El Paso

On Saturday, 20 people, shopping for groceries and back-to-school supplies, lost their lives in a hate-fueled act of white supremacy and domestic terrorism. It was just reported that two of the more than two dozen wounded in this heinous attack have also died, bringing the number of victims to 22.

And amazingly, though it’s only been 48 hours, El Paso was not our nation’s most recent mass shooting. Thirteen hours later, another nine people would be gunned down in Dayton, Ohio. 

El Paso is a strong community and I know its resolve and spirit are unbreakable.  We need to help our fellow Texans in El Paso as they deal with the aftermath of this terror attack. If you would like to help the victims in El Paso, visit the El Paso Community Foundation’s Shooting Victims Fund by clicking here.

Helping people in need must be our first priority. But the work cannot end there. We have to take action to put an end to mass shootings and the growing white nationalist threat in this country.

Just think: Dallas, Sutherland Springs, Santa Fe and now El Paso. Four mass shootings in Texas in three years and little has changed.

In Washington and in Austin, common-sense gun safety measures have been ignored or defeated. Harmful and hateful rhetoric coming from the White House is nearly always unchallenged by members of the president’s party. There is far too much finger-pointing and deflecting of blame. All while innocent people continue to die, needlessly.

Here in Texas, why won’t our Republican leaders act?

In large part, they are too afraid to stand up to the NRA and the Tea Party. They’re afraid to challenge the powerful gun lobby for fear of being challenged at the ballot box. Instead, they place the blame on mental health or on video games.

Yet, when the opportunity presents itself to do something meaningful to keep guns out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them, nothing happens.

Texas needs a Red Flag Law, a measure strongly supported by law enforcement that would help reduce the number of dangerous or unstable people who have access to firearms. In fact, after the Santa Fe massacre, Greg Abbott briefly put Red Flag Laws on the table. Unfortunately, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick said he was opposed, so the governor dropped the idea and backed off.

This was a major missed opportunity due to lack of leadership. And this is but one example. 

A few months ago, on his way to school, my 7-year-old godson told his mother, “I like lockdown drills because I like to hide.” What a hard thing to hear from a child. In 1st grade, he should not be preparing for mass murderers, learning to hide from weapons or living in near-constant fear when he’s in his classroom. Unfortunately, however, that has become his generation’s new normal.

We can’t allow this to continue.

Back to school

With the first day of school just around the corner, it’s a good time to talk about the importance of public education in our state as well as the related issues and challenges we must address to improve the way we fund our schools, retain our teachers and keep kids safe.

School Safety
As the new school year begins, the issue of school safety will be on the forefront of the minds of many parents, students, teachers and administrators.

Earlier this week, I was asked by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram to share my thoughts on school safety and specifically what advice I would share with those directly impacted by safety in and around our neighborhood schools. In response, I said that I hope parents and other caregivers, students, and faculty and staff will share any concerns they have with the school district, and state and federal officials so that we may make better-informed decisions regarding this critical issue.

This is an important step that cannot be understated. School safety can’t be addressed with a one-size-fits-all approach. For example, in some districts, metal detectors may make sense, but based on feedback I have received, they may not make sense for schools with larger student populations. Other districts may need help improving technology, including text message notification systems, while others need additional help to provide counselors focused on mental health. The more I hear and other state and local officials hear from those directly impacted, the better we will be able to address the unique needs.

Like our local school districts, as well as districts across our state, I am committed to supporting efforts that will help provide needed resources to schools that will be most helpful and keep Texas kids safe.


A key ingredient in our public education system is our state’s teachers. There’s no doubt in my mind that each and every day, public school teachers go above and beyond to ensure that future generations of Texans succeed. As a state, we owe them a great deal in response to their commitment.

In past months, I have written about our state’s pension and healthcare systems for teachers. We made some changes to the Teacher Retirement System (TRS) during the last session, but it’s apparent that more must be done.

Earlier this month, the TRS board moved to lower the expected rate of return on investments, which will likely create a benefits gap for retirees. In order to ensure that we fulfill the promises made to our teachers, it’s likely that additional funding will be needed to fill the gap. As we head closer to the 2019 Legislative Session, serious conversations need to occur regarding how this will be accomplished in a way that will protect our teachers and retirees.

School Finance Reform & Property Taxes

One of the issues that I regularly hear about from constituents is property taxes. For many, the annual increase in the appraised value of their homes and subsequently, the property taxes they owe, becomes too much for them to bear financially. This must be addressed.

One solution: fix our broken school finance system. In the last decade, the state’s share of public education funding has dropped from 49 to 38 percent, forcing local taxpayers to foot the rest of the bill. When you remove charter schools from the equation, the state share is just 33 percent.

One fix proposed last session – a measure I joint-authored – would have required the state to increase their share of school funding to at least 50 percent. By doing this, the state contribution would have increased their share of funding by an estimated $10-14 billion per year — providing relief to local communities and property owners. 

In addition to increasing how much money comes from Austin, we also need to fix how the money is allocated. Looking ahead and at the upcoming Legislative Session, this should be, without question, the most important issue impacting Texas. Whether or not our state leaders will agree, only time will tell.

Mark your calendar
This Saturday, Arlington ISD will be holding their annual Back to School Kickoff at AT&T Stadium. For details, click here. Also, this weekend is the annual Sales Tax Holiday, when items such as clothes, shoes, backpacks and school supplies will be tax-free. For details, click here.

Texas’ Credit Rating

Last week, Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar raised concerns about the future of our state’s AAA-credit rating to members of the Senate’s budget writing committee.

During the hearing, Hegar said“I am actually very concerned…that in the very near future, if we don’t find creative ways to address these very real pressure issues, Texas can be downgraded. I want to make sure we avoid that because that is a black eye on Texas.”

What will a change to our credit rating mean for Texas? It will cost our state more to borrow money and sends a message that we have a fiscally irresponsible government.

The concerns stem from mounting liabilities — expenses that the Legislature has pushed off by using accounting tricks such as postponing payments and low-balling budget projections. Our credit rating is at risk because we have obligations that the Legislature is ignoring, including healthcare, education and transportation. Last session:

  • The Legislature postponed a constitutionally-mandated transfer of $1.58 billion in sales tax revenue to the Texas Department of Transportation
  • Thanks to Dan Patrick, the Legislature continues to under-fund our public education system and didn’t fully address the Teachers Retirement System’s funding shortfall, estimated at $700 million
  • The Legislature intentionally low-balled the Medicaid caseload projection, resulting in a likely $2.5 billion budget shortfall next year
  • The Legislature did nothing to address the Texas Tomorrow Fund shortage of $240 million 

These accounting tricks and gimmicks are not sustainable.  The Legislature is digging a fiscal hole that is increasingly difficult to climb out of.   According to the Texas Taxpayers and Research Association, we will begin the next session about $7.9 billion in the hole, and that’s before we spend a dime to help the Gulf Coast recover from Hurricane Harvey. To top all that off, the Comptroller projects that we’ll have a lot less money to start with than in past years.

Despite all this, there is continued resistance by the state Republican leadership to use the Economic Stabilization Fund, also known as the Rainy Day Fund, — projected to be $12 billion next year — to help address critical health, transportation and education needs. By the way, that’s your money the state’s Republican leadership is hoarding for political reasons.

This isn’t fiscally conservative budgeting; it’s smoke and mirrors. It’s time our state’s leaders start being honest with the people of Texas.

P.S. If you have questions about our state’s budget or the Rainy Day Fund, join me on Saturday, April 14th from 10:00 to 11:30 am at the Arlington Municipal Airport for our Town Hall. Click here to RSVP

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

In my Capitol office, on the wall beside my desk, hang two pictures of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  The photograph on top is of Dr. King waving to an audience of 250,000 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. That day, he gave what many consider his most notable speech and where, in a boomingMLK National Mallvoice, he delivered the words that moved a nation.

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

The picture below it is of Dr. King in the Oval Office, sitting in the foreground, listening, or perhaps deep in thought. President Lyndon B. Johnson can be seen behind him.  I hung thisMLK and LBJphoto as a reminder of the progress these two made addressing civil rights and voting rights. It also serves as a reminder of the constant battle to fight for and to protect these rights.

Today, we remember Dr. King’s words, we celebrate his life and we honor his legacy. Let’s not just focus on thoughts and celebrations. Let’s act.  Let us work collectively to serve our communities and make our cities, state and country a better place for all.

The night before he tragically died, Dr. King delivered his final speech. In it, he challenged those listening to come together to work for the greater good.

He said, “Let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge, to make America what it ought to be. We have an opportunity to make America a better nation.”

These words ring as true today as they did in 1968.

I ask you to please join me in making a commitment to stand with greater determination and to help the people in our communities, our state and our nation. Not just today, but every day.

I filed

Today, I filed for re-election in House District 101 and I released the following statement:

“Serving the constituents of our district is the best and most important part of my job,” Turner said. “I look forward to continuing to work on behalf of Arlington and Grand Prairie by fighting for local priorities, such as transportation. I will also continue to work hard for UT-Arlington, Tarrant County College and the Arlington and Mansfield school districts. 

“In Austin, I look forward to continuing to fight for greater transparency and ethics reform, better access to healthcare, more funding for public education and making higher education attainable for all Texans who want to attend college,” Turner continued.

“And as chair of the House Democratic Caucus, I will continue to oppose the Dan Patrick/Greg Abbott extreme right-wing agenda, which puts divisive, Trump-style politics ahead of the real solutions Texans deserve.”  

Turner has received numerous awards and honors for his legislative service, including “Legislator of the Year” from the Texas Veterans of Foreign Wars (2009), “Best of the House” from the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas (CLEAT) (2013), “Legislative Champion”from Planned Parenthood Texas Votes (2017), the Sierra Club of Texas’ “New Leadership in Environmental Protection Legislative Service Award” (2013), and “Champion of Equality” from Equality Texas (2013 and 2015).

Turner is a native Texan who grew up in Dallas and is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin.  A 20-year Tarrant County resident, Turner lives in Grand Prairie with his wife, Lisa.   

The Democratic primary election will be held on March 6, 2018

Health Care: Take Action Now!

This week on Capitol Hill, there’s been a lot of talk about the Graham-Cassidy healthcare bill, the Republicans’ latest scheme to repeal Obamacare.

I know that it’s hard to keep track of all the proposals the Republicans in Washington have been floating around; however, according to every report I’ve read, this may be, by far, the most harmful plan yet.

According to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, if Graham-Cassidy becomes law, those with low to moderate incomes, Medicaid recipients (read: seniors, people with disabilities and families with children), and people with pre-existing conditions will be the most negatively impacted. Based on Congressional Budget Office calculations of a previous measure, it’s estimated that a repeal-and-replace plan like Graham-Cassidy could mean 32 million people would lose healthcare coverage.

That’s clearly unacceptable – and that many people losing health coverage simply means that health care costs will skyrocket for everyone as health care providers provide more and more uncompensated care.  If that’s not concerning enough, the federal government will give states block grants and control of how the money is spent, the power to determine what will be covered and how much that coverage will cost. There are several problems with this. Among them, block grants would disappear after 2026, leaving states to fully cover the cost, unless Congress reauthorizes the funding. Even worse, block grants will give state leaders the power to decide whether or not insurance companies have to cover pre-existing conditions, mental health care, substance abuse and maternity care.

I am afraid of what Texas’ leaders would do with the money. Our current governor has been very vocal in his opposition to the Affordable Care Act and has refused to expand Medicaid, which would insure another 1 million Texans. That’s compounded by the fact that our state has a long history of failure when it comes to healthcare.

For example:

  • Two years ago, Texas Republicans directed the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to slash spending for acute therapy services for kids, resulting in thousands of children being denied access to speech, occupational and physical therapy.
  • In 2003, Republicans passed a bill that made it harder for lower-income working families to get CHIP health coverage for their kids. As a result, in the three years after the bill was signed into law, 215,729 children lost access to their health coverage.  To add insult to injury, the bill required the privatization of the implementation of the program, at a cost over nearly $1 billion that resulted in scandal and fiscal mismanagement.

It’s important to point out that it’s not just Democrats who oppose the Graham-Cassidy bill; many Republicans do too. Several Republican and Democratic governors have sent a letter calling on Senate leadership to shelve the Graham-Cassidy measure and instead work toward a bipartisan solution.

I hope more Republicans lend their voice in opposition and soon. This bill is on the fast track.

What can you do to help stop this assault on health care? Join me in contacting Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz to tell them to oppose Graham-Cassidy.

U.S. Senator John Cornyn
North Texas Office
(972) 239-1310
Washington, DC Office
(202) 224-2934

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz
North Texas Office
(214) 599-8749
Washington, DC Office
(202) 224-5922

This is a bad bill for Texas and for people across our nation. Let’s make our voices heard.



Anger and disgust — those are two of many words that come to mind when I think of what happened in Charlottesville this weekend and of the hatred and division that has risen to the surface during the past several months.

The violence in Virginia was an act of domestic terrorism, plain and simple. These white supremacists and Nazis (or as they call themselves, the alt-right) are anything but patriots – they are un-American. Their goal is simple — to rip apart the fabric of what makes our nation great: its diversity, its compassion and its inclusion of all races, genders, religions and creeds.

On Saturday, after the president made his statement in response to the protests, I was reminded of something the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said: “the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

Two full days later, Trump finally condemned members of the KKK and other white supremacy groups, but as has been his modus operandi, his actions and words were too little too late.

Let me be clear, I know these groups and this hatred existed before the Trump presidency, but it is his harmful rhetoric that has emboldened the Richard Spencers and David Dukes of our nation. Dukes said it himself that, “We are going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump. That’s what we believed in. That’s why we voted for Donald Trump.”

We — you, me, our neighbors, family members and friends — can stand together to help stamp out this hateful rhetoric. We can donate to groups that fight this hate. We can talk to our friends and family. We must acknowledge and be honest about the divisions of racism. We can call our government officials and ask them to denounce the extreme activities of white supremacists.

We must not let anyone say this comes from “many sides,” because those opposing Nazism aren’t responsible.

Finally, we must remember the innocent lives that have been lost defending the diversity of our nation.

This is a watershed moment in our nation’s history, and our actions now have the power to change its course for the better. The vast majority of Americans denounce bigotry and white supremacy and we must all work every day to resist such hatred.

We have to remember that it is our obligation as Americans to change this, that we can change this, and that we must act.

Helping our neighbors

Early yesterday morning, fire broke out at an east Arlington apartment complex, displacing 37 residents and injuring four. According to news reports, the fire was a result of a domestic dispute involving gasoline, and impacted eight apartment units.

Please keep the residents and those injured in your thoughts and prayers.

Upon hearing the news, my district staff went to the complex to offer help to residents and the apartment staff, and to connect with local Red Cross representatives. During their visit, they learned that those who have been displaced were given housing by the apartment’s management. They also learned that other community partners, including Mission Arlington, are working with the Red Cross to help replace what has been lost.

At this point, it’s our understanding that there is no immediate need for specific items to help these House District 101 constituents, but if that changes, we will post information on my Facebook page. Of course, there are other ways you can help our neighbors in need, both those impacted by yesterday’s fire and others who may be facing other challenges.

To help ensure that others remain safe, the Red Cross will be hosting a smoke detector installation event in Arlington on September 30th. If you’re interested in volunteering or learning more, click here. If you would rather help our neighbors in other ways, visit the North Texas Red Crossand/or Mission Arlington websites today.

As always, if you need help from our office, please call 817-459-2800.


During my four terms serving in the Texas House of Representatives, and as the current chair of the Texas House Democratic Caucus, I have been on the frontline fighting to create more opportunity for Texas families: better funding for our public schools, improved access to healthcare, protecting the rights of all Texans and expanding consumer protection.

Back at home, my number one priority has and always will be to engage members of our community and for our office to be a resource for constituents. Through informational events, our Texas 101 Task Force, and effective constituent services, we have been able to accomplish a great deal on behalf of the people of House District 101.

There’s still more I would like to do both here at home and at the Capitol.That is why I am seeking re-election to the Texas House of Representatives.

With your help, I will continue to serve the people of Arlington and Grand Prairie as a strong voice supporting real solutions for ALL Texans – and I will continue to help lead the charge in the House against the divisive, partisan agenda of Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick.

To be successful, I need your help.

I hope you will sign on as an early supporter of my 2018 re-election effort and contribute before today’s critical midnight deadline.

Working together, we will continue to help our neighbors and to fight for what really matters to our community and our state.

#TXLEGE in Review, Part 1

It’s so good to be home. To be perfectly honest, I was happy to see Austin in my rearview mirror when I was driving up I-35 on Tuesday. There is a lot to say about what happened in this just-concluded legislative session, and I won’t try to say it all in one email. There was some good, but a lot more bad.

I have always said my most important job is to work for our district. So, I will start my recap there and let you know some of the things we worked on for the benefit of Arlington and Grand Prairie.

SH 360: The Rosa Parks Memorial Parkway

First and foremost, I am thrilled to announce that once construction is complete, the SH 360 extension from Sublett/Camp Wisdom Road to the northern Mansfield city limit will be named the Rosa Parks Memorial Parkway. Paying homage to this Civil Rights icon is an appropriate way to highlight and honor our community’s rich diversity. This effort would not have been successful without the support of so many in House District 101. The portion of the road south of District 101 will be named for former state Senator Chris Harris.

Arlington & Grand Prairie Transit Study

I successfully added language to the budget which will allow the University of Texas at Arlington to study the transit needs of the communities I serve. As you know, Arlington is the largest city in the nation without a mass transit system. Grand Prairie, and its growing population, also lacks transit. The study, which will focus on the transit needs in our community and how they may be addressed, will be completed by the end of 2018. A leading urban research university, UT Arlington is well-positioned to conduct this important study.

Mental Health

We have talked a lot over the last couple of years about the immense mental health needs in Texas.  One of the best displays of bipartisanship this session was significant mental health reforms, aimed at improving access and providing more funding for those organizations doing the important work on the front lines. I was proud to be a joint author of HB 13 by Rep. Four Price, which establishes a matching grant program for community mental health programs. I worked closely with Rep. Price to add provisions to the bill that will make the grant program more accessible for large county mental health authorities, such as MHMR of Tarrant County.

In my next email, I’ll highlight some of the work I did in the areas of ethics, education, voter rights and protecting children. I’m glad to be able to share news of these victories with you, knowing that none of them would be possible were it not for your continued support and involvement.



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