Rep. Kenneth Sheets on banning bath salts, supporting Sonogram bill and joining the Hispanic Republican Conference (VIDEO)

The following interview with Texas Representative Kenneth Sheets is one of a series of interviews conducted by VOCES Action and TexasGOPVote with members of the Hispanic Republican Conference in the 82nd session of the Texas Legislature. In 2010, Kenneth Sheets was elected to his first session in the Texas House of Representatives serving District 107, which includes East Dallas, the Lakewood area, the Highlands area, part of Garland, and part of Mesquite.

The first time I heard from Mr. Kenneth Sheets was back on July 22, 2012 after I debated Liberal Democrat Domingo Garcia on FOX News primetime on the immigration issue. I received a facebook request  from then candidate for State Representative Kenneth Sheets. (You can view the TexasGOPVote article about that debate here.)

Mr. Sheets congratulated me for my debate and my positions during the debate and introduced himself to me. He told me he was interested in the Latino community in Texas and interested in Conservative values and that he wanted to know more about my organization VOCES Action. He invited my husband and I to an event where we met him and his lovely wife Michelle, and there I saw a leader who fought for our country as he served with the Marine Corps. We were certain that this man was running for all the right reasons to serve in District 107.

I was delighted as I sat in his office now interviewing this fine man as he is serving his first term as State Representative and restoring conservative leadership to District 107.

The Hispanic Republican Conference has been growing. Originally it was formed by the House’s five Hispanic Republicans but has since been joined by other State Representatives whose districts have at least 30% Hispanic constituents. The Hispanic Republican Conference will be addressing some issues that have been controversial in parts of the state with large Hispanic populations.

Hispanics make up 36% of the Texas population and this percentage is growing. Hispanics share Republican conservative values of fiscal responsibility, faith, hard work, family values, and are pro-life. VOCES Action has been educating and empowering Americans with Hispanic backgrounds, and who hold conservative values, to make more responsible and informed voting decisions.

TRANSCRIPT OF INTERVIEW:

Adryana Boyne: Good morning, we are here doing a series of interviews with TexasGOPVote and VOCES Action, and this morning we are here with Representative Kenneth Sheets, Mayor Kenneth Sheets, that's right?

Kenneth Sheets: Yes ma'am.

Adryana Boyne: Good morning, it's so good to be here with you.

Kenneth Sheets: Thank you ma'am.

Adryana Boyne: Thank you for taking time out of session to be with us this morning. I would like to ask you Mr. Sheets a little bit about the people in your district and what are the issues they are concerned the most with?

Kenneth Sheets: Well I represent District 107, the East Dallas area, which includes Lakewood area, the Highlands area, East Dallas, a little bit of Garland, a little bit of Mesquite, it's a very diverse area, both when you're talking about socioeconomic areas and when you're talking about the population that's within the district. The district is centered for the most part around White Rock Lake, and the most important issues I think for our district are the education issues, and obviously the budget issues as we're dealing with those and what affects the budget issues will have on our schools and also on our nursing homes and other areas of our states.

Adryana Boyne: It's an exciting time for me to be here with you today because the funny way that we met. I got actually a Facebook message from you to me asking me to be your friend on Facebook, and that was interesting because you actually saw a debate that I did on Fox News with Mr. Domingo Garcia, and I was so impressed that this candidate for state representative was contacting me, but certainly I saw that you have a specific interest about the Hispanic community and that caught my attention a lot. I appreciate that, and you are a member of the Hispanic Republican Conference of the House of Representatives. Can you tell me why did you chose to be a member of the Hispanic Republican Conference?

Kenneth Sheets: Well, as I stated earlier, our district is a very diverse district, and the latest census data proves that even more, block walking, getting out there and knowing the voters that out there and the citizens that are out there, it was obvious that Hispanic population in East Dallas and in District 107 was growing. The previous data, obviously, was outdated data, but when we saw the census data, and saw that we, I believe we now have close to 37% Hispanic population in the district, that was no surprise to me, I knew all along that we need to reach out to the Hispanic vote because our country is one of inclusion and this is a new population, actually it's not a new population in Texas, but it is a growing population in Texas. We need to embrace that population. Their traditional values, and I think their traditional values flow very well with the Republican platform.

Adryana Boyne: I agree, we have the same values. That's one of the things that I saw in your campaign. When you were campaigning, you were surrounded with all the groups, and everyone was supporting, and you got the support of several Hispanic groups, conservative groups and that was encouraging to see that the people really wanted you to take over that seat, and you did, and we congratulate you for that. Now talking about that, Hispanics will soon make 50% of the Texas population, and the future success of the Republican Party depends on their vote. What do you suggest to attract Hispanics to the Republican Party?

Kenneth Sheets: You know I think we just need to be who we are, we need to reach out, we need to communicate to the Hispanic population. I do believe that the traditional values that the Hispanics believe in are in line with the Republican Platform, especially when we're talking about, a larger percentage of Hispanics are also Catholics, and I believe when we're talking about pro-life issues and about traditional values, I believe those are in line with the Republican values. I also believe that the work ethic of the Hispanic population demonstrates is in line with the Republican Party, you work hard and you make a good living for yourself and your family. This country has proven over and over again that if you work hard and through your labor you can make something of yourself so that you and your family can have a better life.

Adryana Boyne: We have been seeing you working since you came into session pretty hard. It is interesting that one of the pieces of legislation that you have been working on has to do with to ban the bath salts. What are bath salts anyway, and can you tell us a little bit about this legislation.

Kenneth Sheets: Yes ma'am, bath salts are not the stuff we're talking about that you may use and that I know my wife and my mother use to take a bath with. It is a, bath salt is I think a code name is the best way to put it, for a substance you can buy at a lot of novelty shops, it comes in a little container about this big, and that container is probably about an eighth of the way full, it's not enough to take a bath with, I can tell you that. It's a very dangerous substance that's used as a synthetic form of cocaine. It mimics the effects of cocaine and meth amphetamines. It is a very dangerous and potent substance. Studies have reflected that it is more addictive than cocaine, it's more addictive than meth amphetamines. We just recently read an article about a gentleman, I believe he was in the United Kingdom, who took this stuff and he was caught out in the woods doing some very inappropriate things, part of the side effects of this substance is paranoia, and it was reflective in the story of what this gentleman was doing. It also creates psychosis. There are stories about young men who have taken this substance and have been in a comas for an excess of 3 weeks, medically induced comas so that they could get the comas out of these individual systems. It is a very dangerous substance. I was able to get some bipartisan support, and I actually, Garnet Coleman called me who is a Democrat Representative, both he and I worked together to pass a bill. It's actually going to be his bill that's going to pass instead of mine, but for me it's making sure that the issue is taken care of.

Adryana Boyne: Well one of the things, Mr. Sheets, that attract me to see about your values is the fact that you are pro-life and your vote was important to pass the Sonogram Bill. Thank you very much for doing so. Can you tell me a little bit about why the Sonogram Bill is important?

Kenneth Sheets: I think the Sonogram Bill is important for several reasons. When we're talking about the chidden that this affects, it's giving them a chance for their parents to view the baby, the fetus, before they make this decision, and that happens in ever medical decision that we make. If we're going to go under a medical procedure, the doctors provide us with all the medical information, and the honest truth is, right now, the women are undergoing the Sonograms when they're electing to have abortions, the problem is they're not being given the opportunity to view them, so while this legislation mandates that the Sonograms be done, that's already happening, the important part is that they're making sure that these women have a right to look at these Sonograms before they make this choice, and it's empowering women so they can make the choice, whether it's the pro-life choice, and if it's the pro-life choice that's great, and if they make the decision to abort the fetus, at least they had the opportunity before they made their choice, which they have a right to do, but at least they had a chance to look at the Sonogram.

Adryana Boyne: I appreciate that you did vote for that bill. The other thing that I appreciate very much is for serving for our country. You did serve in the Marines?

Kenneth Sheets: Yes ma'am.

Adryana Boyne: And for how long was that?

Kenneth Sheets: Well, I'm actually still serving in the Reserves. I just reached 15 years in January, and I'm really thankful for everything that the Marine Corps has done for me. I have learned a lot, and I have grown a lot because of the Marine Corps.

Adryana Boyne: Well, I don't know if you would like to add anything else that you care right now about this legislation that is important, if you want to say a few words about what else you are trying to pass during the rest of the session.

Kenneth Sheets: You know, I was really excited about, we did get to pass some tort reform legislation. A lot of people are selling that as a loser pay system. I think that by working with the members of the Texas Bar, not the Bar itself, but the member of the Bar, we've been able to craft a piece of legislation that is not as far extreme as a lot of people were concerned this legislation was going to be. We've been able to make it a better piece of legislation. I'm really thankful that Representative Creighton allowed me to join onto the bill and to work with that piece of legislation, and I'm hopeful today that when we take it up for third reading that we will be able to add some amendments onto it that will address some concerns that others had with it as well.

Adryana Boyne: Thank you very much Mr. Sheets. I want to thank you for serving our country first of all, and for serving your district and for serving all the people of Texas. On behalf of VOCES Action and TexasGOPVote, thank you very much.

Kenneth Sheets: Thank you ma'am. Thank you for all that you do.

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