Educator | Attorney | Small Business Owner | Community Activist
Texas State Representative
Hi, I’m Terry.
Irving is more than just a place I live. It is a part of who I am. My family has been here for five generations; I am proud to be a fourth-generation Irvingite and have a son that is fifth-generation. I grew up in a military family, visiting my grandparents’ farm where MacArthur High now sits. I used to visit dad’s barber shop on Irving Boulevard with mom, hoping to get a treat from Mrs. Cartwright at her bakery next door. This really is my home.
My mom made sure that I received a good education and understood its importance. My dad opened my eyes to what democracy is all about: building bridges and not walls. I continued my studies in Irving by commuting to UT Arlington, University of Dallas and finally Texas Wesleyan University School of Law.
Our community is special and has given me so much. It is my mission to fight for, protect, and serve everyone here so that everyone in our community can thrive.
I’m an Educator.
Being an educator has always been a passion of mine. It is in my blood – even the elementary school in our town has my great-uncle’s name on it. I learned the importance of an education from my mom, who was not afforded the same opportunities to learn as a child. She often heard comments like – “What’s a girl going to do with that much education?” She made sure I had a different path.
After attending UT Arlington and the University of Dallas, I spent many years teaching students of all ages. I started as a student-teacher at South Grand Prairie High School, and went on to teach at every level from elementary at Holy Family of Nazareth Catholic School to college at North Lake.
It is during this time that I witnessed a growing gap in the quality of schools, the quality of teachers, and the level of support received across our diverse nation. I became inspired to help, and I knew there would have to be a change in our public school system to set all our students and educators up for success.
I’m a Small Business Owner.
I have owned and operated my own law practice since 2000. As a small business owner, I know the hard work and personal sacrifices that everyday Texans must make to provide for their families. The Texas Legislature has a moral imperative to work for the hard-working Texas men and women, and not for special interests.
There are many reasons why someone starts their own business. For me, it was because no one would hire me. As a new lawyer, I had “too much experience”. I also wanted to make sure the reason why I became a lawyer was never lost. I wanted to fight for our most fundamental human rights – the things that everyone deserves.
I was lucky. I had the support, encouragement and resources to become a small business owner. I want to make sure that everyone else has those same opportunities.
I’m a Community Activist.
The “doing good” part – that is my favorite part of serving this community. It is so rewarding to know that the work I am doing helps make our neighborhoods healthier, safer, and cleaner. I have spent most of my adult life fighting and championing for the underserved, especially minorities and women.
Whenever someone called my office in need of an advocate, my immediate response was “Where are you off of I-20?”. It did not matter where; I would drive all over West Texas to help. I was and still am committed to fighting discrimination in schools and the workplace, from exclusion to disproportionate punishment.
For forty years, I have partnered with local organizations (like the Lions Club, the League of Women Voters and LULAC), and served as a nonprofit director, overseeing programs in economic development, small and minority business assistance, neighborhood revitalization, historic preservation, workforce development, and job placement. I promise I will never stop fighting until the system we put our trust in is fair and provides the same opportunities for everyone.
I’m your State Representative.
Last session, I filed 80 bills and co-authored 20 bills to fight for the people of my diverse district and Texans across our state. 10 of those bills were passed into law after the session ended. I was so proud that we made change in:
Public Education – As a co-author of House Bill 3, I was so thrilled to secure bipartisan support and bring about sweeping public education reform. With HB3, we will secure a brighter future for our children by providing more resources for Texas classrooms, increasing teacher pay, and cutting local property taxes for Texas taxpayers.
Healthcare for Children – I joint-authored House Bill 72, which would expand healthcare to all children in the foster care system. We fought so that no child would be limited in the services and resources available to them.
Criminal Justice – As a co-author of House Bill 8, we removed the statute of limitation for sexual assault and will tackle the state backlog of untested rape kits, which are collected by police through often invasive, hours-long exams of sexual assault victims.
For the 2021 Legislative session, I am prepared to:
- Bring about criminal justice reform with a new No Knock Warrant Bill.
- Fight any discriminatory legislation This includes SB4, the “Show me your papers” Bill, and HB45, the ‘anti-sharia law’ bill.
- Ensure that all Texans are able to vote safely, especially during COVID-19. I will introduce Election Reform Initiatives that push for more accessible methods to voting such as Vote-by-Mail, Same-Day Voter Registration, and Extended Early-Voting.