Celebrating Political Diversity During Black History Month: Meet Scott Turner
This is the second in a short series of articles designed to offer balance in our celebration of black history month, by honoring a few black conservatives who are making a difference.
Meet Scott Turner, a first term Republican Texas State Representative, representing District 33 which encompasses all of Rockwall and parts of Collin counties. I interviewed Scott over this past weekend, to hear about life in Texas’ 83rd legislative session, and to find out more about this soft-spoken, confident yet humble, successful man.
Scott is the first in his family to have attended college, graduating from the University of Illinois with a degree in speech communication. His college years included playing football and running track, and meeting his bride-to-be Robin, to whom he has been happily married to for 17 years.
Scott’s professional background ranges from playing football in the NFL for nine years (Redskins, Chargers, Broncos), and founding SPEAKAWORD, a national motivational speaking company. He serves as the Director of Business Development for Systemware, Inc.; as a public relations officer for T Bank (an Addison community bank); and as a Player Advisor for NFL players.
My main reason for interviewing Scott was to find out what makes him tick, politically speaking. How did he come to be such a strong, clear-thinking, well-spoken conservative, who, as he says, “happens to be black”?
Scott’s family background certainly contributed. He is a fourth generation Texan, born and raised in Dallas and Richardson, and came from a family of “hard-working” parents. His parents’ divorce motivated him to want to try to break the cycle of divorce. He speaks of “making families whole.”
The issues of most importance to him in the legislature are protecting the sanctity of life, supporting traditional family values, helping Texas businesses to succeed and grow, maintaining a strong defense, nationally and in Texas, and standing for government accountability and transparency. He feels responsible to retain Texas’ business friendly economic and regulatory environment. He likes the idea that “government is there to serve, not to be served.”
Scott is a life-long Republican, but he points out that he has studied the history and values of both parties, and his commitment to the Republican Party comes from intense study. The basic principles he says propel him to be Republican are support for small and limited government, determination to protect individual liberties and freedoms given to us by our Creator and by our Constitution, and recognition that low tax rates on individuals and on businesses make for a strong economy.
Because Scott volunteered that many people he meets on a daily basis are surprised he is Republican, I asked about how Republicans can do a better job connecting and sharing our message with black voters. Do we have a failure to communicate, or have most of those voters heard and then rejected the conservative, Republican message?
Scott’s answers were insightful and simple:
- Most blacks are socially conservative, very spiritual, emotionally driven, and have a heart for people, for the Lord, and for their faith. And, Scott says, “therein lies a conservative foundation.” Keep that in thought.
- Stop focusing just on elections or just on votes, and focus on the hearts of the people. Really take time to talk to people, to find out what their concerns are, what their values are. He seemed to be saying that if we engage the heart, the votes will follow.
- Dynamic leaders help, those who can impart a clear message of integrity, spoken from the heart and listening to the hearts of others.
- You have to take time with people, time to explain why your views are what they are. Make the effort to explain things---too many people don’t have the facts, and if you don’t, you cannot possibly understand the issues or make good judgments on those issues.
We spoke briefly about the debt and impending financial consequences, and the media’s complicity in failing to sound the alarm bell about it. Scott’s comment was that the media do after all live on the same planet we all do and will have to deal with the same eventual debt crisis, but they somehow don’t seem to notice or care.
Rep. Turner described how too many politicians are worried about the next election instead of the next generation. Scott says he has peace of mind in his position in the legislature because he is not worried about tomorrow, only about doing the best thing right now. He is thinking every day about doing the very best job he can as though this was his last opportunity.
Wouldn’t it be great if all politicians adopted that standard?