Mayor's Office Press Release
Mayor Turner Responds to Chronicle Article on Staff Changes
March 11, 2017 -- I hear the concerns of those quoted in “Progressives fret over Turner's focus” in today’s Houston Chronicle. I, too, will miss the advice and counsel of my Chief of Staff Alison Brock – we've fought many tough battles together over the last 18 years and I have great respect for her.
Alison’s departure notwithstanding, we need everyone in the boat right now. There are a lot of important issues in play that have the potential to greatly impact all Houstonians, including those of us who identify as progressives. Make no mistake, these issues are all interconnected.
Take pension reform - we’re making history by moving controversial legislation through the Texas Legislature. For the first time ever, everyone is united and moving forward together. Yet, if we fail, Houston will face drastic layoffs and severe service cuts. I’m working every day to prevent such a disaster – because the people who will be hurt the worst are those who rely on government the most: working families, homeless Houstonians, people living at the margins in our society, people who have been left behind as the income gap continues to widen.
Last year, we closed a $160 million shortfall without cutting services or laying off employees. This year, because of ballooning pension payments and the revenue cap that’s slowly strangling our ability to operate, we’re staring down another huge budget gap. Repealing the revenue cap should be a priority that unites every Houstonian, progressive or otherwise.
The fear that is gripping our immigrant communities is real. We’ve taken a stand that Houston is a welcoming city and taken steps to ensure our police officers do their jobs instead of the jobs of federal immigration agents. Is that enough? Of course not, and we will continue to move forward to protect vulnerable Houstonians.
We’re working to provide more flood relief, more affordable housing, thousands of summer jobs for our youth, new skills and new jobs for the chronically unemployed, and a new holistic approach to homelessness – despite the threat of massive cuts in federal funding being debated right now in Washington.
These fights are about the soul of our city. They are much more important than who is, or is not, on my staff in city government. Winning them will take all of us working together.