After much prayer, combined with careful and thoughtful deliberation with my family, I have decided not to seek re-election. This is obviously a difficult decision and one that tugs at my heart.
I deeply appreciate the respect shown to me by elected officials, community leaders, and friends in asking me to reconsider my decision. Although extremely difficult, respectfully, my decision remains the same.
During my tenure in the Texas House of Representatives, much has been accomplished. Education has been my highest priority from pre-k to graduate medical education. Everyone deserves an opportunity for a good education. After high school, one should be provided access to an affordable college education or an opportunity for a skill certificate to earn a living.
It has been rewarding to look back on my work on the Appropriations Committee. Last session I was able to lead an effort to obtain a $25 million appropriation included in the base budget for both Texas Southern and Prairie View A & M universities. As a part of the base budget, this appropriation will not cease when I leave. It simply is not fair to expect these two schools to perform at the same level as other state universities when they are not funded at the same level.
Right here at home, a few years back when the doors of Paul Quinn College were about to be closed, with the help of then State Rep. Sylvester Turner, I was able to raise $1.3 million dollars to keep the doors open. I petitioned Commissioner Raymond Parades of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to grant a certificate of authority to Paul Quinn so that degrees could continue to be awarded. I remain grateful to the Meadows Foundation and Linda Evans for the first $500,000, and to DeMetris Sampson, who gave the largest individual gift.
Whether it be creating the Academic Bridge Program at UTD, or partnering with Senator Royce West to establish the University of North Texas at Dallas, my commitment to education has never wavered.
Moreover, creating alcohol free zones around schools was a major victory for students. The “lunch shaming” legislative initiative and $200,000 plus raised for that effort will ensure that some students will receive at least one hot meal a day.
While we have accomplished a great deal, so much more remains to be done. I care deeply about every child being able to reach his/her full potential. This is the only way that Texas will remain competitive both domestically and internationally.
What a blessing for me to have been chosen as one of 150 members of the Texas House of Representatives to serve over 27 million people in this state. I will be eternally grateful for the many lifelong relationships that will continue to enrich my life.
Public service should be honorable. I am hopeful the Legislature will find the courage to compromise and understand the critical need to look past our party labels and differences to find the common ground for progress.
I have been tremendously fortunate to have had a competent, compassionate, and caring staff. That includes my current staff; Tamara Sadler, Elaine Taylor, Stephani Clark, David Feigen, and TaShon Thomas.
Chairing the Texas Legislative Black Caucus is a highlight of my career. The confidence the African American members placed in me at this critical time is indeed gratifying.
Building the Texas African American History Memorial monument at the Capitol, which depicts the journey of African Americans and their many accomplishments, will always loom large. Standing on the South lawn of the Capitol grounds in all its majesty, elicits a sense of pride and offers a glimpse of history that will inspire generations to come.
Serving the people of Texas has made an enormous difference in my life. I have worked day in and out in an honest and sincere attempt to make a positive difference in the lives of others. That investment in others is what makes our own lives meaningful.
The people of District 109 are politically astute. They are aware and engaged and will elect a well-qualified, remarkable person to represent and serve them. While I am not seeking re-election, with God’s help, I will never stop seeking to serve God’s people.
In January 2019, I will begin the next chapter in my life. Until that time, I will continue to serve with the same enthusiasm that I did on my first day. My family and I solicit your prayers and at the same time, we ask God’s blessings for each of you.