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.
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.