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House to investigate Panhandle fires

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Trent AshbyI would like to begin this column by saying it is the honor of a lifetime to have earned the trust of those living in House District 9 to continue serving as your voice in Austin.

I’d like every voter in House District 9 to know — whether you voted for me or not — that I will work each and every day to represent Deep East Texas with honesty, integrity, and humility while working tirelessly to promote and protect the interests of our region and the values we hold dear.  As a reminder, our next legislative session begins in January 2025.

With that, here’s an update from your State Capitol.

As you might be aware, the Texas Panhandle has been devastated by recent wildfires. My prayers have been with our fellow Texans over the past weeks and will continue to be with them as they work to recover from the largest wildfire in Texas history.

In response to the disastrous wildfires, the Speaker of the House announced the formation of the Investigative Committee on the Panhandle Wildfires. The Committee will investigate the factors contributing to the wildfires, the allocation of resources and effectiveness of wildfire disaster preparedness and response, and coordination between local, state, and federal entities for wildfire prevention, preparedness, and response.

Wildfires have become a growing concern not just in West Texas, but across the entire State of Texas. During the 88th Legislative Session, I worked with the Texas Forestry Association, the Texas A&M Forest Service, and other leading experts on a bill aimed at studying wildfires. Though this bill ultimately failed to pass, I believe that developing a deeper understanding of wildfires and equipping our communities with the knowledge and resources to better prevent, mitigate, and respond to wildfires would benefit all Texans.

While I look forward to working on this issue in future sessions, I’m pleased that the Texas House is leading the effort to better understand wildfires by establishing this investigative committee, which represents a crucial step toward enhancing our state’s resilience and response to these destructive natural disasters.

Despite the difficult times facing communities, ranches, and livestock in the Panhandle, Texans always persevere. If you would like to help with the recovery effort in the Panhandle, you can donate to the Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raiser’s Disaster Relief Fund at https://tscra.org/disaster-relief-fund/ or to the Panhandle Plains Chapter of the American Red Cross at https://www.redcross.org/local/texas/north-texas/about-us/locations/panhandle.html.

The mobile office is still on the road this month, and our District Director looks forward to seeing you on March 20 at the Houston County Courthouse Annex in Crockett from 9-11 a.m. and at the Trinity County Courthouse in Groveton from 1:30-3:30 p.m.

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 and my Capitol office may be reached at (512) 463-0508. Additionally, I welcome you to follow along on my Official Facebook Page, where I will be posting regular updates on what’s happening in your State Capitol and sharing information that could be useful to you and your family: https://www.facebook.com/RepTrentAshby/.

Trent Ashby represents District 9, which includes Trinity County, in the Texas Legislature.


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