In making the announcement, the Democrat spoke in deeply personal terms of the memory of his late mother to explain his decision.
“The keystone for me (was) when one of my staff members, together with my sister, who said to me: ‘mayor, brother, your mother was a maid who worked in these hotels. What if your mother was alive today by working in one of these hotels (how) would the mayor still allow this convention to continue and run the risk of infecting your mother? “” he said.
Turner continued, “So you don’t have to be my mother, okay? But I’m the mayor of every single person in this city. And if you’re not willing to step forward and do the right thing, I̵
“I too want to open up,” he added. “But I think you have to do it – you have to go very slowly and it must be based on science, data and medical advice.”
Before that, he worked for 27 years in the Texas State House as a representative for District 139, which includes parts of Houston. At that time, Turner worked on the Texas House Appropriation Committee for 21 years and served as rapporteur for three terms.
But Turner has faced perhaps the most challenging time of his career in the past few weeks when the coronavirus has spread across Texas, particularly Houston.
Texas had at least 216,026 reported cases and 745 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Harris County, which includes Houston and is the most populous county in Texas, leads the state in confirmed cases.
And Texas is expected to see nearly 2,000 new hospitalizations per day by mid-July, according to forecasts published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In response, Turner asked his constituents earlier this month to wear masks whenever people are around, and not just in companies, and to cut corporate employment from 50% to 25% – steps he has they said they would help “slow the progression” of the coronavirus in Houston.
Turner also asked people to reduce social gatherings to no more than 10 people and asked faith communities to resume virtual services instead of in-person services to help mitigate the spread of the virus.
Speaking to CNN’s Chris Cuomo last month, Turner said clearly: “I have 2.3 million people in the city of Houston that I consider my family.”
“Look, this is Houston,” he said. “When we work together we are able to do great things.”
Veronica Stracqualursi and CNN’s Devan Cole contributed to this report.