Bennett Ratliff

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Bennett Ratliff
Texas State Representative from District 115 (Dallas County)
In office
January 8, 2013 – January 13, 2015
Preceded by Jim Jackson
Succeeded by Matt Rinaldi
Personal details

(1961-08-18) August 18, 1961 (age 56)
Fort Worth, Tarrant County

Texas, USA
Nationality American
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Rebecca "Beccy" Ratliff

Bill Ratliff (father)

Thomas Ratliff (brother)
Children Three children
Residence Coppell, Dallas County, Texas
Alma mater University of Texas at Austin
Occupation Civil engineer

Bennett Ratliff (born August 18, 1961)[1] is a civil engineer and small business owner in Coppell, Texas, and served as a Republican member of the Texas House of Representatives from District 115 in Dallas County in the 83rd Session.[2]


Born in Fort Worth, Ratliff is a son of former State Senator and Lieutenant Governor Bill Ratliff of Mount Pleasant in Titus County in northeastern Texas. His brother, Thomas Ratliff is a former member of the Texas State Board of Education where he served as Vice-Chairman. Bennett Ratliff ran as a conservative leader who gets results in his campaigns for the state House as "An Engineer with a Conservative Formula for a Better Texas."[3]

Like his father, Ratliff graduated with a degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. Bennett Ratliff received his Bachelor of Science degree in 1983. He founded The Ratliff Group, LLC, an engineering and construction management firm, in Coppell in 2002 and has grown it to be one of the most successful and respected firms in its market segment.[3][4] In 2013, Ratliff was given the Distinguished Engineering Award from the Texas Engineering Foundation of the Society of Professional Engineers in recognition of his distinguished service to the engineering profession and in 2015 was inducted into the Academy of Distinguished Alumni for the University of Texas Cockrell School of Engineering. In 2016, Ratliff was again recognized by his peers in the Texas Society of Civil Engineers as the Citizen Engineer of the Year, for his service to the State of Texas and his community.

Ratliff and his wife, Rebecca, or Beccy, a former public schoolteacher, have three grown children. He and his family attend the non-denominational Irving Bible Church in Dallas County. He is an active member of local Republican clubs, Chambers of Commerce, the CISD Education Foundation, a volunteer for Special Olympics, a mentor to high school engineering students and a member of the National Rifle Association.[1][4]

Political life[edit]

Prior to his legislative term, Ratliff was a nine-year elected member and Vice-President of the Board of Trustees of the Coppell Independent School District, had twice served as a delegate to the State Republican Party Convention and had been involved in a number of local and state Republican campaigns.[3]

The House District 115 position in Dallas County opened in 2011, when the incumbent Republican Jim Jackson declined to seek re-nomination. Bennett Ratliff and four other candidates then entered the Republican primary held on May 29, 2012, nearly three months later than usual. Steve Nguyen led the primary with 3,081 votes (35 percent), followed by Ratliff with 2,644 (30.1 percent), 306 votes more than the third-place candidate, Matt Rinaldi, who polled 2,338 votes (26.6 percent). Two other candidates held the remaining 8.3 percent of the ballots cast.[5] Ratliff then defeated Nguyen in the runoff election, 4,763 (51.9 percent) to 4,409 (48.1 percent).[6] In the November 6 general election, Ratliff prevailed with 29,082 votes (55.3 percent) to 21,784 (41.4 percent) for the Democrat Mary Clare Fabishak (born c. 1949) of Irving and another 1,711 votes (3.3 percent) for the Libertarian Party nominee, Preston Poulter.[7]

Representative Ratliff served on the House committees of (1) Appropriations and (2) Public Education.[4] He authored eighteen bills and by the end of the session, thirteen of his priority issues had become law, the best record of any freshman in the 83rd Legislative Session.

He received high marks for his tenure in the legislature. Outgoing Texas Comptroller Susan Combs and Texas Monthly magazine cited him for "outstanding leadership" among freshman House members. The Dallas Morning News called Ratliff the "Best of Dallas-Area's Freshman Class in the Texas House" and nominated him for "Texan of the Year in Education".[3]

In his bid for a second term, Ratliff lost the Republican nomination to a 2012 tea party opponent, Matt Rinaldi, who received 4,167 votes (50.6 percent) to Ratliff's 4,075 votes (49.44 percent) in the March 4, 2014 Republican primary.[8] Rinaldi, an Irving lawyer and one of Ratliff's opponents two years before, had extensive support from a special interest PAC, Empower Texans. On March 1, 2016, Ratliff tried unsuccessfully to regain his seat, but lost again to the Empower Texans backed Rinaldi in the Republican primary 8,804 to 7,668 (53.45% to 46.55%)[9]

Legislative positions[edit]

Ratliff in the 2013 legislative sessions took a leadership role in education issues and helped pass HB 5 to reform high school graduation requirements in Texas which passed the House unanimously. He also authored and passed HB 2824 to reduce state regulation of high-performing public schools and HB 2824 to reduce high-stakes testing in public schools. Despite unanimous support of both bills in the House and Senate, the bills were vetoed by Governor Rick Perry on very narrow grounds. Ratliff supported the bill to establish a taxpayer-funded breakfast program for low income students in public schools; the measure passed the House, 73-58. He supported popular legislation to provide marshals for school security as a separate law-enforcement entity. Because of this work on behalf of the children of Texas, Ratliff has been named to the "Legislative Honor Roll" by the Texas PTA and recognized as a legislative "Champion" by the Retired Teachers Association. The Texas PTA also selected Ratliff to receive one of their highest honors by naming him an Honorary Life Member for outstanding service to the children and youth of Texas.

Ratliff co-sponsored the successful bill to extend the franchise tax exemption to certain businesses and reduce taxes on small businesses by $1.2 billion. He voted to adopt the biennial state budget, which passed in the House, 118-29. Ratliff co-sponsored the bill to prohibit texting while driving, which passed the House, 97-45. He voted to prohibit employers from asking for private passwords. He voted to require testing for narcotics of those individuals receiving unemployment compensation. Ratliff also added language to a proposed constitutional amendment to fund highway construction in Texas prohibiting new revenue from being used to build or finance toll roads, the voters approved the amendment with 80% in favor.

He supported the ban on abortion after twenty weeks of gestation; the measure passed the House, 96-49. He also voted for companion legislation to enhance the medical and licensing requirements of abortion providers. For his solid pro-life voting record he received a 100% rating from Texas Right to Life and earned the support of Texas Alliance for Life and Texans for Life in his re-election bid.

Ratliff supported the measure to forbid the state from engaging in the enforcement of federal regulations of firearms. He co-sponsored legislation to allow college and university officials to carry concealed weapons in the name of campus security. He voted to reduce the time required to obtain a concealed-carry permit and received an A Rating from the NRA and TSRA for his defense of Second Amendment Rights.

He backed the redistricting bills for the state House and Senate and the United States House of Representatives and led efforts alongside Attorney General Greg Abbott to preserve Republican seats in Dallas County. To guarantee integrity of voting procedure, Ratliff voted for the legislation to prevent one individual from turning in multiple ballots; the measure passed the House, 93-48.


  1. ^ a b "Rep. Bennett Ratliff, District 115 (R-Coppell)". Texas Directory. Retrieved March 16, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Bennett Ratliff". Texas Legislative Reference Library. Retrieved March 16, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Biographical Profile for Bennett Ratliff". Retrieved March 16, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c "Bennett Ratliff's Biography". Retrieved March 16, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Republican primary returns (House District 115), May 29, 2012". Texas Secretary of State. Archived from the original on November 8, 2006. Retrieved March 15, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Republican runoff primary returns (House District 115), July 31, 2012". Texas Secretary of State. Archived from the original on November 8, 2006. Retrieved March 15, 2014. 
  7. ^ "General election returns (House District 115), November 6, 2012". Texas Secretary of State. Archived from the original on November 8, 2006. Retrieved March 15, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Republican runoff primary returns (House District 115), March 4, 2014". Texas Secretary of State. Archived from the original on November 8, 2006. Retrieved July 10, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Republican runoff primary returns (House District 115), March 1, 2016". Texas Secretary of State. Retrieved April 21, 2016. 
Texas House of Representatives
Preceded by
Jim Jackson
Texas State Representative from District 115 (Dallas County)

Bennett Ratliff

Succeeded by
Matt Rinaldi