Rice University’s Student Newspaper — Since 1916

Friday, April 19, 2024 — Houston, TX

Vote Sylvester Turner for Houston mayor

12/1/15 5:04pm

Sylvester Turner has dedicated his career to improving Houston, and on Dec. 12 Houston will have the opportunity to elect him mayor for the next four years. I have spent the last three months interning on his campaign and have encountered people of all ethnicities, ages and party affiliations who work long hours in hopes that Turner is elected the next mayor of Houston. His qualifications for office are unmatched, and his plan to carry Houston into its bright future is sound. However, to understand Sylvester Turner and his passion for this city, first you need to understand where Turner is from and the obstacles he overcame to become the man he is today.

Sylvester Turner was born on Sept. 27, 1954. He grew up with nine siblings in a two-bedroom home in the Acres Homes section of Houston. The Acres Homes district is one of the poorest in Houston, where 37 percent of residents fall below the federal poverty line. His father was a commercial painter and his mother was a maid. He graduated valedictorian and was the senior class president at Klein High School, attended the University of Houston and graduated summa cum laude before going on to Harvard Law School. After graduating he returned to Houston and established his own law firm in 1983. 

Turner’s spent 26 years in the Texas House of Representatives fighting for Houston and fiscal responsibility. He is on the Legislative Budget Board, is the vice chairman of the Appropriations Committee and has directly overseen the balancing of the Texas State Budget twice. He secured funding to renovate a run-down park in the Acres Homes community that has provided 2,000 inner-city youth with access athletic facilities and recreational opportunities. Turner fought in the House for tax incentives for companies to come to Houston as well as increased funding for local schools and lower insurance rates for low-income Houstonians. He has spent his life fighting to make Houston better.

Turner bases his vision for the future of Houston on three main initiatives. He plans to revamp our infrastructure, make our communities safer and invest in Houston’s educational system. Turner’s plan will carry Houston into the future and make opportunity a reality for all Houstonians. 

The Road to the Future Initiative would allocate $300 million to the infrastructure budget to expand highways, fill in potholes and smooth out sidewalks. These changes would make it safer and more comfortable for Houstonians to get to and from school and work as well as prepare Houston for further population growth in the immediate future.

The Partners in Safety Initiative is a multi-step plan to improve relations between poor and minority communities and the Houston police force to make this city safer. The first step is to increase Houston’s police force by 540 officers to 6,000 total officers by 2020, the first increase in the police force since 2005. Turner would also reinstate the D.A.R.E. program to increase drug and alcohol awareness and personalize the relationship between police officers and students. Turner would also implement legislation to subsidize housing for officers in the communities they serve with the aim of increasing respect for police officers and for these officers to be wary of using excessive force, as they would be protecting their neighbors and friends. The last step in Turner’s Partners in Safety Initiative is to fund a body camera program for every officer in Houston. Increasing police accountability ensures that the communities historically affected by police brutality will feel safer in their neighborhoods, knowing that the officers protecting them will be held to the standard to which they should be.

Turner’s last initiative is the Partners in Learning Initiative, aimed at providing opportunities for every young Houstonian to improve their lives and have access to a great education. His experience in the Texas State Legislature puts Turner in a strong position to secure the funding that Houston schools need as well as fight against potentially devastating school closures in the city’s most impoverished areas. His plan also includes after-school and summer programs so that students from single-parent households or households where both parents work can receive homework help and have structure in their lives to keep them off the streets and focused on getting an education. 

Sylvester Turner has been fighting for Houston his entire life. His campaign has been endorsed by the Houston Police Union, Houston Firefighters Union, Harris County Deputy Sheriff’s Union, the LGBT Caucus of Houston, the Houston Chronicle, conservative former mayoral candidate Stephen Costello, liberal former mayoral candidate Adrian Garcia and multiple other Republicans and Democrats throughout Texas who believe that his unparalleled experience and passion for improving this city makes him the clear choice to lead this city. On Dec. 12 get out and vote for Houston’s future. Vote for Sylvester Turner.

Maurice Frediere is a Duncan College freshman and campaign intern for Sylvester Turner

More from The Rice Thresher

OPINION 4/16/24 10:18pm
Do more to make campus bird-friendly

April is the month of many things: Beer Bike, a solar eclipse, the last day of classes and, perhaps lesser known, Earth Month. As Rice launches a series of Earth Month events, I would like to address our potential as a campus community to be more environmentally conscious, particularly in an effort to make this campus more friendly to birds.

OPINION 4/10/24 2:41pm
Student activism is working – and fear-mongering cannot hold us back

S.RES 02, titled “Student Association Boycott and Divestment from Corporations Complicit in the Ongoing Genocide in Gaza,” was presented to the Student Association on March 25. This resolution proposes the creation of an Ethical Spending Advisory Board designed to ensure that Blanket Tax funds are not dedicated to corporations that are complicit in Israeli colonial violence and apartheid based on guidelines created by the BDS movement. 


Please note All comments are eligible for publication by The Rice Thresher.