Ralph Sheffield

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Ralph Edgar Sheffield
Texas State Representative from District 55 (Bell County)
In office
November 20, 2008 – January 13, 2015
Preceded by Dianne White Delisi
Succeeded by Molly S. White
Personal details
Born (1955-01-11) January 11, 1955 (age 63)
McLennan County
Texas, USA
Nationality American
Political party Republican

(1) Sheryl Sheffield, now Sheryl Harding (divorced)[1]

(2) Deborah Sue Jensen Sheffield

From first marriage:
Ashley Sheffield Itenberg
Adrienne Nicole Sheffield
Joshua Michael Eymann

Benjamin Ryan Jensen
Residence Temple, Bell County, Texas
Alma mater Richfield High School
Occupation Restaurateur

Ralph Edgar Sheffield (born January 11, 1955)[2] is a restaurateur in Temple, Texas, who is a Republican three-term former member of the Texas House of Representatives. His District 55 seat, to which he was first elected in 2008, is located within Bell County in Central Texas.


Sheffield was born in Waco in McLennan County, Texas, where he graduated in 1973 from the former Richfield High School. At the age of nineteen in 1975, he opened his first restaurant. Since 1982, he has owned and operated Las Casas Restaurant in Temple, which specializes in White Wings, a trademarked menu item developed by Sheffield himself. He also operates All Occasion Catering. A member of the Temple Restaurant Association, he was from 2002 to 2003, the president of the Texas Restaurant Association, which has more than five thousand members. He is a member of the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Federation of Independent Business, and the Chamber of Commerce in Temple, Killeen, Belton, and Harker Heights.[3]

Sheffield and his second wife, Deborah "Debbie" Sue Sheffield (born 1958), attend the first United Methodist Church of Temple. Ralph and Debbie Sheffield have a combined four adult children, Ashley, Adrienne, Joshua, and Benjamin.[2]

Political life[edit]

In the Republican primary in 2008, Sheffield and three other candidates filed to succeed Republican Representative Dianne White Delisi, who did not seek reelection and vacated her seat early. Sheffield finished second in the primary with 4,372 votes (30.9 percent). The leading candidate was Martha Tyroch, whoi polled 5,126 ballots (36.3 percent).[4] In the ensuing runoff election, Sheffield defeated Tyroch, 4,204 (63.5 percent) to 2,418 (36.5 percent).[5] In the general election, Sheffield defeated the Democrat Sam Murphey, 30,189 (53.9 percent) to 24,290 (43.4 percent). Another 2.69 percent was cast for a Libertarian Party nominee, Chris Lane.[6] Because Delisi left the seat early, a special election, with a lower turnout of voters, was held in conjunction with the general election. In that contest, Sheffield prevailed 49.7 percent to Murphey's 44.96 percent.[7]

Since that time, Sheffield has faced only one other competitive race, the 2012 Republican primary, in which he defeated John Alfred Alaniz (born c. 1961) of Temple, an earlier opponent from 2008. In that race, Sheffield polled 6,400 votes (57.4 percent) to Alaniz's 4,752 votes (42.6 percent).[8]

Sheffield lost his bid for a fourth term in the House in the Republican primary held on March 4, 2014; he was unseated by Molly White of Belton, who like Alaniz in 2012 carried the backing of the Tea Party movement.[9][10]

Because Sheffield and an adjoining Republican state representative, J. D. Sheffield, a medical director from Gatesville in Coryell County, share surnames, voters in both districts often confuse the lawmakers, who are unrelated. J. D. Sheffield, will be returning to the House for his second term in January 2015.[9][10]

Sheffield is the vice chairman of the House Defense and Veterans Committee. He is a member of the Energy Resources Committee. He is a past recipient of the "Champion for Free Enterprise" award from the Texas Association of Business.[3]

In the 2013 legislative session, Sheffield voted to forbid abortion after twenty weeks of gestation and to increase medical requirements and licensing of abortion providers. However, despite these votes, Texas Right to Life rated him overall only 40 percent favorable in its 2013 ratings, down from 60 percent in 2011.[11] He opposed a taxpayer-funded breakfast program for public schools; the measure nevertheless passed the House, 73-58. Though he co-sponsored legislation to provide marshals for security in the schools, he voted against his own bill on final passage. He opposed authorizing the immunization of minors without parental consent, a measure which the House nevertheless approved, 71-61. He voted to extend the franchise tax exemption to certain businesses. Sheffield voted to prohibit texting while driving and to require testing for narcotics of those receiving unemployment compensation. He voted for an "equal pay for women" measure, which passed the House, 78-61. He voted to forbid the state from enforcing federal regulations of firearms and co-sponsored the law allowing college and university officials to carry concealed weapons in the name of campus security. He voted against term limits for certain officials[12]

In 2013, Phyllis Schlafly's Eagle Forum gave him a 65 percent grade, and the Young Conservatives of Texas ranked him 68 percent favorable. The interest group, Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, rated him 52 percent favorably in 2013. However, the Texas Association of Business rated Sheffield 100 percent, as did the National Rifle Association.[11]


  1. ^ "Weddings 2003: Sheffield-Fortin". Temple Daily Telegram. Retrieved February 21, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "Ralph Sheffield's Political Summary". votesmart.org. Retrieved February 21, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "Ralph Sheffield Biography" (PDF). Legislative Reference Library. Retrieved February 21, 2014. 
  4. ^ "2008 Republican primary election returns (House District 55)". elections.sos.state.tx.us. Retrieved February 21, 2014. 
  5. ^ "2008 Republican runoff election returns (House District 55)". elections.sos.state.tx.us. Retrieved February 21, 2014. 
  6. ^ "2008 General election returns (House District 55)". elections.sos.state.tx.us. Retrieved February 21, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Special election returns (House District 55), November 4, 2008". elections.sos.state.tx.us. Retrieved February 21, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Republican primary election returns (House District 55), May 29, 2012". elections.sos.state.tx.us. Retrieved February 21, 2014. 
  9. ^ a b "Ross Ramsey, "Shared Name May Be Hurdle to Keeping Post", December 9, 2013". The Texas Tribune. Retrieved February 21, 2014. 
  10. ^ a b "Republican primary election returns, March 4, 2014". team1.sos.state.tx.us. Retrieved March 5, 2014. 
  11. ^ a b "Ralph Sheffield's Ratings and Endorsements". votesmart.org. Retrieved February 21, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Ralph Sheffield's Voting Records". votesmart.org. Retrieved February 21, 2014. 
Texas House of Representatives
Preceded by
Dianne White Delisi
Texas State Representative from District 55 (Bell County)

Ralph Edgar Sheffield

Succeeded by
Molly S. White