Kenneth Sheets

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Kenneth Francis Sheets
Texas State Representative for District 107 (Dallas County)
In office
January 11, 2011 – January 2017
Preceded by Allen Ryan Vaught
Succeeded by Victoria Neave
Personal details
Born (1976-11-06) November 6, 1976 (age 41)
Trenton, Michigan, USA[1]
Nationality American
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Michele Sue Pierce Sheets
Residence Dallas
Dallas County, Texas
Alma mater

Mansfield High School
University of Texas at Arlington

Dedman School of Law at Southern Methodist University
Occupation Attorney
Military service
Service/branch United States Marine Corps
Rank Major
Battles/wars Fallujah: Operation Iraqi Freedom

Kenneth Francis Sheets (born November 6, 1976)[2] is an attorney from Dallas, Texas, who is a Republican former member of the Texas House of Representatives. From 2011 through 2017, he represented the highly politically competitive District 107 in Dallas County.[3]


Born in Trenton in Wayne County, near Detroit, Michigan, Sheets was reared in Mansfield in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.[4] In 1995, he graduated from Mansfield 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 a Major in the Marine Corps Reserve.[4] He fought in Operation Iraqi Freedom from September 2007 to May 2008 in Fallujah and earned a Marine Corps Reserve Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and the Iraq Campaign Medal.[4][5]

In 2004, he received his Juris Doctor degree from the Dedman School of Law at Southern Methodist University in University Park near Dallas. He is partner with the Dallas law firm Payne & Blanchard.[5][6] He is a member of the St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in Dallas.[7]

His wife is the former Michele Sue Pierce (born c. 1978).[4][5]

Political life[edit]

Sheets entered into politics in 2010 after returning home from multiple years on active duty with the Marine Corps.[4][5] 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.[8] 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.[9] 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).[10]

Unopposed in the Republican primary on March 4, 2014, Sheets won a third term in the general election against fellow Dallas lawyer, the Democratic nominee Carol Crabtree Donovan (born c. 1954).[7][11] by a 16,891 votes (55 percent) to 13,807 (45 percent).[12]

In his first term in the Texas House of Representatives, Sheets served on these committees: (1) Insurance, (2) Small Business and Economic Development, (3) Manufacturing, and (4) Joint Committee on Seacoast Territory Insurance.[13] In his first session, Sheets worked with other legislators to pass Tort Reform legislation aimed at combating meritless lawsuits.[14][15] 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.[16][17]

Sheets in his third and final term in the House served on these committee: (1) Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee (2) Insurance Committee, and (3) Local and Consent Calendar.[18] Sheets was the vice chair the House Republican Caucus Policy Committee. During the 83rd legislative session, he unsuccessfully attempted to pass legislation aimed at protecting Texas homeowners from fraudulent and abusive practices by some roofing contractors.[19] 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.[20] Sheets was also a 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.[21]

Sheets was named "Champion for Free Enterprise" by the Texas Association of Business, which rated him 93 percent in 2013,[22] "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.[7]

Legislative voting records[edit]

In 2011, Sheets backed the redistricting bills for the state House and Senate and the United States House of Representatives.[23] 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.[24]

In 2011, Sheets voted to require Internet retailers to collect sales tax 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.[23] The measure finally took effect in October 2013 and was used widely without incident in the primaries on March 4, 2014.[25] In 2013, Sheets voted for related legislation to forbid a voter from turning in multiple ballots.[23]

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.[26] Sheets voted for the biennial Texas budget which lawmakers balanced without having to raise taxes.[27]

Sheets supported passage of the biennial Texas budget in 2013.[28] 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.[29] In 2013, Sheets also supported passage of an amendment to the Texas Constitution to provide funding to develop water resources.[30][31]

Sheets in 2013 supported the ban on abortions after five months of gestation; the measure passed the House, 96-49 but was later blocked in federal court. He also supported companion legislation to increase medical and licensing requirements of abortion providers.[23] These issues brought forth an unsuccessful filibuster in the Texas State Senate by Wendy R. Davis of Fort Worth, who in 2014 is the Democratic nominee for governor against the Republican Greg Abbott.[32] 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.[23]

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.[33]

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 concealed weapons on public college campuses. He voted to reduce the time required to obtain such a permit.[23]

Interest group ratings[edit]

Though he was considered a conservative representative, Sheets' interest group ratings are somewhat inconsistent. Phyllis Schlafly's Eagle Forum, managed in Texas by Cathie Adams, a former state chairman of the Texas Republican Party, rated Sheets 87 percent favorable in 2013 but only 36 percent 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.[34] 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".[7] The National Rifle Association scored Sheets 92 percent in 2012.[34] Texas Right to Life rated Sheets as 135 percent favorable in 2011 and 94 percent favorable in 2013.[35]

Sheets was narrowly unseated in his bid for a fourth term in the general election held on November 8, 2016. He polled 27,086 votes (49.2 percent) but lost to the Democrat Victoria Neave, who led with 27,922 (50.8 percent).[36]


  1. ^ The Texas Tribune biography lists his birthplace as Grand Prairie, Texas. There is no mention of his having lived in Michigan.
  2. ^ "Rep. Kenneth Sheets (R-TX 107th District)". Nebraska Library Association. Retrieved March 21, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Kenneth Sheets". Texas Legislative Reference Library. Retrieved March 21, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "Kenneth Sheets". Retrieved March 21, 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c d "State Rep. Kenneth Sheets District 107 (R-Dallas)". The Texas Tribune. Retrieved March 21, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Payne & Blanchard, LLP". Retrieved March 21, 2014. 
  7. ^ a b c d "Kenneth Sheets' Biography". Retrieved March 21, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Texas Legislature Online". Texas Legislature Online. Retrieved March 21, 2014. 
  9. ^ "General election returns, November 2, 2010 (House District 107)". Texas Secretary of State. Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved March 21, 2014. 
  10. ^ "General election returns, November 6, 2012 (House District 45)". Texas Secretary of State. Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved March 20, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Carol Donovan". Retrieved March 21, 2014. 
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Texas Legislature Online". Texas Legislature Online. Retrieved March 21, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Texas Legislature Online". Texas Legislature Online. Retrieved March 21, 2014. 
  15. ^ "Texans for Lawsuit Reform". Texas for Lawsuit Reform. Retrieved March 21, 2014. 
  16. ^ "Legislative Session: 82 (R) Relating to the requirement that certain mammography reports contain information regarding supplemental breast cancer screening". Texas Legislature Online. Retrieved March 21, 2014. 
  17. ^ "Henda's Law". D Magazine. Retrieved March 21, 2014. 
  18. ^ "House Member Kenneth Sheets". Texas House of Representatives. Retrieved March 21, 2014. 
  19. ^ "Legislative Session: 83 (R) Relating to voluntary registration and regulation of roofing contractors; providing criminal penalties; authorizing a fee". Texas Legislature Online. Retrieved March 21, 2014. 
  20. ^ "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 March 21, 2014. 
  21. ^ "Christy Hoppe, Texas House members angrily reject provision to expand legislators' gun-carrying rights, May 26, 2013". Dallas Morning News. Retrieved March 21, 2014. 
  22. ^ "Voting Record". Texas Association of Business. Archived from the original on 2014-03-22. 
  23. ^ a b c d e f "Kenneth Sheets' Voting Records". Retrieved March 21, 2014. 
  24. ^ "Legislative Session: 82(R) Relating to informed consent to an abortion". Texas Legislature Online. Retrieved March 21, 2014. 
  25. ^ "Texas Voter ID Officially Takes Effect, October 21, 2013". The Huffington Post. Retrieved March 16, 2014. 
  26. ^ "Tami Luhby, Even budget deficits are bigger in Texas, January 19, 2011". CNN Money. Retrieved March 21, 2014. 
  27. ^ "Legislative Session: 82 (R) General Appropriations Bill". Texas Legislature Online. Retrieved March 21, 2014. 
  28. ^ "Legislative Session: 83 (R) General Appropriations Bill". Texas Legislature Online. Retrieved March 21, 2014. 
  29. ^ "Texas budget". Reuters. Retrieved March 21, 2014. 
  30. ^ "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 March 21, 2014. 
  31. ^ "Lawmakers Approve Funding For Texas Water Plan, Setting Up Statewide Vote, May 22, 2013". National Public Radio. Retrieved March 21, 2014. 
  32. ^ M. Fernandez (June 25, 2013). "Filibuster in Texas Senate Tries to Halt Abortion Bill". The New York Times. Retrieved March 9, 2014. 
  33. ^ "Legislative Session: 83 (R) Relating to unlawful employment practices regarding discrimination in payment of compensation". Texas Legislature Online. Retrieved March 21, 2014. 
  34. ^ a b "Kenneth Sheets Ratings and Endorsements". Retrieved March 21, 2014. 
  35. ^ "Texas Right to Life Pro-Life Legislative Scores". Texas Right to Life. Retrieved March 22, 2014. 
  36. ^ "Election Results". Texas Secretary of State. November 8, 2016. Retrieved December 14, 2016. 
Political offices
Texas House of Representatives
Preceded by
Allen Ryan Vaught
Texas State Representative for District 107 (Dallas County)

Kenneth Francis Sheets

Succeeded by
Victoria Neave