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Representative Scott Turner was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 2012.  In May, he was named to GOPAC's list of 2013 Emerging Leaders for his leadership in the Texas House and named a Courageous Conservative by the Texas Conservative Coalition.  In addition, Texas Eagle Forum recognized him as a Top Rated Conservative in the Texas House.




            Well, first of all I'd like to acknowledge my sweet wife Robin who is here with me.  We'll be married 18 years next month.  That is my baby from my youth.  And Brook and Dr. Linegger and all the staff members from TTPF and Board members.  Thank you for having me and I'm very glad to be here with you all here in this joyous New Year and I'm very humbled to be able to stand on the stage and to address you.  I'm humbled to be before my colleagues in the House and in the Senate.  Y'all know how much I love you.  You know how much I appreciate you.  And thank you for your encouragement and being here.  And one of my friends from my childhood from seventh grade is here, Bruce Scott, who is sitting right here.   So I'm under a lot of pressure.   He's been knowing me for a long time. 


            But anyway, hey, you know what?  I'm not Mike Ditka.  I'm not the coach and John Smith, he told me, he said, you know what, I think you're tougher than Mike Ditka.  And I said, I think I am.  I'm not him.  I'm just Scotty T. but I'm here.  And it's my prayer and it's my hope that the word and the message and the few examples from my own life experience that I share with you today will be an encouragement, an exhortation if you will, and then in the end to offer up a challenge for all of us. 


            The New Year – happy New Year by the way – the New Year always brings great opportunity for reflection, for contemplation.  It brings great opportunity for us to take an assessment of our lives, our families, our careers, our ministries.  Those things that we do on a daily basis.  It gives us an opportunity to ask ourselves what did I accomplish in the past year?  In what areas did I grow and in what areas, if you're honest, did I fall short?  It gives us an opportunity more importantly to say where am I headed?  Where am I going today?  What is your vision?  What are your goals?  What is your heart's desire? 


            When I was a kid, 10 years old that wasn't that long ago, I'm 41 now I'll be 42 next month and I be grateful for it.  I'm one step closer to glory.  But anyway, when I was 10 years old my heart's desire was to play in the National Football League.  I wanted to be like Tony Dorsett.  I wanted to go to SMU and be a part of the Pony Express like my friends.  And one day I was standing on the threshold of the front door of our home.  Momma and I were on one side and my daddy was on the other.  And I knew that something was wrong.  I knew that this here was not normal.  It didn't feel right.  And in the midst of the fragmentation, the tearing apart if you will of my family unit, I looked at my momma and I said, Momma, one day I'm 'a play in the NFL and I'm 'a take care of you.  And she said you can do it. 


            Well I lived with my mom for a little while and then I moved in with my father.  'Bout 13 years old and I played football in junior high, I ran track.  Played football in high school and ran track.  I was always a two sport guy.  But I also did very well in school because I understood that one day sports would end but that my mind and my education could take me further than my feet could ever take me. 


            And so I was at football practice one day and I'm reminded of this brief story.  I'm at football practice one day at the J. J. Pierce High School – anybody heard of J. J. Pierce in Richardson?  I'm a Richardson boy, I'm a local kid.  I'm at football practice one day and my father pulls up.  And Craig, this was very unusual because my daddy always worked two jobs.  He's been working at Mrs. Baird’s for 35 years to this day and we had a janitorial business cleaning up, you know, day care centers and banks and whatnot.  And so he always was at work but he showed on this particular day.  And I said, "Daddy, what are you doing here?  I know you didn't come to watch practice 'cause we're done."  He said, "Get in the car."  I said, "Well where we going?"  He said, "I'm taking you to work."  I said, "I don't have a job."  He said, "You do now." 


            So he took me to this place called Spring Creek Barbeque.  Anybody ever heard of Spring Creek Barbeque.  Well he took me to Spring Creek and took me in the back room.  We couldn't even go in the front door.  We went in the back door, I knew I was in trouble then.  And the manager came out with two white plastic robes the kind you can get wet.  You probably know what my job was.  Dishwasher.  And this manager handed my father one robe and he handed me the other.  He said, "Son, welcome to Spring Creek Barbeque, you're the new dishwasher."  And I looked at him, I said, "Man, do you know who I am?"  I said, "My name is Scott Turner No. 42 for J. J. Pierce, running back.  I score all the touchdowns."  Happen to know I didn't have any humility.  He said, "Boy, you better put this robe on."  So I put it on. 


            And my daddy taught me – it was about 4:30, restaurant pretty empty.  And my daddy taught me, he said, "You got to have a system by which to wash the dishes.  You wash your pots and your pans, you silverware and then all your glassware and you keep up.  But you got to have a system."  It was a conveyor belt with two big old sinks and I'm spraying and I'm watching him.  And then he took his robe off and left. 


            Well it's about 5:30 so I get a few dishes comin' in from the busboys.  Six O’clock, Six Thirty, if anybody has every worked in the restaurant industry, everybody in the restaurant got up and left at one time.  And if you're a busboy or a dishwasher that is a nightmare especially if it's your first day.  So long story short, I'm back there washin' dishes trying to keep.  System is gone Ron I had lost the whole system.  And I'm falling behind, Mr.  Dorman, the boys are coming back there saying all kind 'a bad things at me and all kind 'a languages and I'm crying and I'm like oh, my gosh.  So I take the robe off and I threw it in the trash.  Pick up the phone and call my dad.  We didn't have cell phone back then, I picked up the restaurant phone, called my dad.  "Hey man, come git me.  I'm not washin' these dishes."  He says, "Scott Turner."  "Yes sir."  He said, "You will not quit, not today, not ever."  And he hung the phone up in my face.  "What?  No you didn't." 


            But I thank the Lord that he hung up on me that day.  Because I never quit anything from that day until now.  So here I am in football, high school.  I get a scholarship to the University of Illinois.  And a lot of people say, "Well, you're being recruited by all these schools in Texas, all these big schools around the country.  Why would you go to the University of Illinois?"  And I said, "Because they let me run track and play football too."  See in 1990 schools in Texas didn't want you to be a two-sport athlete as a Freshman.  But I thank the Lord I went to Illinois 'cause that where I met my bride. 


            And so I'm here at Illinois on a football scholarship but I'm also running track.  And while at Illinois the first three years there I couldn't even get on the field.  Now here I am a top recruit, a track star, a running back.  In my own mind I'm the best running back at the school and I can't even get on the field.  They say, "You a great athlete we just don't know where to put you."  Now you see what's wrong with these coaches and these teams.  But anyway we goin' move on.  How you goin' be a great athlete and can't get on the field?  They got all these smart coaches, know all this paperwork and all these things.  But anyway y'all know I'm scarred. 


            I'm All American in track.  Multiple Big Ten champion in the 400 meters, 45, 44 seconds in the 100.  But track was extra credit.  Football was the vision.  Football was the dream.  Football was the ticket.  Three years couldn't get on the field and on top o' that, suffered a broken jaw, missed eight games of another year.  How many know my dream was fadin' away.  Didn't look too good for a kid who had one year left in college.  One year left to play to fulfill the dream that he told his momma on the threshold that one day I will play in the NFL. 


            Well, my coach Sherman Smith played nine years in the NFL, 6-foot-3, 235 pound running back, right?  Like my man Craig.  He walked up to me one day, he said, "If you get the opportunity to switch to defensive back, take it."  Now mind you, I been playin' runnin' back all my life and receiver.  I have never backpedaled a day in my life.  And they come to me and they say, "Son, we want to move you to defensive back."  I said, "I'll take it."  The very first time that I backpedaled in live competition it was a spring game at the University of Illinois, 16,000 blue and orange streamers out there.  They don't even know about football, they just scream and they yell, and they can just get out of class and come to da game. 


            Well, we out there, and y'all, the very first time in that live competition that I backpedaled, I fell.  Fell down.  Humiliation.  It was horrible.  My boys on the team said you want to play on the NF of what?  You can't even backpedal.  But soon as I hit the ground, boom, I got back up.  Kept on backpedaling.  Why?  Because I had a vision, I had a dream. 


            Well, I won the starting position from one of my best friends, a four-year starter, I won.  I started the whole year.  Led the team in interceptions and tackles from defensive back.  So here we are.  Number one defense in the country, Simian Rice, Kevin Hardy, Dana Howard, John Hollis, they all first and second round potential draft picks and then li'l ol' Scotty T. starting over here on the right corner.  I didn't have a lotta name but I was a starter.  We 'da number one defense.  NFL Combine.  Anybody heard of Combine?  Let me see your hands.  The NFL cut – now they have it on TV.  See back then it wasn't on TV, it wasn't even on the radio.  But the NFL Combine they bring all the potential NFL players or draft pick to come to Indianapolis, Indiana to try them, to test them, to see how  fast and strong and how smart they are, how flexible they are.  And they bring all these potential kids, one million people in the NCAA that play college football 300 invitations go out to the Combine.  How many know you got to be bad to the bone to go to the Combine?  But you also have to be invited. 


            So here I am, a starter on the number one defense.  I know I'm goin' to the Combine.  I'm da fastest person on the field.  So I start looking in the mailbox.  Boom!  For my invitation.  Every day 'cause the invitations were startin' to come.  All my boys that were gettin' their invitations so I would go home and go to class and come home and look in the mailbox.  Boom!  Nothing.  Like man.  Maybe it's a typo, maybe they don't have my address right, something.  I know I'm getting invited.  Every day.  Boom!  Nothing.  Two weeks. 


            Have you ever been looking for somethin' that never came?  Let me see.  You ever expecting somebody and they never showed up?  Another opportunity to throw in the towel.  The dream began to fade.  The dream began to seem as if this is just a way that it’s gonna be.  So all my buddies drove to Indianapolis, Indiana and they threw me their keys.  Say hey man watch my apartment while I'm gone to the Combine.  Really?  I'm trying to go to the Combine too.  I don't want to watch your apartment. 


            But by then I had grown in my faith and grown in my relationship with the Lord and said, "I say, you know what?  This a great opportunity to exercise Godly humility.  Gimme the keys."  So I watched their apartments while de were gone.  They went to Indianapolis, I went to class.  Finished my degree. 


            Well, this time when I came home from class I didn't even look in the mailbox.  I put my workout clothes on and I jumped in my 1987 Maxima with no windshield wipers.  And I drove over to Memorial Stadium.  That's the stadium there in Champagne, Illinois.  Memorial Stadium was three tiers, sat about 88,000 people, big stadium for that day.  It's February.  It's cold in Illinois and I went over to that stadium all by myself.  No one there encouraging me, no one there saying hey you can do.  Matter of fact everbody say you crazy.  You're not goin' to the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.  This is Champagne.  I didn't want to hear all that chatter.  I shut it out.  And I stood at the bottom of that stadium and I looked up to the top.  And I said I'm going to get from here to there as fast as I can.  I took off… Whoomp! One step at a time, two by two, three by three.  Over and over from the bottom to the top.  Over and over again.  One time I was comin' down I couldn't even feel my legs and I tripped on the concrete step 'cause there was ice in it and I rolled down the last tier.  Head bleeding, body bruised, humiliated, people sittin' up in the suites watchin'.  Look at this fool.  What is he doin'?  He's not goin' to the NFL. 


            Everybody will not believe in your dream.  Everybody does not share the same vision that you have.  People say, "Well, why did you do it?"  'Cause I had a vision, I had a dream.  I knew what I was supposed to do.  I knew where I was supposed to go.  It may not be the same route that everybody else said.  It might not be the prototypical NFL player route or journey but nonetheless I knew where I was goin', so I ran and I kept runnin'. 


            Well my agent called.  Says, "Scotty T.  Twenty-two teams are coming to the University of Illinois.  Combine is over and they want to have a second look at the guys that came to the Combine.  And they said if you want to work out for 'em, you can too."  So they threw me a bone.  Well these 22 teams came to Illinois.  Washington, Jaguars, Carolina, San Francisco, Green Bay.  All these boys.  All this paraphernalia.  All the guys just, like, they, like, wow. 


            Well the litmus test in the NFL is the 40 yard dash.  And they say we want to see how fast you boys are.  They didn't know me from Adam.  But they also didn't know I had been running them stupid steps.  And so they come and all my boys ran.  And then it came my time to run, they said, Man, who is this kid, what's his name?  Oh, Turner, come on, man."  As if I’m wastin' their time.  And so when I came up I stood on the startin' line and I looked to the finish line.  And I didn't see 22 men, I saw 22 stopwatches.  Said I'm goin' to get from here to there as fast as I can.  Zoom!  It's over.  That's 'bout how fast it was.  And I crossed the finish line all I hear 'em say was, whew!  422.  424.  423.  425.  If y'all don't know, that's fast, baby.  Right?  And they looked at me and said, "Boy, where have you been?"  I said, "What?  I been here the whole time.  You didn't send my invitation." 


            How old was I when I told my momma I was goin' to the NFL?  How old?  Ten.  I was 23 when I ran that time in that 40.  How many years is it?  Thirteen years of preparation for 4.2 seconds.  Thirteen years of persevering.  Thirteen years of not throwing in the towel.  Thirteen years of saying yes when everyone else said no.  Thirteen years for 4 seconds.  Changed our lives. 


            How 'bout you today?  How long you willin' to hold on?  To your dream?  To your vision?  To the call that you have on your life.  I was not willin' to throw in the towel.  I was not willin' to take no for an answer.  Every step I took on that stadium I grew stronger, physically stronger, emotionally stronger, mentally stronger, spiritually – I'm gonna' quote scripture!  Day by day, step by step.  And I thank God for that time.  I thank him. 


            You might be facing a situation in your life right now.  We all look good, we all look handsome and pretty in here, but I'm gonna take this little side moment.  You may be facing a situation in your life right now that is like Memorial Stadium.  Seems insurmountable, seems impossible.  How am I goin' to get over this hump?  How am I goin' get through this hardship in my life, my kids away, my finances are bad, my marriage is slippin’, you might be there today. 


            Fear and anxiety, discouragement and anger may have crept their head and is comin' upon you this moment.  Let me encourage you.  Get up outta that bed of discouragement.  Roll up off of that couch of despair and anxiety and put your feet on the ground.  Put your fightin' clothes on.  You look that thang head on and you trust God and you get to steppin'.  I am a livin' witness that it will work.  I promise you. 


            Well, I went upstairs to the coach's office.  Everbody so excited.  Seccataries screamin' and makeup runnin', ev'abody so happy 'cause they knew the struggle that it had been.  But one coach came out of his office and he was a defensive coordinator.  The coach for whom I laid my life down every week.  He said, "What is all this racket?  Why y'all yellin' and screamin'?  What is goin' on?"  I said, "Coach, I ran a 4-2."  He says, "So what?"  Wanna talk about a buzz kill?  I looked at him I said, "Coach, I ran a 4-2."  He says, "Scotty, Scotty, you'll never play in the NFL."  He said, "You'll never get drafted, son.  You're too small.  You only played corner for one year."  "Coach, I ran a 4-2."  He says, "You'll never play." 


            Well, I looked at him.  I said, "Coach with all due respect, my faith is not in you.  But my faith is in the Lord Jesus."  And I said, "Second of all, I told my momma I was goin' to the NFL.  I'm goin'."  You tell yo' momma somethin' you better keep your word. 


            April 22, 1995 the Washington Redskins rang my phone.  They said, "We want to draft you Pick No. 226 in the seventh round.  Do you want to be a part of our team?"  I said, "Yes" and I hung up before they can change their minds.  Many people say, "Well why you didn't play for the Cowboys?"  "'Cause the Cowboys didn't call me."  I needed a job.  I had a new wife.  It's time to get on. 


            Well why do I share this story?  Because I love Texas and I love America.  And as you and I go, so goes Texas.  And as Texas goes, so goes America.  And in order for Texas to be the very best that Texas can be, you and I have got to be the best that we can be.  Matters not if you're a Democrat or a Republican.  Male or female, black or white, younger or older, lobbyist, staff member, or elected official.  I'm talking to people who are freedom minded, liberty loving, hardworking, God fearing people, that's you and I.  In order for you and I to be the very best that we can be, in order for Texas to be the very best that it can be, in order for America to be the very best that it can be, then the chains of complacency and the shackles of status quo have got to be destroyed.  Are you hearing me?  I'll say it again.  The chains of complacency and the shackles of status quo have got to be destroyed.  Those things that hinder you.  Those things that keep you.  Those things that bind you from movin' on, from goin' on onward and upward, those things that keep you from persevering, those things that'll obscure and blind your vision have got to come loose. 


            But it all depends on how serious you are.  It all depends on how great we really wanna be.  In my business, in our business, lip service got you cut.  The film does not lie.  It’s not about talk, it's about doing.  Puttin' your feet to the ground.  Who do you wanna be?  What's hindering you?  We cannot settle for those things that are subpar.  We cannot settle for things nor people who hold us or keep us from doing what we know we ought to.  You say, well Scotty, this is just how is goin' be.  This is just my life.  This is just how our State is goin' be.  Deal with it.  No, says who?  Not me.  If I'd have accepted that sentiment in my life a long time ago Torrance Perry I would not be standing before you today.  I promise.  Because people told me a young kid from a broken home from a poor family whose daddy was a janitor and worked at Ms. Baird's on the route.  Kids like you don't succeed in life.  You just a blip on the radar screen.  No sir. 


            I serve a mightier God than that.  My vision is greater than that.  Don't have to be that way unless we don't do something about it.  You as an individual, me as an individual, us collectively.  We need a paradigm shift.  We need a mindset change in Texas and America today.  Here lately Texas has been lauded and applauded as the best state in the country to do business, best for job growth, best for the business environment, and all of us are very, very proud of that accomplishment.  But I want to take it to the next level.  And I'll pose this question and this challenge to all of us today.  Is that good enough?  Are we satisfied with that?  Instead of being ranked in just one category why not be ranked No. 1 in all of the categories?  Why not be ranked No. 1 in math and science?  Career and technology?  Juvenile justice?  How about tax savings for our citizens?  Let us be ranked No. 1 in all the categories.  Let's be the very best we can be. Not just No. 1 in the country, but the best we can be.  Every day, you and I together. 


            One of my great friends played 20 years in the NFL as a corner back and he ran and competed and won the NFL fastest man four years in a row.  This is in the 80s and the early 90s.  He ran and he competed and won four out of four.  That's an amazing feat.  He never lost.  And I asked him one day, I said, "Well man how fast did you run?"  He said, "I just ran fast enough to win.  I don't really know how fast I am."  And I thought about that.  For us as individuals, for us as Texas, I don't want to just run fast enough to win.  But I want us to run the very fastest we can.  Don't leave nuthin' on the table.  Leave it all on the field.  Give everything you have as an individual and yes, collectively.  And I got news for ya.  It's gonna take all of us.  It's gonna take all a da creativity, all of the innovativeness, all of the talent, all of the skill.  We gonna to have to take risks, think outside the box.  If all you business people in here, you understand what I'm saying.  And we might fail just a li'l bit but we won't stay down long.  We will get back up.  Question is – are you willing?  Let's all take inventory and see if we're giving our utmost for the assignment or the call that we've been given. 


            We need to serve our leaders y'all.  That's the bottom line.  People who are willing to lay their life down for others.  People who are willing to consider the interests of others more than their own.  People who live by conviction and principal and not by the waves of the sea or what's popular on this day or the other people who are willing to live by God of humility.  Serve our leaders.  Let's take inventory see if that's us. 


            I read a quote one time and I'll close with this.  And they said this, the author is unknown.  The external affairs of a nation will be directly affected by the condition of the hearts of its people.  The external affairs of a nation will be directly affected by the condition of the hearts of its people.  Well I said the external affairs of Texas will be directly affected by the condition of the hearts of its people.  Where is your heart today?  The trains of transformation are on the move – are you on board?  As we go, so goes Texas.  As Texas goes, so goes America.  We gotta be all in.  Not just for us but for those that are coming behind us.  Where are you today?  God bless you.