Rep. Trent Ashby seeks 5th term in Texas House District 57 election against democratic challenger Jason Rogers

Published: Oct. 13, 2020 at 10:41 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Voters spanning six east Texas counties will decide between incumbent republican Rep. Trent Ashby and democratic challenger Jason Rogers for who will represent their district in the state legislature in Austin on November 3.

Ashby has served as District 57′s representative in the Texas House for four terms since 2013. He has run unopposed for the seat in three of those four general elections. It was Rogers who challenged him after the primary round for the first time in 2018.

“I’ve strived relentlessly during my four terms in the Texas legislature to work on the issues that really matter most to the residents of East Texas and the Brazos Valley region," Ashby said.

“Here, for the most part, nobody ever runs on the democratic ticket," Rogers said. "You have a bunch of people running on the republican ticket for many offices who have a three-month timespan to try and establish themselves.”

Ashby was born on a dairy farm in east Texas and says he “learned the value of a dollar and a hard work ethic at a very young age.” He says he has a great appreciation for teachers because his mom spent some time in the classroom. Ashby attended Texas A&M University and majored in agriculture economics.

Ashby says helping businesses through COVID recovery will be one of his major focuses if re-elected, but he also wants to expand rural health care.

“Through telemedicine and other advancements, there’s an opportunity there to help the folks who are blessed to call rural Texas home, in terms of increasing their access to medicine and health care," Ashby said.

Accessible and reliable internet, eminent domain reform, job retention and creation, and redistricting are other issues on which Ashby says he’ll be working hard for his district if he wins his re-election bid.

“It’s going to be extremely important that we have folks who represent rural Texas that will stand up and champion its causes,” Ashby said. “We need to be sure that we maximize our representation for the next ten years to ensure we have good, strong, vocal rural champions in the Texas legislature.”

Most of Rogers' background is in education. He earned his bachelor’s in English from Stephen F. Austin State University and spent many years as a teacher for high school and community college. He currently works as a diesel engine mechanic, thanks to some of the experience he gained from serving four years in the army after turning 18.

“I got really frustrated with every time there was a legislative session, that fall when we returned, we had all this extra work we had to do,” Rogers said. “As a teacher, I got really tired of all the extra work being thrown at me by people who don’t teach. Instead of contacting my representative, I decided to take it a step further and just run.”

Rogers says he’ll fight for funding teachers, but also wants to create more jobs within the district.

“There have been companies approach [our district leaders], but they’ve turned them down because it doesn’t fit their vision, whatever that is," Rogers said. "I have the vision of people working with good jobs, with good pay and benefits.”

Rogers says he was having proactive conversations back in 2016 to expand broadband internet capabilities in the region. He also wants to legalize cannabis for those who suffer from chronic pain and need it for medicinal purposes.

“I also want to use that as an agricultural boom for District 57 and deep east Texas,” Rogers said.

When these two candidates squared off for the district’s seat two years ago, Rep. Ashby won with 79% of the vote.

“I think that it is important we establish a presence with another party and encourage others to run for office," Rogers said. “If more regular people start getting on the ballot, I think we can start bringing both parties back to the middle from these extremes.”

Texas State House District 57 includes Angelina, Houston, Leon, Madison, San Augustine, and Trinity counties, which is home to roughly 164,000 people, per the 2010 census.

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