The oldest of seven children from a single-parent home, Turner was inspired by her grandmother to believe that with an education all things are possible. She worked her way through college, achieving a master of arts degree from Cleveland State University. As a student she discovered the power of voting, and a love affair with public service was born.
Following her graduation in 1997, Turner served the great state of Ohio in many ways: first as a legislative aide, then in the mayor of Cleveland’s cabinet, then as a Cleveland councilmember, and finally as a state senator. In 2014 Ohio governor John Kasich formed the Ohio Task Force on Community and Police Relations at Turner’s request. Breaking party lines, Governor Kasich named her co-chair of the Task Force and in that position Turner helped develop new statewide standards for law enforcement agencies that were the first of their kind.
Nationally, she has become a strong voice in progressive politics and was a key advisor to Senator Bernie Sanders during the tumultuous 2016 Democratic presidential primary. She appears regularly as a commentator on national television and radio networks.
Turner received an honorary doctorate of Humane Letters from Wilberforce University. Married to a retired police officer, Turner is the proud mother of a son who served as a second lieutenant in the Ohio National Guard and now has his own career in law enforcement. Turner is also a college history professor who regularly chooses to mentor local high school students.
Dubbed the “woman on fire,” Turner will ignite your audience with her unique combination of personal growth, politics, and extraordinary achievements.