My name is Justin Calhoun. I spent most of my childhood in the small town of Marion, Texas, until my parents separated when I was 15-years-old. At that time, I moved to Universal City with my mom for her new job and began attending Clemens High School. I was forced to drop out of Clemens after only a few months in order to help my family financially. While my peers enjoyed high school, I worked in fast food and took care of my mom. During what would have been my senior year of high school, I was accepted to the Alison L. Steele Enhanced Learning Center. The opportunity for this alternate form of education allowed me to graduate in 2007, on time, with my peers.
After graduation, I spent a few years working in the retail industry and ultimately decided to join the United States Army in January 2010. I went to basic training at Fort Jackson, North Carolina, and completed my military training at Fort Lee, Virginia. After I completed my training, I was stationed with the 209th Aviation Support Battalion at Wheeler Army Airfield on Oahu, Hawaii, and from there I was deployed to Afghanistan in 2012. When I returned from deployment, I completed the Warrior Leadership Course to pursue my promotion to Sergeant, after which I was moved to Fort Carson, Colorado for a year before being medically retired and coming home to Texas.
I knew that my next step would be to build on the education and training that I received in the service, so I enrolled in Alamo Community College, where I earned my Associate's Degree in Social Work.
During my final semester, I very suddenly lost my mother to her battle with opioid addiction. She struggled with dependence on prescription medications for many years and was one of thousands who slipped through the cracks in a failing healthcare system. My family tried to take action to protect others in similar situations who had been overprescribed. However, we learned that the current law protected providers much more than patients. This is what first got me thinking that I needed to work to change things from the top, not just do my best to work within the system as it crumbled around me.
After my mom passed away, I moved to Clarksville, Tennessee, to pursue my Bachelor's in Social Work at Austin Peay State University. While there, I served as an intern probation officer for the Montgomery County Juvenile Court. I was also able to take a winter break study abroad trip to England, and Ireland where I met my partner.
Upon graduation, I returned to Texas once again and started working on my Master of Social Work at the University of Texas at San Antonio. During this time, I interned with State Representative Diego Bernal (District 123), where I assisted with individual constituents and policy services. I watched as many important pieces of legislation died on the floor - legislation that would have positively impacted the community in a number of ways.
Throughout my life, I have learned that, in too many cases, our legislators fail to listen to and advocate for their constituents adequately. Too often, they pick sides or default to their party’s expectations rather than listening to the voices of the same people that voted for them to begin with. It is no small shock for me to see how many people distrust the system that has been built specifically to protect them, their families and their livelihoods. We deserve a representative that will listen to their constituents instead of making promises and continually breaking them to serve special interest groups. We deserve someone who wants to serve their constituents with integrity, honor, accountability, and respect. If elected, I can promise that the PEOPLE of District 73 will always come first, regardless of their age, race, religion, socioeconomic status, or who they voted for. I will work tirelessly to ensure that your voices are heard.