With the General Election behind us, I’d like to express my sincere gratitude the citizens of Angelina, Houston, Polk, San Augustine, Trinity and Tyler counties for entrusting me with the honor of serving as your State Representative. It is truly the honor of a lifetime -- one that I do not take lightly -- to serve as your voice in Austin, and you have my commitment that I will strive every day to promote and protect the interests of our region and the values we hold dear.
With that, we’ll dive back into our examination of House interim charges
House Interim Charge: Defense & Veterans Affairs
As we honor and celebrate the service of the brave men and women of the United States Armed Forces, I thought it only appropriate to focus on the Committee of House Defense Affairs for this week’s column.
The House Committee on Defense & Veterans Affairs has nine members and has purview over matters involving defense, emergency preparedness, veterans’ services, and military preparedness as it relates to the defense of the state and nation. The Committee also oversees a number of state agencies, including the Texas Military Department, the Texas Veterans Commission, and the Texas Division of Emergency Management.
This interim, the House Committee on Defense & Veterans Affairs has been tasked with monitoring the agencies and programs under the Committee’s jurisdiction, as well as reviewing relevant legislation passed in the most recent legislative session to ensure the language and measures are working as intended. The Committee will also monitor the activities of the Texas State Guard and the Texas National Guard, who are currently stationed at the Texas-Mexico border for Operation Lone Star to increase operational efficiency.
Importantly, the Committee has been charged with studying the programs and funding connected to services that improve mental health outcomes for servicemen and women who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Additionally, the Committee will evaluate the needs of veterans and their families as they return to civilian life and make recommendations on how to improve the transition through opportunities in employment, education, housing, and counseling services.
I would be remiss if I didn’t offer my deepest gratitude to the brave men and women who have dedicated their lives to protect and preserve the freedoms we all enjoy. While Veterans Day may be behind us, I hope you’ll find time in the near future to honor our servicemembers by expressing your gratitude and by lifting them up in prayer.
As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office if we can help you in any way. My district office may be reached at (936) 634-2762. Additionally, I welcome you to follow along on my Official Facebook Page, where I will post regular updates on what’s happening in your State Capitol and share information that could be useful to you and your family: https://www.facebook.com/RepTrentAshby/.