|Kenneth Francis Sheets|
Texas State Representative
for District 107 (Dallas County)
January 11, 2011 – January 10, 2017
|Preceded by||Allen Ryan Vaught |
|Succeeded by||Victoria Neave|
|Born|| November 6, 1976|
Trenton, Michigan, USA
|Political party||Republican |
|Spouse(s)||Michele Sue Pierce Sheets|
|Alma mater|| (1) Mansfield (Texas) High School
(2) University of Texas at Arlington
|Service/branch||United States Marine Corps|
|Years of service|| 2000-2010; still in|
Marine Corps Reserve
|Battles/wars||Iraq War: Fallujah|
|Awards|| (1) Armed Forces Reserve Medal
(2) Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal
Kenneth Francis Sheets (born November 6, 1976) is an attorney from Dallas, Texas, who is a Republican former state representative in the politically competitive District 107 in Dallas County. He served from 2011 until his narrow defeat in November 2016.
Sheets was reared in Mansfield in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. He graduated in 1995 from Mansfield (Texas) High School and then enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. Following graduation from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2001, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant. He has served on active duty and in the reserve. He is currently a Major in the Marine Corps Reserve. He fought in Operation Iraqi Freedom from September 2007 to May 2008 in Fallujah and earned an Armed Forces Reserve Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and the Iraq Campaign Medal.
In 2004, he received his Juris Doctor degree from the Dedman School of Law at Southern Methodist University in University Park west of Dallas. He is partner with the Dallas law firm Payne & Blanchard. He is a member of the St. Thomas Aquinas Roman Catholic Church in Dallas.
Sheets is married to the former Michele Sue Pierce (born c. 1978). The couple has two children.
Sheets entered into politics in 2010 after returning home from multiple years on active duty with the Marine Corps. As the unopposed Republican nominee, Sheets unseated the two-term Democratic incumbent, Allen Ryan Vaught (born c. 1971) of Dallas, in the general election held on November 2, 2010. He polled 16,226 votes (51.4 percent) to Vaught's 14,683 (46.5 percent). The remaining 2.1 percent of the vote went to the Libertarian Party nominee, Gary Brandon Parsons (born c. 1951) of Dallas. In the general election on November 6, 2012, Sheets again won a narrow victory, this time for a second term in the House over the Democrat former Representative Robert James Miklos, 25,868 votes (50.8 percent) to 25,018 (49.2 percent).
Unopposed in the Republican primary on March 4, 2014, Sheets won his third and final term in the general election against fellow Dallas lawyer, the Democrat Carol Crabtree Donovan (born c. 1954). He received 16,891 votes (55 percent) to Donovan's 13,807 (45 percent).
In his first term in the Texas House of Representatives, Sheets served on these committees: (1) Insurance, (2) Small Business and Economic Development, and (3) Manufacturing. In his first term, Sheets worked with other legislators to pass tort reform legislation aimed at combating meritless lawsuits. Sheets also worked across party lines to pass Henda's Law, which is named after breast cancer survivor Henda Salmeron and seeks to ensure that patients are notified that supplemental breast screening, beyond mammograms, may be necessary for women with dense breast tissue.
Sheets served on these committee: (1) Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee (2) Insurance Committee, and (3) Local and Consent Calendar. Sheets also served as the vice chair of the House Republican Caucus Policy Committee. During the 83rd Legislative Session, Sheets unsuccessfully attempted to pass legislation aimed at protecting Texas homeowners from fraudulent and abusive practices by some roofing contractors. Sheets worked to pass legislation making it clear under Texas law that concealed handgun licensees are not violating the law if they inadvertently display their firearm. Sheets was also an outspoken critic of an attempt by several legislators to amend a bill to grant statewide elected officials, members of Congress, and members of the Texas Legislature special privileges to carry concealed handguns in locations off limits to other concealed handgun licensees in Texas.
Sheets was named "Champion for Free Enterprise" by the Texas Association of Business, which rated him 93 percent in 2013. He was recognizec as "Freshman of the Year" in 2011 by the Hispanic Republican Conference, "Crime Fighter of the Year" by the North Texas Crime Commission, "Friend of Law Enforcement" by the Texas Municipal Police Association, "Courageous Defender of Life" by Texas Alliance for Life, and a "Rising Star" by the Dallas County Republican Party.
Legislative voting records
In 2011, Sheets backed the redistricting bills for the state House and Senate and the United States House of Representatives. He also voted in support of legislation that requires women to undergo a sonogram before procuring an abortion. During the debate on this bill, Sheets added an amendment clarifying when women with certain complications would be exempted from the provisions of the law.
In 2011, Sheets voted to require Internet retailers to collect sales taxes on transactions for which there were already tax liabilities, essentially holding them to the same standard as brick and mortar stores. The measure passed the House 125-20. Sheets voted to prohibit smoking in public places. He voted to establish eligibility for indigent health care. He voted to establish student centers at public colleges and universities which acknowledge family and traditional values; the measure passed the House 110-24. To guarantee the integrity of the election process, he supported picture identification of voters casting a ballot. The measure finally took effect in October 2013 and was used widely without incident in the primaries on March 4, 2014. In 2013, Sheets voted for related legislation to forbid a voter from turning in multiple ballots.
During the 83rd Legislative Session, Texas lawmakers were faced with the challenge of passing a balanced budget while coping with a shortfall estimated by some to be as high as $27 billion. Sheets voted for the biennial Texas budget which lawmakers balanced without having to raise taxes.
Sheets in 2013 again supported passage of the biennial Texas budget. Having recovered from the downturn in the economy, Texas lawmakers were not faced with the same budget austerity issues in 2013 and were able to restore some of the funding cuts made in 2011. In 2013, Sheets supported passage of an amendment to the Texas Constitution to provide funding to develop water resources.
Sheets in 2013 supported the ban on abortions after five months of gestation, a measure later blocked in federal court. The measure passed the House, 96-49. He also supported companion legislation to increase medical and licensing requirements of abortion providers. These issues brought forth an unsuccessful filibuster in the Texas State Senate by Wendy Russell Davis of Fort Worth, known by her conservative critics as "Abortion Barbie," who in 2014 was the unsuccessful Democratic gubernatorial nominee against the Republican candidate, Greg Abbott, a former state attorney general. In 2011, Sheets supported two other anti-abortion measures. One forbids state funding of agencies which perform abortions. The other requires that a woman undergo a sonogram before procuring an abortion. This legislation is based on the view that a woman could change her mind about an abortion once she witnesses the development of the unborn child through the latest technology.
Sheets did not vote on the establishment of the taxpayer-funded breakfast program for public schools; the measure cleared the House, 73-58. He co-sponsored legislation to provide marshals for school security as a separate law-enforcement entity. He co-sponsored the successful bill to extend the franchise tax exemption for Texas businesses. He voted to require testing for narcotics of those individuals receiving unemployment compensation. He sponsored the law to forbid texting while driving. He voted in support of an "equal pay for women" bill, which passed the Legislature but was vetoed by Governor Rick Perry.
Sheets sponsored but did not vote on final passage on the bill to prohibit the state government from engaging in the enforcement of federal regulations of firearms. He co-sponsored the measure to allow concealed handgun licensees to carry weapons on public college campuses. He voted to reduce the time required to obtain a concealed-carry permit.
Interest group ratings
Though he was considered a conservative representative, Sheets' interest group ratings were somewhat inconsistent. Phyllis Schlafly's Eagle Forum, formerly managed in Texas by Cathie Adams, a former interim state chairman of the Texas Republican Party, rated Sheets 87 percent favorable in 2013 but only 36 percent in his first year in office in 2011. The Young Conservatives of Texas gave him a cumulative score in 2013 of 70 percent. The Texas League of Conservation Voters rated him 79 percent in 2013; the Sierra Club, 57 percent in 2011. The interest group, Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, founded by Michael Quinn Sullivan, rated Sheets 68 percent in 2013 but 100 percent in 2011, when it named him an Empower Texans "Taxpayer Champion."
Defeat in 2016
Sheets served three terms in the House until he was unseated by 836 votes in the November 6, 2016, general election. He received 27,086 votes (49.2 percent); his opponent, Democratic Victoria Neave, a supporter of Hillary Rodham Clinton, won the race with 27,922 votes (50.8 percent). No Libertarian candidate ran in the district.
- The Texas Tribune biography lists his birthplace as Grand Prairie, Texas;. There is no mention of his having lived in Michigan.
- Kenneth Sheets. Mylife.com. Retrieved on June 23, 2020.
- Kenneth Sheets. Texas Legislative Reference Library. Retrieved on June 23, 2020.
- Kenneth Sheets. kennethsheets.com. Retrieved on March 21, 2014; material no longer accessible on-line.
- State Rep. Kenneth Sheets: District 107 (R-Dallas). The Texas Tribune. Retrieved on March 21, 2014; article no longer on-line.
- Kenneth Sheets' Biography. votesmart.org. Retrieved on June 23, 2020.
- Texas Secretary of State, General election returns, November 2, 2010 (House District 107).
- Texas Secretary of State, General election returns, November 6, 2012 (House District 107).
- Texas Secretary of State, General election returns, November 4, 2014 House District 107.
- Texas Legislature Online. Texas Legislature Online. Retrieved on June 23, 2020.
- Legislative Session: 82 (R) Relating to the requirement that certain mammography reports contain information regarding supplemental breast cancer screening. Texas Legislature Online. Retrieved on June 23, 2020.
- Bradford Pearson (November 2011). Henda's Law. D Magazine. Retrieved on June 23, 2020.
- Legislative Session: 83 (R) Relating to voluntary registration and regulation of roofing contractors; providing criminal penalties; authorizing a fee. Texas Legislature Online. Retrieved on June 23, 2020.
- Legislative Session: 83 (R) Relating to the intentional display of a handgun by a person licensed to carry a concealed handgun. Texas Legislature Online. Retrieved on June 23, 2020.
- Christy Hoppe, "Texas House members angrily reject provision to expand legislators’ gun-carrying rights," The Dallas Morning News, May 26, 2013.
- Kenneth Sheets' Voting Records. votesmart.org. Retrieved on June 23, 2020.
- Legislative Session: 82 (R) Relating to informed consent to an abortion. Texas Legislature Online. Retrieved on June 23, 2020.
- Texas Voter ID Officially Takes Effect. The Huffington Post (October 21, 2013). Retrieved on June 23, 2020.
- Tami Luhby (January 19, 2011). Even budget deficits are bigger in Texas. CNN Money. Retrieved on June 23, 2020.
- Legislative Session: 83 (R) General Appropriations Bill. Texas Legislature Online. Retrieved on June 23, 2020.
- Corrie MacLaggan (May 26, 2013). Texas budget. Reuters. Retrieved on June 23, 2020.
- Legislative Session: 83 (R) Proposing a constitutional amendment providing for the creation of the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas and the State Water Implementation Revenue Fund for Texas to assist in the financing of priority projects in the state water plan. Texas Legislature Online. Retrieved on June 23, 2020.
- Mose Buchele (May 26, 2013). Lawmakers Approve Funding For Texas Water Plan, Setting Up Statewide Vote. NPR. Retrieved on June 23, 2020.
- Manny Fernandez (June 25, 2013). Filibuster in Texas Senate Tries to Halt Abortion Bill. The New York Times. Retrieved on June 23, 2020.
- Legislative Session: 83 (R) Relating to unlawful employment practices regarding discrimination in payment of compensation. Texas Legislature Online. Retrieved on June 23, 2020.
- Kenneth Sheets Ratings and Endorsements. votesmart.org. Retrieved on June 23, 2020.
- Texas Right to Life Pro-Life Legislative Scores. Texas Right to Life. Retrieved on June 23, 2020.
- Texas Secretary of State, Election Results, November 6, 2016.