March 5, 2012 Comments are off Admin2

Building a Just and Fair Society

On February 23, Chris joined members of the Grand Prairie community for the annual NAACP Freedom Fund Scholarship Banquet.

The money raised from this event will fund educational scholarships for local students.   The evening featured performances from the youth at Mt. Gilead Missionary Baptist Church in Italy, TX as well as from students of Truman Middle School in Grand Prairie.

The event’s keynote speaker was Rev. Preston Dixon, pastor at Mt. Gilead, and 1st Vice President of the NAACP Grand Prairie Branch.  He delivered an inspiring speech which touched on the banquet’s theme, “NAACP: Obsolete or Still Necessary?”  In his message, Pastor Dixon encouraged all in attendance to remember their past, take every available opportunity in their present, and keep an eye on their future.  He also reminded the audience about the importance of unity and community.

Several members of the Grand Prairie community were presented with 2012 President Awards for their work on behalf of civil rights and equal opportunity.

“The NAACP has been on the forefront of the battle for fairness and opportunity for all Americans for 103 years,” Chris said. “It continues its important mission today, and I am proud to support its efforts.”

The next evening, on February 24, Chris and his wife, Lisa, were honored to attend the birthday celebration of Pastor N.L. Robinson and First Lady Pearl Robinson which was given by their congregation at Mount Olive Baptist Church in Arlington.  The luau-themed party celebrated their 91st and 89th birthdays, respectively.

“Pastor Robinson and First Lady Pearl continue to inspire us every day, and Lisa and I wish them both the happiest of birthdays,” Chris said.

Pastor Robinson and First Lady Pearl have been major community leaders in the civil rights movement in Arlington and have been ministering to the Arlington community for over 40 years.  Pastor Robinson was called to pastor Mount Olive Baptist Church in 1966 and since that time has grown the congregation from 17 to over 10,000 members.

A Wall of Honor and an Opportunity

Chris attended the Tarrant County College District’s official unveiling of its Veterans’ Wall of Honor on February 20, 2012.

This new feature of TCC’s Southeast Campus pays tribute to veterans who are current students, alumni, faculty and staff of the Tarrant County College District.  Featured speakers at the event included State Senator Wendy Davis, Tarrant County College District Chancellor Erma Johnson Hadley, and TCC Southeast Campus President Dr. Bill Coppola.   Each delivered a message of gratitude for the service of our nation’s veterans and expressed a strong desire to continue the remarkable outreach and support that TCC offers to veterans.

Chris also had the pleasure of visiting with a retired member of the Marine Corps who served in Operation Desert Storm and was one of the veterans honored at the event.  By supporting programs such as tuition assistance, career counseling, financial planning guidance, housing support, and college admission workshops, Chris will work hard to ensure that today’s veteran has access to the educational opportunities they have earned and deserve.

Chris has a proven record of leadership on veterans’ issues: he was the author of the bill that created the veterans scratch-off lottery ticket, which has raised more than $16 million for veterans’ assistance programs in just two years.  Chris also authored and passed legislation requiring Texas colleges and universities to have a designated financial aid officer for veterans, so that returning service members are able to fully access the benefits they have earned under the new Post-9/11 G.I. Bill and the Texas Hazlewood Act. With more than 250,000 Texans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan in the last ten years, it is more important than ever that Texas have strong support systems in place so veterans – and their families – can take advantage of education and workforce opportunities.  Honoring the service and sacrifice of today’s veterans both in word and in deed will continue to be one of Chris’s top priorities.

End the Perry Pension Loophole

Late Friday, The Texas Tribune reported that Governor Rick Perry “retired” in January. If only that were really the case.

Perry, as we know, is still governor.  But he found a loophole in state law that allows him to “retire” and collect a state pension while he is still in office.   We, the taxpayers of Texas, pay Perry a salary of $150,000.  Now we learn he is double-dipping an additional $92,000 per year from the Employee Retirement System of Texas – for a total of $242,000 annually.

This is just wrong. Very wrong.

It would be wrong even if times were good. But in a year in which so many families are struggling and in which Perry and the Legislature passed a draconian budget that forces public schools to lay off teachers and other employees, cuts college financial aid loans for middle class families, and further shreds Texas’ flimsy safety net for our most vulnerable citizens, it’s just outrageous.

You would think that Perry would have the judgment to not game the system and double-dip a salary and a pension. No chance.

It’s this kind of politics-as-usual, sweetheart deal that justifiably makes people so cynical about government. These are the kinds of practices we have to end – and that’s one of the reasons I am running for the Legislature. So today I need your help:

  1. Sign this petition, which demands an end to the Perry Pension Loophole. I’ll file legislation to make sure no politician can ever do this again – and I’ll take your voice with me to Austin.
  2. Contribute to my campaign today. We need your help to reach our end-of-year goals and to win the Democratic primary election (now set for April 3, 2012).
  3.  Forward this email to your friends, post our petition on Facebook, and share it on Twitter. We need to bring more people into our campaign to change the way business is done in Austin.

Let’s put an end to the Perry Pension Loophole – you can lead the way by joining our campaign today.

Tarrant Commissioners Court urged to create third minority JP/constable district

BY STEVE CAMPBELL | Fort Worth Star-Telegram | Sep. 20, 2011

FORT WORTH — Democrats and community activists pushed Tuesday night for the creation of a majority-minority justice of the peace/constable precinct at a public hearing on Tarrant County redistricting.

County commissioners were presented with a proposed “minority opportunity” map that carves out a compact Precinct 7 in east Arlington and Grand Prairie that would be made up of 57 percent minorities.

Precinct 7 currently anchors the southeast quadrant of the county. The proposed map would turn it into a long, slender slice of eastern Arlington and south Grand Prairie.

Democrats as well as NAACP and LULAC representatives said that under the current precinct map, only two of eight precincts give minority voters a chance to elect a justice of the peace and constable.

Opponents said the new map would create unwieldy administrative districts by stretching the current Precinct 2, now centered in central Arlington, from Grand Prairie to the southern edge of the county.

Before the public hearing, Commissioner Roy Brooks, the lone Democrat on the commissioners court, vehemently denied rumors that he was involved in drawing the new map.

Wendy Burgess, a Mansfield City Council member, said the changes would cause unnecessary administrative expenses and noted that Precinct 3 is represented by a minority constable and justice of the peace.

Former Democratic state Rep. Chris Turner of Arlington supported the new map.

“In a county where the bulk of the population growth has occurred in minority populations, it’s only fair that minority voters have increased opportunities to elect the candidates of their choice,” Turner said

Kelly Cannon, a tea party member from Arlington, said the proposal is racially motivated.

“It is a sad day when skin color motivates district lines,” she said.

After the public hearing, Commissioner Andy Nguyen, the first county commissioner of Vietnamese heritage, drew an ovation when he told the crowd that the real challenge for minority communities is the lack of engagement, not the lack of representation.

“If we increase the number of voter registrations from the minority community by about 5 percent and if we learn to work together, then we will have representation and that is really the challenge,” he said. “It’s about the quality of your idea and the quality of your leadership — it’s not about the color of your skin.”

Read more

The New District 101

Due to dramatic population growth, Tarrant County has gained another seat in the Texas House – the new District 101. While redistricting has yet to be settled – there are numerous pending lawsuits challenging the validity of these districts due to the discriminatory and unfair manner in which Republicans drew the new maps – I was proud to announce my candidacy for District 101 in case the Tarrant County portion of the map stands.

District 101 is a microcosm of Texas – it’s a diverse community, made up of hard-working people who want the best for their children and their families. Including much of east and south Arlington and the Tarrant County portion of Grand Prairie, District 101 truly represents the values, ideas, and aspirations of all Texans, not just those offered by Rick Perry and out-of-touch politicians in Austin.

District 101 is truly representative of the diversity of Texas:

District 101 is also a solidly Democratic district — in fact, in 2008, President Obama received 62% of the vote here. District 101 deserves a state representative who will be a strong and effective voice for the priorities we share – more jobs, good schools, affordable health care, dignity, and fairness for all Texans – priorities that are currently being ignored in Austin.

With your help, we can give District 101 a unified voice – a unified voice for voters who are fed up with draconian cuts to our children’s public education, insensitive attacks on women’s health care, and irresponsible accounting tricks that only worsen our state’s budget crisis.

Over one-third of District 101 was previously in District 96 – an area I proudly represented in the Texas House from 2009 until 2011 – and I look forward to working again on behalf of families, teachers, veterans, and small business owners. Lisa and I have deep ties to Arlington, having lived there for almost a decade, and we are excited to be a part of a community that reflects the Democratic values that I’ve been fighting for since my days at the University of Texas. Over the next few months, through conversations with you, your family, your friends, and your neighbors, I’m looking forward to helping unite our diverse new district under the same Democratic priorities and principles that we all share.

Since announcing my candidacy earlier this month, I continue to be humbled by the outpouring of support and encouragement I’ve received. I hope you will sign up to volunteer or contribute to the campaign when you visit my website. Your time and your talent are critical in the work that lies ahead. I update my Facebook page frequently, so please check in daily for the latest campaign news and follow me on Twitter.

With your help, we can win this race and build a better future for all Texans.

July 24, 2010 Comments are off Admin2

State Rep. Chris Turner Named Legislator of the Year by the Texas Veterans of Foreign Wars

First Freshman to Receive Prestigious Award

AUSTIN – Today State Representative Chris Turner was named “Legislator of the Year” by the Texas Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). With over 90,000 members and 403 posts across the state, the Texas VFW is the largest veterans organization in the state. The award was presented during the opening joint session of the annual VFW state convention.

VFW_sq

According to the Texas VFW, Turner is the first freshman legislator to receive this award.

“Representative Chris Turner has been a staunch advocate for our state’s veterans and their families,” said Roy Grona, Texas VFW State Adjutant-Quartermaster. “Because of his work and leadership on veterans issues, more Texas veterans are getting the help they need and deserve.”

“I am incredibly honored and humbled by this recognition,” Turner said. “The Texas Veterans of Foreign Wars are the true heroes to the 1.7 million veterans in our state. I am proud of the work we did to pass the lottery scratch-off bill, which is benefitting countless veterans across the state of Texas.”

During the 81st Legislative Session, Representative Turner authored and passed several pieces of legislation benefitting veterans and their families. Most notably, Turner authored House Bill 1299, creating a scratch-off lottery ticket to benefit the Permanent Fund for Veterans’ Assistance (FVA). The FVA provides grants to aid veterans and their families in times of financial need and support PTSD counseling and other veterans’ services. The lottery ticket was released on November 9, 2009 and has raised over $5.5 million for the FVA.

Turner, who was named “Freshman of the Year” by the bipartisan House Veterans Caucus and given the “Leadership Award” from the Texas Veterans Commission and “Legislator of the Year” by the Vietnam Veterans of America, Texas State Council, also passed legislation requiring institutions of higher education to designate a financial aid specialist to be trained on issues related to veterans’ programs, including the GI Bill and the Hazelwood Act.

He was also the House sponsor of legislation to allow state employees, who are members of military reserves or National Guard, to continue to accrue their sick and vacation leave time while they are on active military duty.

June 10, 2010 Comments are off Admin2

State Rep. Chris Turner Named “Legislator of the Year” by the Vietnam Veterans of America, Texas State Council

AUSTIN – Today State Representative Chris Turner was named “Legislator of the Year” by the Vietnam Veterans of America, Texas State Council. Turner is the only member of the Texas House of Representatives to receive the honor.

TTVA

(L-R) Duncan McGhee, Texas Veterans Commission (TVC); Charles Buerschinger, TVC; State Rep. Chris Turner (HD96); John Miterko, Texas Coalition of Veteran Organizations; James Nier, TVC; Roy Grona, VFW of Texas; Morgan Little, Texas Coalition of Veteran Organizations

“Representative Chris Turner proved to be a staunch advocate for Texas veterans during the 81st Texas Legislature,” said John Miterko, Legislative Liaison, Texas Coalition of Veteran Organizations. “Turner has placed the well-being of Texas veterans and their families as his number one priority for which we are all grateful, and which makes him the uncontested choice for the Vietnam Veterans of America, Texas State Council, Texas House Legislator of the Year Award for 2010.”

“I am incredibly honored and humbled by this recognition,” Turner said.  “The Vietnam Veterans of America worked hard to pass the veterans lottery bill and it is they and other veterans leaders who really deserve the credit for its success. I am just happy I could be part of this important effort that will make a meaningful difference in the lives of many veterans across Texas.”

The award reads: “VVA Texas State Council, 2010 Legislator of the Year, Presented to State Representative Chris Turner, In Appreciation For Your Work For The Texas Vietnam Veterans.”

During the 81st Legislative Session, Representative Turner authored and passed several pieces of legislation benefitting veterans and their families. Most notably, Turner authored House Bill 1299, creating a scratch-off lottery ticket to benefit the Permanent Fund for Veterans’ Assistance (FVA).  The FVA provides grants to aid veterans and their families in times of financial need and support PTSD counseling and other veterans’ services.  The lottery ticket was released on November 9, 2009 and has raised over $5.2 million for the FVA.

 

Turner, who was named “Freshman of the Year” by the bipartisan House Veterans Caucus and given the “Leadership Award” from the Texas Veterans Commission, also passed legislation requiring institutions of higher education to designate a financial aid specialist to be trained on issues related to veterans’ programs, including the GI Bill and the Hazelwood Act.

He was also the House sponsor of legislation to allow state employees, who are members of military reserves or National Guard, to continue to accrue their sick and vacation leave time while they are on active military duty.

May 28, 2010 Comments are off Admin2

Top Law Enforcement Organization Names Rep. Chris Turner “Best of the House”

CLEAT praises Turner as Strong and Effective Voice for Texas Law Enforcement

CAPTION: (From Right to Left) State Representative Chris Turner receiving CLEAT's "Best of House" award from Arlington Police Association President Randle Meadows,  Charley Wilkison, CLEAT's Director of Public Affairs, and Tony Molina, Vice President of the Arlington Police Association.

(From Right to Left) State Representative Chris Turner receiving CLEAT’s “Best of House” award from Arlington Police Association President Randle Meadows, Charley Wilkison, CLEAT’s Director of Public Affairs, and Tony Molina, Vice President of the Arlington Police Association.

ARLINGTON – Yesterday State Representative Chris Turner received the “Best of the House” award from the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas (CLEAT) in recognition for his work to protect Texas families and support public safety officers. Turner is among a small group of members of the Legislature to be named “Best of the House.”

“It is truly an honor to be named ‘Best of the House’ by the largest law enforcement association in the State of Texas,” said Turner. “It is an even greater honor to represent so many brave men and women who put their lives on the line to protect Tarrant County families every day.”

“Representative Turner has always been a strong advocate of the law enforcement community,” said Charley Wilkison, Director of Public Affairs at CLEAT. “His deep commitment and support of law enforcement legislation included landmark legislation toughening penalties for criminals.

“We consider Representative Turner a true friend of law enforcement, and look forward to working with him next session in not only looking after the rights of officers, but also continuing to ensure that our communities are kept safe,” continued Wilkison.

Wilkison and Randle Meadows, President of the Arlington Police Association (APA) presented Turner with the award at the Thursday, May 27th APA meeting.

May 25, 2010 Comments are off Admin2

Renewed effort in Austin to limit HOA powers

by CRAIG CIVALE | WFAA | May 24, 2010

BURLESON — Over the last few weeks, News 8 has reported about the plight of Sherre Mueller. While she owns her Burleson home outright, she lost it to foreclosure for failing to pay her homeowners’ association dues.

It was a story that not only caught your attention, but piqued the interest of state lawmakers.

“You don’t seize someone’s home that’s entirely paid off for a few hundred dollars in back dues,” said State Rep. Chris Turner (D-Dist. 96). “That’s fundamentally unfair and not right.”

Turner is the latest state legislator to tackle HOA reform, and on Monday, he recruited Sherre Mueller to join his fight.

“I want to be an advocate for people to never let this happen again,” she said.

State lawmakers have tried unsuccessfully to reduce the powers of HOAs for years. In 2009, two proposals in the House and Senate ran out of time.

Turner would like to add two major safeguards to the law, including one that would make it impossible for an HOA to foreclose without a court order.

He also thinks members of an association — your neighbors — should have the final say and vote whether to seize a house.

An anonymous donor is helping Mueller buy back her home, and she’s now doing her part to help change the law that allowed it to be taken from her.

“There’s been so many positive things to come of this — it’s unbelievable,” she said.

Abdallah case highlights battle for tougher DWI laws

by JIM DOUGLAS | WFAA-TV | April 23, 2010

ARLINGTON – A repeat drunk driver, John Patrick Barton had three prior convictions and now faces murder charges.

However, his is not the only face that has sparked outrage over the state’s drunk driving laws. Stewart Richardson had seven previous convictions before his alleged eighth left an Arlington child in a vegetative state. If convicted, Richardson’s sentence cannot exceed 20 years, no matter how many convictions.

Now, there is a push to change that.

State Rep. Chris Turner is leading the effort for tougher DWI laws, which would be called Abdallah’s Law, named after three-year-old Abdallah Khader.

While the law wouldn’t help Abdallah, it could help other victims and maybe get more drunks off the roads.

Steroids now help keep Abdallah alive in a permanent vegetative state. Abdallah can’t move, but his story has moved a lot of people. About 10,000 people have signed up on the Facebook page “Pray for Abdallah.” People are outraged by the long DWI history of Richardson, the driver who crushed the Khader family’s car, leaving Abdallah in his current state.

“A person with seven DWIs before, I thought it was obvious to put this man in jail for life,” said Loubna Elharazin, Abdallah’s mother.

Prior to the crash with the Khader family,  the DWIs were in other states. Unless Texas prosecutors convince an appeals court otherwise, the most Richardson faces if convicted is 20 years.

“I think the time is right for the legislature to act on this, and really, really get aggressive with drunk driving,” Turner said.

Turner, who met with Abdallah’s family, wants laws tightened to make sure all out-of-state DWIs carry their full weight in Texas courts. Turner also wants tougher penalties for intoxication assault when the results are catastrophic.

“Obviously, that type of catastrophic injury is far different than breaking a leg, breaking an arm, that sort of thing,” he said.

Change in DWI cases is something Abdallah’s mother hopes will save lives.

“No law that’s going to get passed will take this pain away,” she said. “It’s not going to change anything, but it will protect other people.”

Khader turns four next week. His family will throw him a party, but just like his third birthday, he’ll never know it.

Texas is the worst state for drunk driving deaths. In the state of Texas, there were 1,292 alcohol-related deaths in 2007. Twenty-one percent of were in North Texas, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

Saturday, dozens of members of “Abdallah’s Army,” as they call themselves, will don their bright yellow T-shirts and take part in the annual Walk Like MADD, sponsored by MADD. Thousands are expected to take part in the walk, which begins at 8:30 a.m.

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