Since my last column, selfish and hateful acts of violence carried out by a white-supremacist took the lives of 22 people in El Paso. Just hours later, nine more were killed in Dayton, Ohio, at the hands of another sick and demented individual consumed with hate.

As Texans, and as Americans, we grieve with heavy hearts and grapple with the reality of the senseless violence that has become too common in a nation that for centuries has lit the world as a beacon of hope, peace and prosperity.

Together, we must search within our collective soul to restore the values and ideals that promote unity and strength, rather than division and hate.

And while there will certainly be a number of debates about how to address the increasingly frequent mass-shootings, it is my sincere hope that we will first seek to unite behind a common commitment to reaffirm our identity as one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

With that, I’d like to leave you with Scripture that has given me peace in these trying times: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21

Legislative update. Starting in two weeks, and leading up to the week of early voting this fall, I will be using the column to cover ballot propositions that voters should expect to see when going to the polls in the fall. I’ll provide a concise explanation of each ballot proposition and offer my own opinion of the policy.

I would like to take this opportunity to squash some of the rumors starting to circulate about how one proposition — Proposition 4 — could create a statewide income tax.

I want to be clear — Proposition 4 does not create a statewide income tax.

The official ballot language has been released by the Office of the Secretary of State, and it is very straightforward. The vote you cast is whether the state should constitutionally ban a statewide income tax. By voting ‘‘yes’’ you are saying that the state should constitutionally prohibit the state from enacting an income tax. By voting ‘‘no’’ you are saying that the state should not include this in the constitution, thus allowing for the possibility of an income tax in the future.

But most importantly, neither vote — yes or no — would create an income tax on Texans.

Reminders. The mobile office is on the road this month and looks forward to seeing you on the following dates, in the following locations: from 9-11 a.m. Aug. 21 at the Houston County Courthouse Annex in Crockett or from 1:30-3:30 p.m. at the Trinity County Courthouse Annex in Groveton. The mobile office will be at the San Augustine County Courthouse in San Augustine from 9-11 a.m. Aug. 28.

As always, do not hesitate to contact our office if we can help you in any way. Our District office may be reached at 634-2762, or you can call my Capitol office at (512) 463-0508.

Trent Ashby is the state representative for District 57 that includes Angelina, Houston, Leon, Madison, San Augustine and Trinity counties. His email address is