Final days to vote early

Today and tomorrow are the final two days to vote early in the 2020 Democratic primary election. I can’t stress the importance of this election enough — as the second largest Super Tuesday state, with 228 delegates at stake — Texas will play a pivotal role in deciding our party’s nominee, which could very well determine our nation’s trajectory for generations to come.

A few weeks ago, I sent you an email about my decision to endorse Joe Biden.

To recap what I wrote and why he continues to have my support, as a senator and then as vice president, Joe Biden has distinguished himself as an outstanding public servant.  He’s always been a powerful voice for working class Americans.  He passed the Violence Against Women Act.  He took on the NRA – and beat them – to pass the Brady background check bill.  And as President Obama’s right hand for eight years, Joe Biden helped pass the reforms that saved the auto industry, stabilized our economy and brought health insurance to millions of Americans.  His is a record of service and results.

Perhaps most importantly, Joe Biden personifies decency. Our nation has never needed a dose of decency and honesty in the White House as we do right now.

Of course, the presidential race isn’t the only important contest on the ballot – there are many, including two statewide candidates that I’d urge you to consider supporting.

Royce West for the United States Senate
In the Texas Legislature, I have been privileged to work side-by-side with Senator West on many important issues facing our state. I’ve seen first-hand his stalwart support of expanding educational opportunities and reforming our criminal justice system.

In a very crowded field, he has been endorsed by The Dallas Morning NewsFort Worth Star-Telegram and Houston Chronicle because he has the experience and knowledge our state needs in Washington.

West DMN

Amy Clark Meachum for Chief Justice, Texas Supreme Court
Amy Clark Meachum is running for an often overlooked, but very important, statewide position – Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court. I’ve gotten to know Judge Meachum well during my time in the Legislature. As a district court judge, she has proven that she has the knowledge and experience to take on such a vital role, which is why she’s been endorsed in this race by The Dallas Morning NewsSan Antonio Express NewsEl Paso Times and the Houston Chronicle.

Meachum SAEN

I hope you will consider these recommendations when you go vote.

Early voting runs through tomorrow, Friday, February 28. Election Day is Tuesday, March 3. Polls are open from 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM.

For polling locations visit: mytexasvotes.com.

We can – and must – make college more accessible

Recently, the Dallas Morning News highlighterankings released by Dallas-based ScholarShot.com.  The study listed the University of Texas at Arlington and the University of North Texas at Dallas as the top Texas institutions at addressing the needs of first-generation, low-income college students.

Why is this so important and why are the support services offered by these institutions so critical to the future success of our state? 

As our state economy changes, the need for Texans with college degrees or professional certifications increases.  To meet these needs, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board set the goal that by the year 2030, at least 60 percent of those ages 25-34 need to have completed a college degree or certification.  This is based on data from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, that estimates that about 60 percent of new jobs will require higher education credentials and skills.  

Since this goal was put on paper in 2015, our state has made progress, due in large part to the commitment of institutions like UTA, UNT-Dallas and many others.  However, even with this improvement, we’re still not where we need to be.

According to data through 2017, only 43.5 percent of 25-34 year-olds have completed a certificate or degree.  With just ten short years left to reach our goal, we must find even more new tools to help these students succeed.

Two weeks ago, I participated in a roundtable discussion with former Tennessee governor Bill Haslam, hosted by the Dallas-based Commit Partnership.  During his time as governor, this conservative Republican made access to higher education for low-income residents a priority.  Under his leadership, the state implemented the Tennessee Promise, a program that provides last-dollar scholarships to students attending two-year public colleges.  Last-dollar scholarships cover the gap between the amount covered by other financial aid sources and the total cost of tuition and fees.

The Tennessee Promise doesn’t stop there.  The program provides additional support via mentors for each student to help guide them from the application and admissions process on through their college career.  It’s been so successful that over 90,000 Tennesseans have taken part since 2014 with those participating completing degrees at a higher rate than their non-participant peers. 

Similar initiatives are happening here in Texas at the local level to help reduce the financial burden on students and to provide more support to at-risk populations. These initiatives are a great start, but with Texas’ growing and diverse population, we must do much more. 

Just as we have a statewide, strategic goal for college completion, we need to have a statewide strategic plan for meeting that goal.  Maybe we could learn something from Tennessee.

Turner Reports $321K Raised

TURNER REPORTS $321K RAISED DURING LAST HALF OF 2019
Democratic Caucus Chair contributes more than $55,000 to other campaigns & groups

AUSTIN – Today, state Representative and Texas House Democratic Caucus Chair Chris Turner will report over $321,000 in monetary contributions raised during the last six months of 2019, the most he has ever raised in a non-election year reporting period. Turner’s campaign account maintains nearly $340,000 cash-on-hand.

The Chris Turner Campaign has already donated $57,000 to support Democratic incumbents, candidates and organizations in their 2020 election efforts. In the 2018 election cycle, Turner’s campaign spent more than $340,000 to help other Democratic candidates.

“Thanks to the generosity of our contributors and the support of the people of District 101, where I am honored to be unopposed for re-election, my campaign is in a strong position to help Texas Democrats win in 2020,” Turner said. “This election will shape the future of Texas for generations. With just nine seats between Democrats and the majority in the Texas House, and with redistricting on our doorstep, it’s imperative that our candidates have the resources they need to win.”

“With the Texas House Democratic Campaign Committee (HDCC) leading the charge, we have built a strong coalition to win the House, which will be reflected in the reports filed today,” said Turner. “As Democratic Caucus Chair, I will do my part by working closely with the HDCC and other allies, as well as continuing to raise funds so that we can exceed my campaign’s substantial 2018 investment.”

-30-

Redistricting Committee in Arlington on January 22nd

On Wednesday, January 22, the House Committee on Redistricting will hold a public hearing at Tarrant County College Southeast Campus, in the heart of District 101. As Vice-Chair of the Redistricting Committee, I am proud to host this important legislative hearing in our district.

Every 10 years, the Legislature is required to draw new districts for the U.S. House, State Senate, State House and State Board of Education. Districts are redrawn to reflect population changes as tabulated in the upcoming 2020 Census.

The Arlington hearing is one of more than two dozen hearings the Redistricting Committee is holding around the state prior to next year’s legislative session. I hope Tarrant County residents will turn out for the January 22 hearing and share your thoughts about the upcoming 2021 redistricting process.

At the hearing, we will hear a presentation from the State Demographer about population trends statewide and in the DFW area, in particular. We will also hear from the Texas Legislative Council, which facilitates the technical aspects of redistricting. After those presentations, the hearing will be opened up for public testimony. Examples of topics of previous public testimony include:
  • Thoughts on the redistricting process overall
  • What people like or do not like about the current districts
  • Census outreach
  • The process of drawing the new maps
Members of the public are encouraged to attend and testify on any topic they wish related to redistricting. Please note that the public testimony will likely be limited to three minutes at the discretion of the committee chairman.

The hearing will begin at 4:00 PM and end once public testimony is complete.
If you have any questions about the hearing or would like additional information, please email chris.turner@house.texas.gov or call my Arlington office at 817-459-2800.

I hope to see you on the 22nd

Help us win the Texas House

Democrats need just nine seats to take the majority in the Texas House of Representatives for the first time in nearly 20 years. With nearly two dozen seats in play, we can win in 2020 – with your help.

I cannot stress enough how much there is at stake. With once-a-decade redistricting happening in 2021, flipping these seats will change our state’s course for the next decade and beyond.

A Democratic House will pass Medicaid expansion providing health care access to more than one million Texans. A Democratic House will defeat the unending Republican attacks on voter participation, a woman’s right to choose and equality. And a Democratic House will make public education the top priority every year, for every Texas child.

As Chair of the Texas House Democratic Caucus, I have committed to do everything in my power to win the House and to help our campaign arm – the Texas House Democratic Campaign Committee (HDCC) – fund these races and help our incredible lineup of candidates across the state win.

I am not alone in this effort. We have a team of elected officials from across Texas helping – you may have received similar emails in the past few days from my colleagues in the House, state senators, members of Congress, mayors and others. There’s an incredible coalition supporting the HDCC’s efforts, but we can’t do it alone, we need your help

In 2018, Texas Democrats made incredible strides, winning twelve seats in the Texas House, plus flipping two districts in both the state Senate and Congress. This was just a start — during this upcoming presidential election year, our gains will be even bigger.

Why is your help needed today? Tomorrow, December 31, is an important fundraising deadline and will help make sure Texas House Democrats have the resources we need to start the election year off right.

Will you join me in supporting the HDCC? At last count, they only need 455 more grassroots donors before January 1st to meet this critical goal. 

Click here to join me in this effort to win back the Texas House.

Happy Holidays!

As we approach the of 2019, Lisa and I want to take a moment to thank you for your friendship and support and to wish you a holiday season full of peace, love and joy.

We look forward to seeing you in 2020!

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

 

Turner Praises UT System for Approving Funds to Replace Aging UT Arlington Facility

Today, the University of Texas System Board of Regents voted to allocate $60 million from the Permanent University Fund (PUF) to construct a new building at the University of Texas at Arlington. The building, which has been a top priority for the university for several years, will house the School of Social Work and the College of Nursing’s Health Innovation Smart Hospital.

“This is fantastic news for UT Arlington, and I commend the Board of Regents for making this important investment,” said state Representative Chris Turner, who represents part of Arlington and serves as Chairman of the House Committee on Higher Education. “UT Arlington is a world-class institution and the School of Social Work and College of Nursing are universally respected for their excellence. Students and faculty in both programs deserve to learn and teach in modern, state-of-the-art facilities.”

The existing School of Social Work is housed in a building that was constructed nearly 100 years ago as the original Arlington High School campus. The outdated facility has numerous structural and environmental issues and is not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Turner authored legislation this year to provide funds for campus capital projects around the state, including this building for UT Arlington. Despite the measure passing the House with strong, bipartisan support, it did not pass the Senate. Turner subsequently requested that the UT System allocate PUF funding for the project.

“I congratulate President Vistasp Karbhari for his leadership on this project and thank Chairman Kevin Eltife, Chancellor James Milliken and the entire Board of Regents for this smart investment in UT Arlington,” Turner added.

Campaign Kickoff!

My 2020 campaign kickoff is just one week away and I hope you’ll join us on Wednesday, November 20 from 6:00 to 8:00 PM!

As in years past, we’ll have great BBQ from Meat & Greet and of course, beer (and root beer) from Legal Draft Beer Co. in Downtown Arlington. I sincerely appreciate all of the friends and supporters who have already joined our Host Committee to make this event a success.

To RSVP or join the Host Committee, click here. If you need additional information, email events@votechristurner.com.

Lisa and I hope to see you on November 20th!

CLICK HERE TO RSVP

Paying Tribute: Veterans Day 2019

Today, we pay tribute to America’s veterans, those who have protected the freedoms and liberties that we often take for granted.

Whether in war or in peacetime, at home or abroad, these brave men and women have taken risks, made sacrifices and accomplished feats that are difficult for most of us to fully comprehend.

As we give thanks for our veterans’ selfless acts, we must not forget their families. Through their support and sacrifices, they too have served our nation, our state and our community with valor.

Please join me in saying thank you for their service, today and every day.

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