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I need your help to continue the fight!

June 28, 2017

The 85th Regular Session is now behind us, and while it was challenging, we did make progress in some very important issue areas.

My proudest achievement was creating and passing a bipartisan, comprehensive Child Protective Services (CPS) reform bill, which will improve the court process for CPS cases and ease the burden on children, families and child welfare stakeholders. We also passed criminal justice reforms to make the system more fair, and worked on measures to strengthen our community and address local issues in our county, city and neighborhoods.

But much of the work we did was about standing up for what’s right. Many of you saw me fight for the rights of immigrants on the floor. You saw me fight for the rights of Texas kids. Now, Governor Abbott has called a special session and I need your help to go back to Austin and continue the fight.

I’m starting to ramp up my re-election efforts for next year’s campaign and Friday is our first financial filing deadline. I need your help to reach our fundraising goal. We need to raise $9,300 in the next three days, so please contribute to my campaign today.

Next year’s election will be vital for Texas, and with your support, I will continue to fight for equality and opportunity for all Texans.

Please give today to help me continue this fight for years to come. Thank you so much for your generosity, friendship and support.

Press Release: CPS Reform Bill by Wu Passes Senate, Heads to Governor

May 24, 2017

cmsimage__2017_02_08_13_54_17_706AUSTIN, TX – Today, with a vote of 31-0, the Texas Senate passed House Bill 7 by Representative Gene Wu (Houston – HD 137). HB 7 is a bipartisan, comprehensive reform of child welfare laws and procedures that will improve the court process for handling Child Protective Services (CPS) cases in the State of Texas.

“HB 7 is the culmination of nearly two years of negotiations and collaboration between a myriad of stakeholders and advocacy groups,” said Wu. “We worked hard to strike a balance between the various interests, and, in the end, we have a major piece of legislation that has received widespread bipartisan support.”

Rep. Wu is a practicing attorney and represents both children and parents in CPS cases. During the interim Rep. Wu gathered input from judges, attorneys, court reporters, state agency staff, advocates, and former foster children to find ways to address problems and improve the system.

“By working across the aisle and with insight from expert stakeholders, we were able to come up with a comprehensive bill that patches gaps in the Texas Family Code to streamline services, decrease trauma, protect vulnerable kids and help reunite them with their families,” said Wu. “Reforming our child welfare system was one of our top priorities this session. I appreciate the nod from the Senate and I have every confidence that the Governor will honor our work by signing this bill into law.”

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Press Release: Wu Passes Comprehensive CPS Reform in Texas House

May 11, 2017

cmsimage__2017_02_08_13_54_17_706AUSTIN, TX – Last night the Texas House of Representatives passed House Bill 7 with overwhelming bipartisan support, and today gave broad initial approval for House Bill 39. Both actions are a victory for comprehensive Child Protective Services (CPS) reform. Each bill includes provisions to improve the existing functions, policies, and procedures for the Department of Family and Protective Services and connected child welfare contract services.

“These reforms are part of a larger effort by this body to fix a system in crisis,” said Wu. “CPS is tasked with taking care of some of our state’s most vulnerable children, and we all have a responsibility to keep them safe, protect them from harm, and help them find loving homes.”

After decades of problems and a court order calling for an overhaul, lawmakers prioritized improvements this session through multiple bills, in addition to appropriating a substantial funding increase in the state’s budget. House Bill 7 addresses court procedures for child abuse and neglect cases, and HB 39 addresses gaps in foster care services. The bills make various changes to the current system to make a more efficient, fair, and transparent process to provide better protection for children, reduce trauma, and improve reunification efforts for children and families.

“Our success would be a big step towards reforming a broken system and I am proud of the bipartisanship the House showed in crafting these bills. After more than a year of work, we were able to accomplish something that includes input from numerous child welfare system stakeholders and experts, along with proposals from both sides of the aisle. We worked together to keep our word and came up with comprehensive legislation to make the necessary reforms we so desperately need.” Wu continued, “I am confident that these reforms will change the lives of vulnerable children and families in Texas and I look forward to working with the Senate to make these comprehensive reforms state law.”

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Press Release: Representative Gene Wu Statement on the Passage of Senate Bill 4

April 27, 2017

SB4_StatementToday’s passage of Senate Bill 4 is a solution in search of a problem. This is a bill that has been crafted out of fear and hatred of immigrants. Not a single Texas city refuses to comply with voluntary ICE Detainers. Not a single Texas city can be called a “Sanctuary City.” The bill as passed, would not just detain criminals, but would target children, victims of crimes, and even immigrants who served in our armed forces. The Texas Legislature has, today, passed a Arizona-style, “Show-me-your-papers” law that will disproportionately affect communities such as those that make up District 137 — hardworking communities made up of native and non-native Texans, refugees, and immigrants both documented and undocumented.

This legislation is cruel. When it was made clear this bill would cause American citizens to be jailed and detained, the proponents of the bill shrugged it off as an unfortunate inconvenience. When Democrats offered amendments to exempt children and victims going to testify in court, those measures were repeatedly defeated on purely party lines. Democrats also asked to exempt religious-based schools who may object with deeply held beliefs; that too was defeated on partisan lines.

When I first spoke on this bill I couldn’t stop thinking about my boys. This bill and other laws like it are a constant reminder that, despite being born in this nation, they will be seen as outsiders because of the way they look; that the law will treat them with suspicion; and they will have to fight just to be treated equally. I was reminded that this is not the first time laws were passed against immigrants based on fear and hatred. And, it will not be the last.

Democrats were united in their opposition to the legislation because this felt like an attack on the diverse communities that we represent and that make Texas great. At the end of the day, all we asked for was mercy for our communities; mercy for our families; and mercy for our children. But no mercy was given.

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Representative Wu Floor Comments on Senate Bill 4

Representative Wu Closing Statements on Senate Bill 4

Press Release: Representative Gene Wu – An Advocate for Texas Immigrants

February 8, 2017

cmsimage__2017_02_08_13_54_17_706Representative Wu (D – Houston) expressed disappointment that Governor Abbott declared a so-called sanctuary city ban as one of his top priorities in last week’s State of the State Address. Today, the Texas Senate voted to pass Senate Bill 4 (SB 4) on to the Texas House. SB 4 will require Texas law enforcement agencies to collaborate with U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE) to investigate the immigration status of Texans. The bill’s passage follows sixteen hours of emotional testimony in the Senate State Affairs Committee by faith leaders, scholars, lawyers, judges, law enforcement officials, and advocates from all over Texas who oppose this legislation.

“We should be focusing our attention on unifying issues that strengthen and support the people who call Texas home, and not perpetuating anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies that divide us,” Wu commented. “SB 4 makes Texans less safe by undermining public safety, driving vulnerable communities into the shadows, separating families, and forcing local law enforcement to carry out duties that should be the responsibility of the federal government.”

Over 1 million Houstonians are foreign-born and have contributed $116.5 billion to the city’s economy, according to 2014 data. Considered Houston’s ‘Ellis Island’, Wu represents District 137 in Southwest Houston, where many immigrant and refugee families live and work, and more than 67% of the district’s population speak a language other than English at home.

Wu added: “This law will cause immigrant communities, both documented and undocumented, to live in fear of the police. This law also invites criminals to prey on already fearful communities; knowing that immigrant victims will now be less likely to call the police. This is not how you build a trusting and safe place to live.”

In a press conference last month with Mayor Turner, Wu stated, “Houston and Texas and the United States is a better place because of immigrants. We are a stronger nation because of people who come from other places, because of refugees, because of people who make this their home to make a better life, and who seek the American dream. We are where we are today because of immigrants.”

As a proud immigrant himself, Representative Wu remains a committed voice for all immigrants who continue to make Houston a diverse, unique, and welcoming city.

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Representative Wu Files Juvenile Justice Reform Legislation for the 85th Legislative Session

December 29, 2016

State Representative Gene Wu has pre-filed legislation for the 85th Legislative Session to ensure that the Texas Juvenile Justice system works better to rehabilitate young offenders and end the school-to-prison pipeline.

The primary legislation to reform the Texas Juvenile Justice system is House Bill 676 (H.B. 676) to raise the juvenile jurisdiction age, or the age when a person will be considered an adult, to 18 years of age. This change would bring Texas’ policy in-line with the vast majority of states and the federal justice system.

“I made ‘Raise the Age’ the first bill in our packet to send a clear message that this a priority for our state,” said Rep. Wu. “If this bill becomes law, we can give hundreds of thousands of young people a second chance; to not brand them with a life-long criminal conviction for minor offenses. We can keep these kids off of the path to prison.”

Texas is one of only a few states remaining in the nation that still treats children between the ages of 17 and 18 as adults for all crimes. When Rep. Wu filed this legislation in the 84th Session, Texas was of nine (9) state left that had not made this change. As the 85th Session is about to begin, Texas is now one of seven (7) left.

“We need to be smarter on crime instead of just looking tough,” adds Wu. “Every kid makes mistakes big and small, it’s a part of growing up. The Juvenile Justice system has proven to be far more effective in rehabilitating young people than the adult system. And, the Juvenile system won’t destroy a young person’s life by branding them with a public criminal record.”

Rep. Wu also pre-filed additional Juvenile Justice Legislation, in addition to H.B. 676, which include:

  • H.B. 677 – would allow a judge, following a hearing, to seal a juvenile’s Determinate Probation records. This bill is intended to give juveniles placed on long probations for more serious offenses a chance to seal their records, if they perform admirably during their probation.
  • H.B. 678 – would allow an associate judge to take part of a determinate sentence plea; freeing the District Court Judge to perform other duties. This bill is intended to improve administrative efficiency.
  • H.B. 679 – would ban the use of heavy mechanical shackles on juveniles unless it is specifically ordered by a judge. This bill is intended to curb the instances of chain shackling juveniles as young as 10 years old, when they do not pose any real threat.

Endorsed by the Houston Chronicle

October 13, 2016

We’re proud to have the endorsement of the Houston Chronicle today:

“People are tired of dead kids.”

That’s the reason that two-term state Rep. Gene Wu gave the editorial board to explain the political momentum in the state House to fix Texas Child Protective Services. Democrats, like Wu, and Republicans are working together to file bills for the upcoming session that will provide better pay for CPS workers, more money for foster families, and better therapy for kids and drug treatment for parents who need it.

“The vast majority of cases that come to CPS are because of drugs,” Wu said. “Yet we don’t provide drug treatment.”

As a lawyer who takes CPS and juvenile law cases, Wu is an invaluable resource on this issue, and voters should give him a third term in Austin.

State Rep. Gene Wu Condemns Fox News’ Racist Jokes About Asian Americans

October 6, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

State Representative Gene Wu Condemns Fox News’ Racist Jokes About Asian Americans

Houston, TX – State Representative Gene Wu condemns Fox News’ October 3rd, 2016 segment of “The O’Reilly Factor” by correspondent Jesse Watters. The segment known as “Watters’ World”—recorded under the pretense of asking Chinese Americans’ views on the U.S. presidential election—was devoid of any actual political insight, but full of antiquated jokes using racist stereotypes, drew on thoughtless tropes, and openly ridiculed Asian Americans and immigrants:

“Bill O’Reilly and Jesse Watters have tried to downplay this segment as just good old-fashioned humor, but I have spent my entire adult life trying to push back the casual racism that they find so funny. Their piece was obviously racist and perpetuates harmful stereotypes against all Asian Americans.

The Asian American community is one of the last populations where American society still tolerates this type of bigotry. I can’t imagine that O’Reilly would dare pull this stunt in an African American or Hispanic community, without risking widespread condemnation. The Asian American community has fought too long to overcome these gross stereotypes to allow this to go unchallenged.

This segment also makes plain what Republicans and conservatives really think of the fastest growing immigrant community in the nation. I hope Asian American voters will remember this in November.

Fox News needs to pull this piece, and O’Reilly and Watters need to issue a real apology for making millions of Asian Americans the butt of bad jokes.”

Representative Wu is an Asian American elected official who represents House District 137 in the Texas Legislature.

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Wu Makes Plea for Texas to Continue Legacy of Helping Refugees

September 27, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Beth Martin – 713-271-3900

Wu Makes Plea for Texas to Continue Legacy of Helping Refugees

HOUSTON, TX – State Representative Gene Wu expressed frustration and disappointment at the recent announcement made by Governor Abbott that the State of Texas would withdraw from the federal refugee resettlement program.

“This is a purely political act,” said Wu. “While the state’s action will not stop refugees from coming to Texas, the state’s withdrawal will make the job of assisting refugees more difficult for local nonprofit, social service and faith organizations – and create a catchy headline for Republican fundraising emails. Anti-refugee measures politicize and demonize the plight of persecuted people, and do nothing to make Texans more safe. The state’s action will just create more bureaucracy and pain for desperate families.”

For the past 40 years, Texas has administered the federal program through various local organizations, and in the last five years has resettled more than 40,000 refugees, surpassing all other states. Refugees go through an intense security screening process before being admitted for resettlement. Even in the absence of Texas’ cooperation, federal officials will work directly with local organizations to distribute the federal funds and ensure resources are available to assist refugees resettled in Texas.

Houston alone is home to over 70,000 refugees from 79 different countries, and it resettles more refugees than any other city in the United States. Many refugee families reside in Texas House District 137 in Southwest Houston, along with numerous organizations offering programs, services, resources and support.

“Texans are compassionate and hospitable people, and our state has a long and proud history of helping refugees,” Wu said. “At a time when the most vulnerable people in the world need help, we should not turn our backs.” Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, Alliance for Multicultural Community Services, Refugee Services of Texas, YMCA of Greater Houston, Bilingual Education Institute, and Partnership for the Advancement & Immersion of Refugees are only some of the organizations working in Houston to assist refugees.

“I am deeply grateful and humbled by the work being done by these organizations,” said Wu. “I join a greater community in Houston and across the state who remain steadfast in our commitment to welcome refugees.”

Wu said, “The State’s withdrawal also sends the wrong message to our business partners. Houston leaders have spent decades building a reputation that Texas is a friendly and inviting place for international business. This action by Texas leaders says the opposite. I encourage all Texans to support the resettlement of refugees – men, women and children who have escaped the horrors of war, abuse and torture. They are simply trying to rebuild their lives. Please don’t let these hurting people get caught in the middle.”

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A History-making Day

June 8, 2016

This is truly a history making day. This day’s significance will only be second to one in January 2017, when she is sworn in as the first woman President. Congrats Hillary.

Hillary Gene 20160520_houston_0251

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