For our fifth annual State of the District luncheon, we’re thrilled to have Mayor Sylvester Turner as our keynote speaker. You may know about his tireless efforts for the city during Hurricane Harvey, or his pothole repair initiative to repair reported potholes by the following business day.
What you probably don’t know is that Mayor Turner is a lifelong Houston resident with a hard fought road to leading the city. You’ll hear about current plans for the District and its place in the city at the luncheon on February 14, but in the meantime, here are five facts about our keynote speaker’s life before he became the leader of our city:
- He grew up in the Acres Homes community in northwest Houston, as the sixth of nine children. They lived in a two-bedroom house, and he worked hard to help support his family. Throughout Turner’s career he has championed the middle-class and shaped policies to address needs specific to Houston communities.
- He was senior class president and valedictorian. Keen to use education as a tool to excel, Turner worked hard academically throughout high school, earning his diploma with honors at Klein High School in 1973.
- He attended U of H. At the University of Houston he was on the debate team, became Speaker of the Student Senate and graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. degree in political science. He later went on to receive his J.D. from Harvard Law School. #GoCoogs
- Before becoming mayor of Houston, Turner served 27 years in the Texas House of Representatives. He chaired several critical committees in the state legislature, including the Texas Legislative Black Caucus and the Greater Houston Area Legislative Delegation.
- He’s a supporter of public education and accessible mental health services. Partnering with organizations like Early Matters, HouSTEM and Houston Arts Access Initiative, Mayor Turner’s administration has focused on forging community partnerships to support the Houston Independent School District and its students. He also led efforts to address students’ psychological trauma in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and was a proponent of the Judge Ed Emmett Mental Health Diversion Center that opened in 2018.