Despite an abundance of blessings in my life, Thanksgiving is often a bittersweet time for me. My dear friend, boss, and mentor, Congressman Mickey Leland, would have turned 70 years old today. As I discussed on the recent 25th anniversary of his untimely passing, Mickey died as he lived: trying to end world hunger and serving as a voice for the voiceless.
As a member of the Texas House of Representatives and then Congress, he fought tirelessly for those less privileged on issues such as affordable housing, universal access to health care, and civil rights. In the true spirit of Thanksgiving, Mickey wanted to give all people the opportunity to share at the grand table of prosperity and the American Dream.
His inspiration and resolve still motivate my service today. With Texas’ 84th Legislative Session beginning in less than 50 days, I have already filed a number of bills that fight for the same values that Mickey instilled in me:
- Senate Bill 65, the Texas Equal Pay Act, would ensure women are paid the same as men when they do the same work.
- Senate Bill 67 would increase Texas’ minimum wage to $10.10 so that if you work hard at a full-time job, you can earn more than poverty level wages.
- Senate Bill 81 would create a Texas Innocence Commission to investigate post-conviction exonerations, find out what went wrong, and make recommendations to prevent such tragedies from reoccurring in the future.
- Senate Bill 89 would close our state’s coverage gap under the Affordable Care Act, providing affordable health coverage options to one million low income adults in Texas.
- Senate Bill 91 would implement a 36 percent rate cap on all payday loans so that Texans aren’t gouged by predatory lenders with 500 percent APR loans.
As I count my blessings this Thanksgiving, the honor of serving as the State Senator from District 13 is not far from the top. I want to thank my constituents, family, colleagues, and staff for making my time in public service meaningful in so many ways.
I pledge to continue fighting for the families of District 13 to make Texas a great place to live, work, and raise a family. Texans deserve a state that gives its residents a fair shot to pull themselves out of poverty, offers all children access to quality educational opportunities, and provides every family access to affordable and quality health care.
That’s the Texas Mickey fought for. Let’s continue the fight.