State Representative Sylvester Turner
Sylvester Turner was raised in Acres Homes and attended the University of Houston and Harvard Law School before founding The Law Office of Barnes and Turner in 1983. He has served as a seminar lecturer for the University of Houston Law School and South Texas College of Law, and as an adjunct professor for the Thurgood Marshall School of Law.
Rep. Turner was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1988 and has since earned the respect of his colleagues from every corner of the state and across the political spectrum. He ran for Mayor of City of Houston in 1991 and 2003 and though he fell short, he continues to offer himself for public service.
Representative Turner’s Awards and Honors Received
In 2003, Rep. Turner was awarded the Helen Farabee Community Leadership Award by the Houston Mental Health Association. He has twice been honored by the Texas Classroom Teachers as a Legislative Star for leading the fight for students and educators. He was named one of “The Best of the 77th Legislature” by Hispanic Journal for his work on education and consumer rights. For his efforts to ensure open and accessible government, Turner was awarded the “Star of Texas Award” by Common Cause of Texas and the “Open Government Award” by the Texas Daily Newspaper Association. Rep. Turner was also named one of the Ten Best Legislators of the 75th and the 80th Legislative Sessions by Texas Monthly Magazine.
Rep. Turner has also received prestigious awards for his monumental work as a champion for the Children’s Health Insurance Program and Medicaid. These awards include: the “2007 Texas Hospital Advocacy Tribute Award” by the Texas Hospital Association; the “Friends of Medicine Award” by the Texas Medical Association; the “Champion for Children Award” by the Amerigroup Foundation; the 2007 “Child Advocacy Award” by the Texas Pediatric Society; and the “Presidential Award of Merit” from the Texas Association of Family Physicians.
Rep. Turner has been honored by the Epilepsy Foundation of Southeast Texas for his work in securing funding for specialty clinics that serve low-income adult Texans with seizure disorders. He has also received the Legislative Award from the Texas Police Chiefs Association and the Legislative Excellence Award from the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Texas. Rep. Turner was additionally honored with the “2007 Park Advocate Award” from the Greater Houston Partnership which is symbolic of his lifetime commitment to positively transforming neighborhoods and communities.
Representative Turner’s Legislative Service
Representative Turner currently serves as one of three house members appointed to the Legislative Budget Board which oversees the State’s $150 billion dollar budget. In his previous legislative service, Rep. Turner served as Speaker Pro Tempore of the Texas Legislature, Chairman of Budget and Oversight of the Regulated Industries Committee, member of the powerful Calendars Committee, Chairman of the Criminal Justice Subcommittee with the Appropriations Committee and as member of the Select Committee on Electric Generation Capacity and Environmental Effects.
Following Hurricane Ike, Rep. Turner was appointed by House Speaker Tom Craddick to serve as chair of the House Select Committee on Hurricane Ike Storm Devastation to the Texas Gulf Coast. The committee was charged with reviewing and providing recommendations for the state and local government response to the hurricane and identifying issues for the Texas Legislature to address to prepare for future natural disasters and their aftermath. Rep. Turner is currently serving as a member of the State Affairs Committee, Business and Industry Committee, Criminal Justice Legislative Oversight Committee and is also serving as Chair of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus and Co-Chair of the Harris County Legislative Delegation.
Representative Turner’s Community Involvement
Rep. Turner is extremely proud of an ongoing initiative in his district at the Sylvester Turner Park to create an Urban Youth Baseball Academy sponsored by Major League Baseball and the Houston Astros. This Academy is the second of its kind in the country and will provide not only baseball instruction but vocational and education components for thousands of children each year. The grand opening for the Academy is April 10, 2010.
He is also currently a member of Brookhollow Baptist Church. Rep. Turner is the proud father of Ashley Paige Turner, a graduate student at Texas Woman’s University in Houston, focusing on public health and public health administration.