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.

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.

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.

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