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Two GOP candidates face off in District 9

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By Tony Farkas
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A longtime legislator and a longtime conservative party member are looking for the Republican nod for District 9 State Representative spot on the November ballot.

Trent Ashby

Ashby said he takes pride in representing Trinity County in the Texas House, as Trinity reminds him of where he was raised.

“I want Deep East Texas to continue to flourish, so my children can enjoy what I’ve had,” he said.

Ashby said there were a lot of legislative triumphs in the last session, including the approval of the largest property tax in the state, a sweeping election integrity measure, and the fetal heartbeat bill.

We also dealt with the border surge, which endangers the lives of Texans,” he said. “That’s why the legislature stepped in to fill the gaps left by the Biden administration. We increased security by 600 percent and empowered local law enforcement to detain and deport, and we put up funds to continue building the border wall.”

Along with prioritizing border security, Ashby said he stood up for Second Amendment rights by supporting constitutional carry, banning sexually explicit materials and drag shows from schools, and banned males from participating in female sports.

Other items he supported include incentivizing health care for rural areas, improving broadband and water infrastructure, and even offering funds to law enforcement agencies.

In future sessions, should he gain re-election, Ashby said the state needs to promote rural Texas to make sure its interests are protected as the state population continues to grow in urban areas.

“Looking toward next session, we need to continue working to secure border,” he said. “People are alarmed by what is happening, and since the administration is failing, we’re stepping up to provide that security. We’re spending Texas taxpayer dollars to do what is the right thing to do.”

He also would like to provide additional tax relief for property owners, and provide the state’s teachers with a long overdue pay raise.

Another growing concern is security, and Ashby said he currently is working with colleagues on a bill that will ban hostile foreign governments, such as China and North Korea, from buying land to protect not only Texas but the country.

“As the voice in Austin for Trinity, I’m proud to stand on my proven conservative voting record,” he said.

Paulette Carson

Carson has been a resident of Trinity County for 25 years and has served in the community and political arena for many years.

“My heartbeat is here; we looked all around the state, but we chose Trinity County after leaving north Houston,” she said.

In 2010, after focusing on her family, she stepped back into the political arena working on the campaigns of James White and even her opponent Trent Ashby, because she believes that everyone needs to be involved in the political process.

Carson said that she was instrumental in setting up the Republican Women’s club and has served as president on four different occasions, has represented the county at the state conventions since 2012, and even started Special Needs East Texas because “my heart has been to serve.”

The 2023 legislative session became a large concern for Carson, who said that a culture was fostered by Dade Phelan, who had colleagues who had aligned themselves with him, one of which was Ashby.

Carson also said that Ashby voting to impeach Ken Paxton, without any due process, was another warning sign, since the process was deemed a travesty and mishandled.

She also said that of the eight legislative priorities handed down from the State GOP, Ashby did not author any bills to deal with those items; also, many people she has spoken to have complained about being unable to contact their rep.

“There has to be change,” Carson said. “They’re touting these bills that came out of session (banning gender modification, border security, etc.), but we’re still moving (politically) to the middle point of purple.”

One of Carson’s desires is to serve on the Human Services Committee to continue efforts toward ever-increasing mental health issues and pervasive developmental disorders. But a main point is property tax.

“We’ve been putting a Band-Aid on it, but people are still screaming about it,” she said. “I would target the elimination of property tax, and there’s a way to do it. It won’t happen overnight, but it can be done.”

She pointed out that instead of legislators lining up with forks in hand to parse out a budget surplus, dedicate a much larger portion of the surplus to buy down property tax, since ultimately the money belongs to taxpayers.

Other items that require focus include border security and election integrity.

Carson wants to set up advisory councils in each of the six counties in the district to find the issues most important to the “grass roots,” and if elected, will go to Austin as a state rep, not a career politician.

“When I ask people what they want me to do, I thought we would talk about issues,” she said. “Ninety-nine percent of the time, people would say, ‘Would you please keep your word?’ That’s huge. That’s an integrity issue.”

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