State Representative Chris Turner

Turner Sworn in to Represent Tarrant County’s New District

Will focus on the priorities of District 101: Good jobs, quality schools & affordable health care

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 
January 8, 2013

 swearinginAUSTIN – Today, as the 83rd Texas Legislature convened, Chris Turner took the oath of office to represent the new District 101 in the House of Representatives. Turner was elected in November 2012 to serve the fast-growing areas of southeast Arlington and western Grand Prairie.

“It’s a great honor and privilege to serve our community in the Texas House,” said Turner. “This is a critical time for our state and I’m committed to working hard for the families of our district in the Legislature.”

During the 140-day legislative session, Turner’s focus will be on the issues important to Arlington and Grand Prairie families: good jobs, fair funding for public schools, reforms to the testing-focused school accountability system, health care affordability and access, and improving basic infrastructure.

“Texas families courageously continue to meet major challenges in every aspect of their lives,” Turner said. “They deserve better than what they have been getting from their state government. This session, we must focus on the basic priorities that all Texans have a right to expect: quality public schools, affordable health care and good paying jobs.”

Turner previously served in the House from 2009-2011, representing District 96. During his first legislative session, Turner authored and passed the landmark bill establishing a dedicated lottery scratch-off ticket to benefit the Permanent Fund for Veterans Assistance. The $2 “Veterans Cash” ticket has generated over $20 million to pay for much-needed aid to Texas veterans and their families.

A lifelong Texan, Turner graduated from the University of Texas at Austin and today works in the public relations industry. Turner and his wife of thirteen years, Lisa, live in Grand Prairie. Chris’s two stepchildren, Melissa and Scott, both graduated from Summit High School in Mansfield ISD.

Turner was joined on the House floor during the swearing in ceremony by Lisa and his father, Gary Turner of Dallas

Every Second Counts

A few minutes ago, the 83rd Legislative Session convened and I had the honor of being sworn in as a member of the Texas House of Representatives representing House District 101. I am so humbled by the trust the voters have placed in me to represent our community in Austin.

A new legislature represents the opportunity for a new beginning. I am hopeful that this legislature will turn the page on the harmful decisions made here two years ago, because this is such a critical time for our state. Every second of the 140-day session will count as we fight for the priorities that are important to our community.

For too long, those in power have ignored the inadequacies of our health care system and have refused to provide the resources to properly educate our young Texans. For example, last session, billions were cut from our public schools and we still have the highest rate of uninsured in the nation.

As the new session convenes, we need to deal with the problems that are knocking loudly on our front door.

With yesterday’s news of solid state revenue projected growth, , it is time to address the dire state of our public education system, answer for the large number of Texans who remain uninsured and without access to affordable health care, and confront the congested roads and highways that go unrepaired and unfunded.

With all of these issues, we need to find solutions and deliver results. The good news is, I know that if legislators are willing to put aside partisanship and put Texas first, we can and will make a difference on these issues.

To kick off the legislative session – and to begin serving our brand new district – we have retooled and re-launched our website. Check out the “Virtual Office” [LINK TO PAGE] which provides a list of the services our office can provide, information about visiting the state Capitol building, and facts about District 101. We have also added a section called “There Ought to be a Law,” which allows Texans to submit ideas they think need to be addressed this session. Don’t forget to check back often for the latest news from our office and legislative updates.

We have a lot of work to do and little time to do it. With your continued help, support and advice, I know we can tackle the challenges facing our state head on.

I look forward to hearing from you about the issues that matter to you and your family, our community and our state. Thank you again for the honor of serving as your state representative.

Turner Hopes Legislature Can Tackle Issues Pragmatically

BY ANNA M. TINSLEY

This year’s Legislature will have a different look and feel. New faces will make up nearly a quarter of the Texas House, and many government watchers believe that this could be one of the most conservative sessions ever in Austin. Five of Tarrant County’s seven new House members are ranked among the top 12 freshman lawmakers expected to be the most conservative in the 83rd legislative session.

Rep.-elect Chris Turner, D-Grand Prairie, was the only local House freshman not to make Hailey’s list.

He said he hopes that both parties can work together.

“The Republicans no longer hold a supermajority, and as a result, there will be a greater need for bipartisanship and compromise,” Turner said. “It is my hope that we can tackle the issues facing our state pragmatically, not based on political rhetoric.”Our state is changing very rapidly, and all the members must take the needs of the changing population into account.”

Turner Calls for a Bipartisan Approach to Texas Issues

BY DAVE MONTGOMERY

The selection of a speaker will be one of the first orders of business in the 150-member House on Tuesday when lawmakers open their 140-day biennial session to deal with state spending and host of other issues.

Although Straus is favored to easily retain his post in the GOP-controlled House, Simpson’s challenge perpetuates an element of conservative dissent that has periodically dogged the speaker through his two terms in the leadership post. A threatened conservative uprising in 2011 evaporated when Straus’ two challengers withdrew.

Rep.-elect Chris Turner of Grand Prairie, a Democrat who will represent the new district in east Tarrant County, says he plans to cast his vote for the incumbent speaker and is calling for a more bipartisan approach in the Republican-controlled House to deal with issues such as health care, education and transportation.

“I think Straus is clearly going to be elected speaker again'” he said.

Turner: Congress Should Close Gun Show Loophole

BY ANNA M. TINSLEY AND SCOTT NISHIMURA

Each year countless guns change hands at thousands of guns shows nationwide — including quite a few in North Texas.

But the way those guns are sold could soon change if President Barack Obama and gun control advocates succeed in closing the “gun show loophole” that has been hotly debated for years as criminal justice officials explore ways to keep weapons out of the wrong hands.

… [S]tate Rep.-elect Chris Turner, D-Grand Prairie, said he believes closing the loophole is reasonable.

“I think we should have background checks for all gun purchases,” Turner said. “I think the American public expects that. We want to know when someone purchases a gun, there’s no criminal or other history that would prevent them from buying it.”

Turner: Perry Ignoring Issues that Matter to Texans

State Rep.-elect Chris Turner, D-Grand Prairie, said Perry should be keeping the focus on more pressing issues about government spending rather than focusing on politically charged social issues.

“Gov. Perry is once again ignoring the issues that matter to Texans, including reversing his devastating cuts to public schools and women’s health care, reducing the huge number of uninsured and investing in basic infrastructure so we can grow our economy.”The next legislative session is far too important to simply become a partisan sideshow in the governor’s 2016 presidential campaign.”

Lessons Learned – or Not

 

So, last week we had a big election. Obviously, I was pleased with most of the outcomes, from the presidential race on down, but what did we learn from it?

 

For one, politicians who have a cavalier attitude about women’s health care and personal health decisions will pay a heavy price at the ballot box.

 

Second, with significant demographic changes underway – particularly in the Hispanic community – Texas will be competitive in statewide elections and presidential elections very soon. With Hispanics in Texas and across the country giving President Obama 70 percent of the vote, Republican politicians would be smart to cease their cynical attacks on immigrants and their families.

 

Finally, we saw that candidates who were willing to stand up for our schools and against the divisive rhetoric we hear out of Austin could be successful in the face of well-financed, negative Republican campaigns. That’s why Tarrant County is sending Wendy Davis back to the Senate to represent us and why voters ended the Republican supermajority in the Texas House by electing seven new or returning Democratic members. With 55 House members, Democrats will be better positioned to stop the GOP assault on public education, health care and voting rights, but we have our work cut out for us.

 

And that brings me to lessons unlearned. I’ve talked a lot in this campaign about what voters in District 101 – and I think all over Texas – want. They want good schools to send their kids to, with up to date materials and classrooms that are not overcrowded. They want basic access to affordable health care. And they want a strong economy with good jobs – and that means a Texas that makes wise investments in transportation and water resources.

 

Now, let me tell you what I have never heard a voter ask me to do:

 

Drug test people when they lose their jobs

 

Ban so-called “sanctuary cities,” which we know do not exist

 

Take even more money out of public schools to fund private school vouchers

 

Interfere with homeland security measures at our airports

 

Yet, these are the “issues” that Republican leaders, from Governor Perry on down, tell us are the priority items facing our state. I disagree – and I think the voters do, as well.

 

So, when the Legislature convenes in January, my Democratic colleagues and I will be pushing to restore the $5.4 billion the GOP cut to public schools. We’ll be working to get health care access to the one quarter of our population that is uninsured. And we’ll be working to make long-term, smart investments in our state, in job training, transportation, energy and water.

 

Hopefully, Republican leaders have learned some lessons and will join us in these efforts. If not, the voters may have to take them back to school.

 

 

 

Chris


 

State Representative Chris Turner

Thank You!

Thank you. With early voting results in, I’m humbled to say that we’re at 90 percent of the vote and headed back to Austin.

We have much to celebrate tonight, and Lisa and I cannot thank you enough. Our victory is the result of the hundreds of volunteers and donors and the thousands of voters in District 101 who believe we need change in Austin and want to have a representative who is not afraid to stand up to the special interests and partisan agendas. I am so honored that the voters have placed their trust in me to fight for their families in our state’s capitol.

So tonight, let’s celebrate. Tomorrow, I’m going back to work for the people of Arlington and Grand Prairie and promise to do my very best to represent you well in the Texas House of Representatives.

With much gratitude,

Chris’s Community Support Continues to Grow! UPDATED!

I continue to be humbled and inspired by the support and encouragement that I’ve received from community leaders, friends, activists, volunteers, and voters for the upcoming Democratic primary for Texas House of Representatives, District 101.

This list of supporters is a microcosm of our community – teachers, veterans, retirees, union members, business leaders and so many others.  I am honored by your support and know that by working together, we will win this race and give our new district a strong, effective voice in Austin.

Best,

P.S. Don’t see your name and want to add it?  Click here to sign up.

Organizations and Associations Supporting Chris

Arlington Police Association

Arlington Professional Fire Fighters Association Local 1329

Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas (CLEAT)

HOSPAC

Metroplex Democrats of Arlington

Mid-Cities Democrats

Northeast Tarrant County Democrats

Teamsters Local 745 DRIVE Committee

Tejano Democrats of North Texas

Texans for Education Funding Equity (TEFE) PAC

Texas Parent PAC

Texas Public Employees Association Political Action Committee

Texas State Teachers Association (TSTA)

TEXPAC

TREPAC – Texas Real Estate Political Action Committee

Transport Workers Union Texas Conference AFLCIO

Tarrant County Central Labor Council AFLCIO

Grassroots Endorsement List

Peter AdejokunHon.Ida Anderson

Dolly & Matt Angle

Tom Banning

Karen & Hon. Kenneth Barr

Tonya Barrett

Tari & Mark Bauer

Rev. Nancy & Alan Bean

Teresa & Roy Becerra

Ann & Steve Blair

Aimee Boone

Lynda & Hon. Art Brender

Dana & Robert Brewer

Dr. Jennifer Brooks

Tammy Brooks

Autumn Dipert Brown

Bob Brown

Joseph Brown

Linda Brown

Brenda Bush

Marion Bush

Colleen Butterfield

Barbara & Jack Caffey

Charlie Campau

Dr. Judith Carrier

Drew Casani

Amber & Vincent Chacko

Martha & James Chambers

Diana & Joe Chavez

Kay Christlieb

Donald Cleveland

Dr. Melvin Cleveland

Crist & Dexter Coleman

James Comer

Elizabeth Connor

Arnette Cordova

Bobbie Cornelison

Stephen Coslik

Brenda & Nicolas Crumbaker

Randy Daniels

Cathie & Bronson Davis

Sissy Day

Fay Deleveaux

Joyce & Hon. John Derewitz

Bill Dickson

Enez & Dan W. Dipert

Ayonna Donald

Charles Dreyfus

Tammy & Hon. Kyle Dubberke

Patresia Duncan

Ivonne Duran

Pam Durham

Karen & Melvin Earnest

Lynette & Ed Eason

Beverly Eaves

Lynda Edmond

Hon. Chet Edwards

Earl Edwards

Grace Elliott

Blain Elmazi

Marilyn & Marty Englander

Lisa & Rev. Dr. Michael Evans, Sr.

Hon. Betty Fischer

Joyce & Jim Fletcher

Eric Fox

Hon. Martin Frost

Harriette & Arnold Gachman

John Gardner

Clyde Gary

Chris Gavras

Matt Geske

Claudia Gray

Terrysa Guerra

Loubna Harazin

Julie & Earl Harcrow

Patti & Alan Harper

Thomas Harris

Tazeen & Hon. Syed Hassan

Sandra Haverlah

Denise Henderson

Rube Gus Henderson

Chandra & David Hinkle

Linda & Thomas Holland

Tammy & Hon. Marc House

Christopher Howe

Ronald Hughes

Ellouise Hunnicutt

Melissa Hunsaker

Scott Hunsaker

Ummay Hussain

Carolyn & Cecil Jackson

Naren Jackson

Rhonda & Lee Jackson

Ray Jaksa

Don Jaquess

Jose Martinez

Ana Mochcco & Larry Jaramillo

Michael Jarzabski

Larry D. Jaynes

Dan Jensen

Margaret & Gene Jernigan

Rev. R.C. Johnson

Allan JonesHon. Ivy Jones

Betsy & Henry Joyner

Daniella Judge

Peggy Justice

Amir Kahman

Connie & Jerry Kanetzsky

Mike Kelley

Delphine & Morris Kelly

Charles Kennedy

Sandra Kindle

Misako Kirwen

Patricia Kirwen

Tom Krampitz

Beth Krugler

Hon. Anthony Langston

Patricia LaRue

Jean Latham

Hon. Patricia Lee

Elizabeth Lippincott

Marilyn & Tom Love

Bill Lynch

Hon. John Mabry

Hon. John MacLean

Alle & Eddie Maddox

Michael Maddox

Richard Malinowski

Peggy Marshall

Mike Martinez

Susan McAvoy

Hon. Barbara Jean McGowan

Melissa McMillain

Shelton McMillain

Corey NcNair

Elizabeth McPherson

Terry Meza

Mike Williams & Richard Michael

Hon. Darryl Miller

Marvin Mitchell

Rosie & Hon. Mike Moncrief

Steve Montgomery

Randall Moore

Emily Amps Mora

Celia Morgan

Clara Naylor

Kenneth Neal

Pat Pangburn

Steve Panza

Mike Patino

Falina Payton

Kathy & Terence Payton

Lisa & Doug Penny

Mario Perez

Beverly & Charles Powell

Kyran Powell

Suzanna Powell

Ann Price

Robert Price

Edwina & Moses Ramirez

Cynthia & Caesar Rentie

Becky Reynolds

Hon. Gabriel Rivas, IV

Spencer Roberson

Yolonde Rocio

Paula Rodgers

Janice Sims & Bill Russell

Jay Rutherford

Joseph Saldana

Emad Salem

Malizy & Craig Scruggs

John Self

Florine Shepard

Hon. Aftab Siddiqui

Loretta Simmons

Jessica & Jason Smith

Regina Smith

Hon. Deborah Spell

Lorraine Stanford

Adrena & Hon. Raymond Stephney

Jacquelyn Strong

Teri & Nelson Surovik

Hon. Marvin Sutton

Anne & Jim Swan

David Tesmer

Hon. Cynthia Toodle

Mary Ann & Gary Turner

Lisa Turner

James Van Sickel

Leila Vaughan

Tonya Veasey

Barbara Belle & Larry Walker

Jennifer Ward

Vicki Watkins

Aaron Watson

Heather & Scott Wheatley

Barbara Williams

Charles Williams

Kenneth Dale Williams

Nathaniel Williams

Ida Wilson

Stephanie & Alfred Wilson

Dorothy Wing

Gail Wright

Mark York

Hon. Felipe Gutierrez & Martin Young

Shortsighted

I wrote the email below over the weekend. This morning, we learned that Governor Rick Perry is making the shortsighted and ill-informed decision to not pursue Medicaid expansion or set up a state insurance exchange under the Affordable Care Act. The governor’s announcement is about politics, nothing more, and will only serve to lengthen Texas’ unfortunate reign as the state with the highest rate of uninsured. I’ll have more to say on his announcement later, but for now I wanted to share my original email, and why it’s so important that Texas get this right.

Campaigns are generally not known for enhancing healthy lifestyles. You tend to eat a lot of fast food, and the hectic pace crowds out one’s time at the gym. At least that’s been my experience. Having recovered somewhat from a long campaign, I dragged myself to the gym early this morning for the first time in a few months. And while it wasn’t easy getting up at 5:00 am to go to the gym, I take some solace knowing that by having a plan and some discipline in exercise and diet, I can lose the few (OK, several) pounds I gained the last few months, feel better and be healthier. Short term pain, long term gain, as they say.

Just like I need to have a plan and some discipline to get healthier, so does Texas. With the highest rate of uninsured in the nation and a troubling new study out last week that showed Texas ranks dead last among the 50 states in health care delivery, there’s no shortage of improvements to be made. But here’s the good news: just like I have tools to get healthier (a gym, a running trail nearby and better food choices), so does Texas – it’s called the Affordable Care Act (ACA), recently upheld by the Supreme Court. But just like my gym membership that’s worthless when it goes unused, Texas must use the ACA smartly to get the maximum benefit for our state. Here’s how:

 Set up an insurance exchange. The ACA calls for setting up an insurance exchange in each state so that folks without employer-based coverage can shop for plans (this is not dissimilar to the way we buy electricity for our homes in Texas). If the state does not set up an exchange, the federal government will do it for us. It should be a no-brainer that we would set up our own system, instead of having a “one size fits all” set up by the feds. But since Texas Republican leaders killed efforts to set up an exchange last year, that is exactly what will happen unless we reverse course and get it together, fast.

Accept the Medicaid expansion. This is the big one for Texas – with the highest rate of uninsured in the nation, we have the most to gain from this. Under ACA, states can enroll their citizens in Medicaid if their annual income is 133 percent of the poverty level (about $30,000 for a family of four) or less. We could insure about 1.5 million people in Texas under this provision.

And what would that cost the state of Texas? For the first couple of years, the federal government funds the entire expansion. Eventually, Texas would be responsible for paying 10 percent of the cost. A 9:1 match is hard to beat – and it would be an outrage for Texas not to claim its fair share of funding under the law, especially when our need is so great.

I am looking forward to serving in the Legislature next year, and working with fellow lawmakers to make the ACA work for Texas. If we identify the problem (the uninsured/poor access to care), set some goals (reduce the rate of uninsured/improve access), develop a plan (implement the ACA) and have some discipline (focus on reform, not false rhetoric about socialism and government takeovers of health care) we’ll make a real difference in the quality of life for millions of Texans. And by reducing the ranks of the uninsured, we can drive down premiums for everyone else. After all, we’re already subsidizing emergency care for the uninsured with high premiums and tax support for public hospitals.

To lose weight, I have to follow a pretty simple formula: burn more calories than I consume.

To make Texas healthier, it’s nearly as simple: reduce the rate of uninsured and improve access.

Both just require some willpower – and a plan.

 

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