avatar for Rep. Sylvester Turner

Rep. Sylvester Turner

Texas House of Representatives
District 139

Representative Sylvester Turner was raised in the Acres Homes community in northwest Houston.   He attended the University of Houston and Harvard Law School before joining the law firm of Fulbright & Jaworski.  He later founded the Houston law firm of Barnes & Turner in 1983.  Representative Turner was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1988 to serve the people of House District 139 in Harris County.  

Representative Turner has served more than 24 years in the Texas House of Representatives.  He is a member of the Legislative Budget Board; Vice Chair of the House Appropriations Committee; Chair of the Subcommittee on Articles 1, 4 and 5 (General Government, Judiciary, Public Safety and Criminal Justice); and a member of the House State Affairs Committee.  He also chairs both the Texas Legislative Black Caucus and the Greater Houston Area Legislative Delegation.

From 2003 to 2009, Representative Turner served as Speaker Pro Tempore of the Texas House.  He has also chaired the House Criminal Justice Appropriations Committee and the House Select Committee on Hurricane Ike Storm Devastation to the Texas Gulf Coast, and served as a member of the House Calendars Committee and the House Select Committee on Electric Generation Capacity and Environmental Effects. 

Representative Turner has received numerous awards and honors during his 25 years in the House. Following the 83rd Regular Session, Capitol Inside named him the "Most Valuable Player in the Texas House."  Noting that Turner's leadership role in budget negotiations preserved crucial funding for future water needs and public school money, Capitol Inside praised him for delivering "what very well might have been the greatest performance by a state legislator on either side of the aisle in modern Texas history."  Texas political blog Texpatriate named Representative Turner one of the "Best Members of the House," calling him the "secret ace-in-the-hole when it came to budget and water negotiations" during the regular session.  In July, the Court-appointed Special Advocate Association (CASA) honored Representative Turner as one of its "13 Big Voices for Little Texans in 2013."  In August 2013, Turner received the Humanitarian Award at the national conference of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity. 

Following the 82nd Legislature, Representative Turner received honorable mention from Texas Monthly magazine for “his passionate defense of the voiceless."  He was awarded the "2011 Legislative Leadership Award" from AARP for his dedication to protecting seniors and the "Hero Award" from the NAACP of Texas.  Turner was also recognized by a number of organizations and associations for his staunch advocacy to prevent the massive state budget cuts that drastically reduced services essential to schools, the disabled, the elderly, children and low-income citizens.

Other past awards have included the "Helen Farabee Community Leadership Award" (Houston Mental Health Association); "Legislative Star" (twice awarded by the Texas Classroom Teachers Association); "Best of the 77th Legislature" (Hispanic Journal); "Star of Texas Award" (Common Cause of Texas); "Open Government Award" (Texas Daily Newspaper Association);  "Ten Best Legislators of the 75th and 80th Legislative Sessions" (Texas Monthly Magazine); "Texas Hospital Advocacy Tribute Award" (Texas Hospital Association); "Friends of Medicine Award" (Texas Medical Association); "Champion for Children Award" (Amerigroup Foundation); "Child Advocacy Award" (Texas Pediatric Society); and the "Presidential Award of Merit" (Texas Association of Family Physicians). 

Representative Turner is extremely proud of an initiative to which he gave vision many years ago.  The Urban Youth Baseball Academy, housed at Sylvester Turner Park, is sponsored by Major League Baseball and the Houston Astros.  He also hosts a number of community-wide events and town hall meetings for the public, including "Family Fun Day" on the second Saturday of each April.  This event serves nearly 15,000 Houstonians and features free food, music, baseball games and other activities for family members of all ages.  Turner also coordinates the annual Acres Homes Juneteenth Parade, which showcases the best of Acres Homes and features area school drill teams, bands, churches, businesses and community leaders.

Representative Turner is a member of Brookhollow Baptist Church.  He is the proud father of Ashley Paige Turner, a graduate of University of Texas at San Antonio and Texas Women's University.