway and unveil the plaque.  As we get closer and confirm the details, I will send additional information so that you may mark your calendar.

In the meantime, I hope we can all reflect on the rich contributions of African Americans in Texas and across our nation this Black History Month.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

In my Capitol office, on the wall beside my desk, hang two pictures of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  The photograph on top is of Dr. King waving to an audience of 250,000 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. That day, he gave what many consider his most notable speech and where, in a boomingMLK National Mallvoice, he delivered the words that moved a nation.

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

The picture below it is of Dr. King in the Oval Office, sitting in the foreground, listening, or perhaps deep in thought. President Lyndon B. Johnson can be seen behind him.  I hung thisMLK and LBJphoto as a reminder of the progress these two made addressing civil rights and voting rights. It also serves as a reminder of the constant battle to fight for and to protect these rights.

Today, we remember Dr. King’s words, we celebrate his life and we honor his legacy. Let’s not just focus on thoughts and celebrations. Let’s act.  Let us work collectively to serve our communities and make our cities, state and country a better place for all.

The night before he tragically died, Dr. King delivered his final speech. In it, he challenged those listening to come together to work for the greater good.

He said, “Let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge, to make America what it ought to be. We have an opportunity to make America a better nation.”

These words ring as true today as they did in 1968.

I ask you to please join me in making a commitment to stand with greater determination and to help the people in our communities, our state and our nation. Not just today, but every day.

I filed

Today, I filed for re-election in House District 101 and I released the following statement:

“Serving the constituents of our district is the best and most important part of my job,” Turner said. “I look forward to continuing to work on behalf of Arlington and Grand Prairie by fighting for local priorities, such as transportation. I will also continue to work hard for UT-Arlington, Tarrant County College and the Arlington and Mansfield school districts. 

“In Austin, I look forward to continuing to fight for greater transparency and ethics reform, better access to healthcare, more funding for public education and making higher education attainable for all Texans who want to attend college,” Turner continued.

“And as chair of the House Democratic Caucus, I will continue to oppose the Dan Patrick/Greg Abbott extreme right-wing agenda, which puts divisive, Trump-style politics ahead of the real solutions Texans deserve.”  

Turner has received numerous awards and honors for his legislative service, including “Legislator of the Year” from the Texas Veterans of Foreign Wars (2009), “Best of the House” from the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas (CLEAT) (2013), “Legislative Champion”from Planned Parenthood Texas Votes (2017), the Sierra Club of Texas’ “New Leadership in Environmental Protection Legislative Service Award” (2013), and “Champion of Equality” from Equality Texas (2013 and 2015).

Turner is a native Texan who grew up in Dallas and is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin.  A 20-year Tarrant County resident, Turner lives in Grand Prairie with his wife, Lisa.   

The Democratic primary election will be held on March 6, 2018

ACA & District Spotlight

There has been a lot of talk in recent days (and weeks and months) about the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Unfortunately, much of the focus has been on the attempts to dismantle the law, even though the result could be 32 million Americans losing their health insurance coverage.

The Trump Administration has made it abundantly clear that it wants the ACAACA
to fail, with no concern for what that will mean for millions Americans, including 1.7 million Texans who rely on health care coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

Last week, Trump announced that he would cut payments to insurance companies. These payments offset the costs to insure low- to middle-income Americans and the impact of this reckless decision will have dire con-sequences and many will no longer be able to afford coverage as a result of this decision. Of course, this is just one of many ways that the Trump Administration has deliberately sabotaged the ACA — if you’d like to see a more comprehensive list of other ways they are trying to deny health care to Americans, click here to read a recent New York Times story on the matter.

With just two weeks until Health Insurance Marketplace open enrollment begins, there must be more focus on ensuring that our neighbors are able find and keep their coverage.  Help spread the word — this year’s open enrollment period, which has been shortened considerably from past years — begins November 1st and goes through December 15th.

For more details or to find a health insurance plan, visit the healthcare.govwebsite. For those in House District 101 or in other parts of North Texas, you may also contact the Community Council of Greater Dallas if you have questions about enrolling or about your application.

Around HD 101

Arlington NAACP
On the topic of the Affordable Care Act, last Tuesday, I joined the Arlington NAACP at their monthly general meeting, where they discussed the upcomingACA open-enrollment period.  Since the Health Insurance Marketplace opened, the Arlington NAACP has been on the frontline spreading information about how to apply and helping members of our community sign up for coverage.

Planned Parenthood Texas Votes
On Wednesday, I was honored to receive the “2017 Legislative Champion Award” from my friends at Planned Parenthood Texas Votes. The organization has been instrumental in fighting to increase access to health care across Texas and protect a woman’s right to choose.  I am proud to stand with them.


2017 HD 101 House Christmas Ornament
Every year, members of the Texas House are asked to have an ornament designed to represent their district. For the past several years, talented
students from Tarrant County College Southeast Campus have designed the HD 101 ornament, which will be hung on the Christmas tree on the House floor. On Thursday, I met this year’s artists, Elijio Ledesma (L) and Jose Villa (R), pictured above with TCCSE President Dr. Bill Coppola. The TCCSE students both plan to pursue careers in graphic design. We’ll post close-up pictures of the finished ornament when it’s placed on the tree in the Capitol.

Upcoming Events

Wednesday, October 18
Arlington State of the City Address, Arlington Convention Center, Arlington
For more details, click here.

Monday, October 23 through Friday, November 3
Early Voting 
For locations and times, click here.

Wednesday, October 25
Children First Counseling Center’s Little Lunch of Hope, Pioneer Event Center, Grand Prairie
For more details, click here.

Saturday, October 28
CASA of Tarrant County’s Superhero Walk/Run, Levitt Pavilion, Arlington
For more details, click here.

Sam Houston High School “Destination Success”
For more details, click here.

Tuesday, November 7
Election Day
7:00 AM to 7:00 PM
For polling locations, click here.

Arlington NAACP ACA Enrollment Event 
6:00 to 8:00 PM
Greater Community Baptist Church, 126 E. Park Row, Arlington

Saturday, December 2
Arlington NAACP ACA Enrollment Event 
10:00 AM to 2:00 PM
Greater Community Baptist Church, 126 E. Park Row, Arlington

If you know of an event in or near HD 101 that you would like us to feature, please send an email to


Health Care: Take Action Now!

This week on Capitol Hill, there’s been a lot of talk about the Graham-Cassidy healthcare bill, the Republicans’ latest scheme to repeal Obamacare.

I know that it’s hard to keep track of all the proposals the Republicans in Washington have been floating around; however, according to every report I’ve read, this may be, by far, the most harmful plan yet.

According to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, if Graham-Cassidy becomes law, those with low to moderate incomes, Medicaid recipients (read: seniors, people with disabilities and families with children), and people with pre-existing conditions will be the most negatively impacted. Based on Congressional Budget Office calculations of a previous measure, it’s estimated that a repeal-and-replace plan like Graham-Cassidy could mean 32 million people would lose healthcare coverage.

That’s clearly unacceptable – and that many people losing health coverage simply means that health care costs will skyrocket for everyone as health care providers provide more and more uncompensated care.  If that’s not concerning enough, the federal government will give states block grants and control of how the money is spent, the power to determine what will be covered and how much that coverage will cost. There are several problems with this. Among them, block grants would disappear after 2026, leaving states to fully cover the cost, unless Congress reauthorizes the funding. Even worse, block grants will give state leaders the power to decide whether or not insurance companies have to cover pre-existing conditions, mental health care, substance abuse and maternity care.

I am afraid of what Texas’ leaders would do with the money. Our current governor has been very vocal in his opposition to the Affordable Care Act and has refused to expand Medicaid, which would insure another 1 million Texans. That’s compounded by the fact that our state has a long history of failure when it comes to healthcare.

For example:

  • Two years ago, Texas Republicans directed the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to slash spending for acute therapy services for kids, resulting in thousands of children being denied access to speech, occupational and physical therapy.
  • In 2003, Republicans passed a bill that made it harder for lower-income working families to get CHIP health coverage for their kids. As a result, in the three years after the bill was signed into law, 215,729 children lost access to their health coverage.  To add insult to injury, the bill required the privatization of the implementation of the program, at a cost over nearly $1 billion that resulted in scandal and fiscal mismanagement.

It’s important to point out that it’s not just Democrats who oppose the Graham-Cassidy bill; many Republicans do too. Several Republican and Democratic governors have sent a letter calling on Senate leadership to shelve the Graham-Cassidy measure and instead work toward a bipartisan solution.

I hope more Republicans lend their voice in opposition and soon. This bill is on the fast track.

What can you do to help stop this assault on health care? Join me in contacting Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz to tell them to oppose Graham-Cassidy.

U.S. Senator John Cornyn
North Texas Office
(972) 239-1310
Washington, DC Office
(202) 224-2934

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz
North Texas Office
(214) 599-8749
Washington, DC Office
(202) 224-5922

This is a bad bill for Texas and for people across our nation. Let’s make our voices heard.


Paying for College Events

Please Join
State Representative Chris Turner
For a Paying for College Seminar

Tuesday, September 26
6:00 to 7:30 PM
Seguin High School (Cafeteria)
7001 Silo Rd, Arlington
Wednesday, September 27
6:00 TO 7:30 pm
Timberview High School (Auditorium)
7700 S Watson Rd, Arlington

Representatives from UT-Arlington & TCC will share information on:
Federal College Financial Aid
State Financial Aid
Veterans Educational Benefits
and more!

Click here, call 817-459-2800
or email to RSVP or for details


“Ultimately, this is about basic decency.  This is about whether we are a people who kick hopeful young strivers out of America, or whether we treat them the way we’d want our own kids to be treated.  It’s about who we are as a people – and who we want to be.”

– President Barack Obama, September 5, 2017

Yesterday, President Trump’s administration announced the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, commonly known as DACA. This decision is cruel, heartless and un-American.

What will this mean for those impacted and for our nation and the state of Texas? Here are some facts:

  •     The number of young men and women in jeopardy of being deported: 800,000

  •     The number of Texans in jeopardy of being deported: 124,000

  •     Texas annual GDP that could be lost: $6.3 billion

  •     Reduction in the nation’s workforce: 685,000 workers

  •     United States’ GDP lost during next 10 years: $460.3 billion

Another important fact: the average age of DACA recipients when brought to this country is 6.5 years old.

Put yourself in the shoes of one of the 800,000 young men or women (66 percent of DACA recipients are women).

Imagine being a child brought to this country at two years old. You were taught English in neighborhood public schools and it may be the only language you know. You graduated high school and received a college degree after years of hard work, and because of DACA, you have been able to work and build a successful career. You pay taxes, you own a home, you volunteer and you help your neighbors.

Now imagine all of that gone.

Your hope for future citizenship in the only country you’ve ever known has been replaced with fear of deportation and being sent back to a country that is foreign to you. You have no family there, you have no friends there. Your career is gone. Your house is gone. You are separated from everyone and everything you know.

This is the new reality many men and women could face, all because the Trump Administration decided to bow down to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and others who threatened to sue the federal government if DACA was not repealed by September 5th. Paxton and his allies got their wish and now thousands of our neighbors will be punished.

Where do we go from here? Congress needs to act quickly and do the right thing. They have the opportunity to reverse this wrong and show these young people, brought here through no fault of their own, that America still remains a land of opportunity.


P.S. If you’d like to discuss DACA and other important issues impacting our community, please join me at a Town Hall on Saturday, September 16th from 1:00 to 2:30 PM at the Arlington Municipal Airport, 5000 S. Collins, ArlingtonClick here to RSVP.

How to Help

UPDATE: Currently, there is an immediate need for bleach, child diapers and adult diapers in communities served by County Commissioner, Precinct 1. Commissioner Rodney Ellis and Rep. Garnet Coleman have requested items to help their constituents in need. We have created and will maintain an Amazon list to ship items to the areas in need. The list will be updated as needs change. Items purchased will ship directly to the Precinct 1 office in Southeast Houston for distribution in the community. Thank you for your help!


Our friends and neighbors in the greater Houston area, south and central Texas need our help. Thousands of Texans are being evacuated to North Texas and there will be a tremendous need during the next days, weeks and months to help these women, men and children.

To help, my office will be accepting the following items for donation at our district office, located at 320 Westway Place, Suite 501, Arlington. Please call 817-459-2800 prior to visiting to ensure that staff is available. We will be accepting the following items:

  • Gift Cards
  • Toiletries
  • Diapers
  • Baby Wipes
  • New Socks
  • New Underwear
**Please do not bring clothing items not listed**

In addition, to help direct donations, my office has compiled the following list of organizations accepting monetary or other donations.

Call 2-1-1 or volunteer with the Red CrossSalvation Army, or visit this website to help at the Dallas Convention Center shelter

Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund (Greater Houston Community Foundation)

Hurricane Harvey Community Relief Fund (Texas Organizing Project)

Dallas Help for Harvey

Mission Arlington (Designated drop-off location)
210 W South St, Arlington, TX
Accepting food, toiletries, water, towels, gas money, diapers, wet wipes

Grand Prairie City Hall (Designated drop-off location)
317 College St. Grand Prairie, Texas 75050

American Red Cross
Text “HARVEY” to 90999 to make a $10 donation

Trusted World (Designated drop-off location)
From 3:00 to 8:00 pm daily
15660 N Dallas Parkway, Dallas, TX 75248
Items needed: new underwear, new socks, new warmups, toiletries and hygiene products, baby formula and baby wipes, bottles, diapers

The Salvation Army
Text “STORM” to 51555

Save the Children

North Texas Food Bank

Catholic Charities USA

National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster

Global Giving

Texas Diaper Bank


Direct Relief USA

City Grand Prairie
Donation Drop Off (August 31 until 5 pm and September 1 until noon)
Sealed Air
2401 Dillard St.
Grand Prairie, TX 75051

GoodWill Industries of Fort Worth
Donated items can be dropped off at any Fort Worth location
Items requested: baby diapers and formula, newly packaged socks and underwear, blankets and towels, plus-sized clothing

Chef’s Produce
Donation Drop Off (Leaving for Houston Sept 1 at noon)
1654 Terre Colony Ct.
Dallas, TX 75212
Items requested: diapers, baby wipes, formula, toothbrushes/toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, non-perishable food, water, Gatorade, gift cards and cash.

Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church
Meal Packing (Saturday September 2 from 9am to 1pm)
9800 Preston Road
Dallas, TX 75230

United Way of Tarrant County

Union Gospel Mission of Tarrant County
1321 E. Lancaster
Fort Worth, TX 76102
Items requested: Soap, body wash, shampoo and conditioner, new toothbrushes and toothpaste, razors, deodorant

Texas Workers Relief Funds
Make checks payable to Texas AFL-CIO
P.O. Box 12727
Austin, TX 78711
(512) 477-6195

St. Johns Church
1701 West Jefferson
Grand Prairie, TX 75051
(972) 264-1483
Items requested: diapers, infant formula, baby wipes, hair care products, hygiene items, new socks, new bras and t-shirts, new boxers, briefs, panties, and snacks.

Orphan Care Solutions

Carter Bloodcare
Text “DONATE4LIFE” to 444999

Humane Society of North Texas

SPCA of Texas

We will be regularly updating the list of organizations seeking help on my website and on through social media via Facebook.

Finally, if you or your family are in need of help as a result of this devastating storm, please call 2-1-1 or our office at 817-459-2800 


#TXLEGE in Review, Part 1

It’s so good to be home. To be perfectly honest, I was happy to see Austin in my rearview mirror when I was driving up I-35 on Tuesday. There is a lot to say about what happened in this just-concluded legislative session, and I won’t try to say it all in one email. There was some good, but a lot more bad.

I have always said my most important job is to work for our district. So, I will start my recap there and let you know some of the things we worked on for the benefit of Arlington and Grand Prairie.

SH 360: The Rosa Parks Memorial Parkway

First and foremost, I am thrilled to announce that once construction is complete, the SH 360 extension from Sublett/Camp Wisdom Road to the northern Mansfield city limit will be named the Rosa Parks Memorial Parkway. Paying homage to this Civil Rights icon is an appropriate way to highlight and honor our community’s rich diversity. This effort would not have been successful without the support of so many in House District 101. The portion of the road south of District 101 will be named for former state Senator Chris Harris.

Arlington & Grand Prairie Transit Study

I successfully added language to the budget which will allow the University of Texas at Arlington to study the transit needs of the communities I serve. As you know, Arlington is the largest city in the nation without a mass transit system. Grand Prairie, and its growing population, also lacks transit. The study, which will focus on the transit needs in our community and how they may be addressed, will be completed by the end of 2018. A leading urban research university, UT Arlington is well-positioned to conduct this important study.

Mental Health

We have talked a lot over the last couple of years about the immense mental health needs in Texas.  One of the best displays of bipartisanship this session was significant mental health reforms, aimed at improving access and providing more funding for those organizations doing the important work on the front lines. I was proud to be a joint author of HB 13 by Rep. Four Price, which establishes a matching grant program for community mental health programs. I worked closely with Rep. Price to add provisions to the bill that will make the grant program more accessible for large county mental health authorities, such as MHMR of Tarrant County.

In my next email, I’ll highlight some of the work I did in the areas of ethics, education, voter rights and protecting children. I’m glad to be able to share news of these victories with you, knowing that none of them would be possible were it not for your continued support and involvement.



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