As we celebrate the wonder and joy of the Christmas season, I hope, amidst all the hustle and bustle, we remember the true meaning behind this special time of year — the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
In 2017, He brought us countless blessings, and it is my prayer that the Lord will continue to demonstrate His love throughout 2018. With that, here's a look back at 2017 at your State Capitol. . .
The Year That Was: 2017
In the early days of January, state leaders spoke of the difficult issues legislators should expect to encounter during the legislative session. Gov. Greg Abbott outlined four emergency items in his State of the State: putting an end to sanctuary cities, an overhaul to Child Protective Services, statewide ethics reform, and an opportunity to have a Convention of the States. All items were tackled head-on by legislators and passed into law.
Speaker Joe Straus spoke of several great challenges himself: producing a balanced budget during this time of decreasing revenue from oil and gas, reforming school finance to make a more equitable system of funding public schools, preserving healthcare for retired teachers, and addressing mental health at the local level.
Once again, after long hours and hard work, each box was checked for the betterment of people in each and every corner of our state.
Daunting legislative challenges were not the only items Texans had to be concerned with in 2017, however. Just as with the uphill battles we faced on a public policy front in Austin, the resilience and resolve of Texans shined through as our vast population worked together after Hurricane Harvey ripped its way through the coastline and tragedy struck in Sutherland Springs. Both outlined the strength Texans exhibit during trying times and serve as examples of what we have to look forward to 2018.
In our office, 2017 was devoted to communicating and spending time with you — the folks who allow me to serve as your State Representative — and I could not have enjoyed it more. At the Capitol, we had hundreds of constituent visits from every corner of our district.
We had busloads of students visit their Capitol to take tours, play musical instruments in the rotunda, experiment with computer coding, and see their state government in action. We were honored to pay tribute to the families of fallen heroes such John Kendall Reynolds of the Buffalo VFD and Sergeant Wade Daniel Wilson of Centerville.
All of these friendly visits, and the advocacy that many of you take part in on specific issues, serve as a heart-warming reminder of the many blessings that I cherish as we wind down the year. Here’s wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
The mobile office is back on the road for the month of January and looks forward to seeing you in the following locations, on the following dates: Jan. 3 around Leon County for outreach visits and at the Madison County Courthouse Annex in Madisonville from 2-4 p.m.; Jan. 17 at the Houston County Courthouse Annex in Crockett from 9-11 a.m. and the Trinity County Courthouse in Groveton from 1:30-3:30 p.m.; and Jan. 24 at the San Augustine County Courthouse in San Augustine from 9-11 a.m.
As always, please do not hesitate to contact our office if we can help you in any way. Our district office may be reached at (936) 634-2762, or you can call my Capitol office at (512) 463-0508.
Trent Ashby represents District 57, which includes Madison County, in the Texas Legislature.