Representative Sylvester Turner is a Houston-based attorney first elected to represent HD-139 in 1988. He currently sits on the House Business and Industry and State Affairs committees, Criminal Justice Legislative Oversight Committee and serves as chairman of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus and co-chairman of the Harris County Legislative Delegation.
His previous posts include Speaker Pro Tempore of the Texas Legislature, chairman of Budget and Oversight of the Regulated Industries Committee, member of Calendars Committee, chairman of the Criminal Justice Subcommittee and member of the Select Committee on Electric Capacity and Environmental Effects. In 2006 Turner was appointed to serve on the Legislative Budget Board.
Tuner cites as his legislative accomplishments his efforts to expand the Texas Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and to improve the lives of students and educators. For his work as a legislator Turner has been awarded the 2007 “Child Advocacy Award” from the Texas Pediatric Society and the “Presidential Award of Merit” from the Texas Association of Family Physicians, the "2007 Texas Hospital Advocacy Tribute Award" by the Texas Hospital Association, the "Friends of Medicine Award" by the Texas Medical Association, and the "Champion for Children" Award by the Amerigroup Foundation.
Turner has also been honored with the "2007 Park Advocate Award" from the Greater Houston Partnership, has been recognized by the Texas Classroom Teachers as a “Legislative Star” and was named one of "The Best of the 77th Legislature" by Hispanic Journal. Turner was also awarded the "Star of Texas Award" by Common Cause of Texas and the "Open Government Award" by the Texas Daily Newspaper Association. He was also named to Texas Monthly’s “Ten Best Legislators “list during the 75th and 80th legislative sessions.
Turner 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.
Turner is the proud father of Ashley Paige Turner, a graduate student at Texas Woman's University in Houston.