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Q&A With Local Politicians: Sheena King

King is a Democrat running for State Representative House District 61
Sheena Headshots
Photo: Kim Photography | Headshot

The election is quickly approaching. Voters deserve to know who their candidates are and what they represent. Up until election day, Local Profile will publish Q&A with politicians running for this year's election.

What position are you running for and why?

I am the Democratic nominee for State Representative House District 61. I am a fourth-generation Texan, and I love this great state. As Texas continues to grow, it has also become extremely diverse as evidenced by the most recent census results. Yet our current leadership at the state level lacks diversity in gender and in ethnicity. Representation matters. I believe our government works best when it looks like the people it serves. Expanding leadership diversity would offer different perspectives and lived experiences that would only serve to improve our state’s ability to compete and thrive in a global economy. To live up to our full potential as a state, we must collaborate and create a future that provides prosperity for all Texans to have a better quality of life.

More specifically, I’m running to save our democracy, expand our healthcare, fix our grid, save our public education and build an economy that is good for workers and businesses. This newly drawn district has an open seat, and we deserve an elected leader who is qualified, transparent and willing to consider the needs of every Texan so we can achieve the positive changes needed in our community. I am that leader and stand ready to bring my skills, abilities and experiences and give my whole heart to fight for the people of Texas.

What policies do you hope to enact and why?

I support legislation which provides and expands freedoms and rights for ALL Texans to move us forward to face the future. Healthcare is a human right. I stand with the majority of Texans who support increasing the accessibility to, and affordability of, care for millions of Texans, including access to women’s reproductive healthcare. As a product of public schools, I know the value and I support fully funding public schools to include an increase of teacher pay and cost-of-living adjustments for retirees.

We all deserve safe communities and schools, and I support common sense gun legislation, which many public safety agencies and the majority of Texans also support. Defending democracy is not optional. Our country was founded on a democratic government of the people, for the people, and by the people. I have a history of advocating and serving to protect the sacred right to vote. As a parent, it is my belief we should leave this world better than we found it and that is my wish for all future generations of Texans.

What are the biggest challenges facing your district?

● Healthcare and Women’s Rights - I will advocate for legislation to address greater accessibility and affordability of healthcare including the expansion of Medicaid; addressing mental health needs, disability needs; acknowledging and continued focus on legislation to address the maternal mortality crisis in Texas; protection of reproductive health, freedom and rights; protection of our healthcare and frontline workers.
● Public Education and Gun Safety - I will advocate for a complete review of our property tax and school funding methodology so the state pays its share and we can reduce property taxes; create legislation to fully fund public schools to include increasing teacher pay and retiree pensions; provide safety measures including common sense gun legislation to ensure safety is a priority for our educators and students.
● Jobs/Economic Development - I will advocate for legislation to increase the minimum wage; address gender pay equity; review and begin to make substantive changes to support small businesses so they can thrive and compete; advocate for new ways of working and skill development across all industries so Texas can lead in the new innovations and technological advances being created.

How will your policies affect North Texas as a whole?

The rural, suburban and urban areas of North Texas are interconnected. As North Texas continues to grow the needs for healthcare, education, gun safety, economic development and educational advancement will continue to be vital. The policies which I support will put the needs of the people first and be a welcome relief to Texans many of whom have been disenfranchised within our most recent legislative session which was hyper-partisan and polarized.

What are the biggest challenges facing Texas?

Texans have more in common than what divides us. I truly believe we are stronger together. Our elected officials need to lead in this area by demonstrating more empathy and understanding to do what is in the best interest of ALL Texans. We are a very diverse state, and the opportunity to increase our inclusion in legislation can help to create more equity if we’re willing to embrace the positive outcomes from this approach. Texas has an abundance of resources. We must work hard to ensure everyone has access to these resources so we can all thrive. It’s not a zero-sum game.

There is too much divisiveness today and Texans are exhausted by all of it. I have 25-plus years of leadership experience spanning across multiple industries and roles in both the private and public sector. My leadership style and experience has centered on active listening, seeking common ground, encouraging collaboration, embracing change adoption, leveraging negotiation skills and creating psychological safety. All my life has been in service to others. Helping families comes naturally to me. The time has now come for me to step into a new chapter of formal public advocacy by serving as an elected official where decisions and policies are created. My leadership approach would be to (1) meet people where they are, (2) govern in service to others, seek out their ideas, input and concerns, (3) restore professional trust and integrity to the role of government, including honesty, integrity and compassion for others (4) represent all Texans

How is your district changing?

House District 61 has become extremely diverse in the past decade. Additionally, the population growth can be seen in every area of the private and public sector (i.e. housing, infrastructure, transportation, retail, education, medical, technological). These changes have been positive and they’ve also created opportunities within the district to lean into embracing more inclusion and equity. Representation matters, and our government works best when it is able to reflect the constituents and bring their voices to the table. In Texas and Collin County, we need more women and people of color in our legislature. The time is now to elect a representative in this open seat who supports and listens to all communities and can deliver results for every family.

What book that you’ve read has had the biggest impact on you?

To Kill A Mockingbird was an eye-opening book in so many ways. As a young woman of color in a middle-class home born and raised in the South, I was able to see myself in the book. The depth and vast amount of emotions from this book continue to impact me to this day. Whether intentional or unintentionally there was every “ism” called out and for me acknowledgment is powerful to begin to address, heal and grow which is what we’re doing every day in life.

What does the future hold for your district and for Texas?

The future is bright for House District 61 and the opportunities are limitless. The people in our district are creative, resilient and welcoming and this is a great foundation for a thriving community. Our seven cities are all growing and forward-thinking. In the decades to come, this district will be a mixture of cultures, developments, environments all working together to preserve the resources while also meeting the needs of the communities.

Local Profile will continue to release Q&A segments with politicians running for various positions in this upcoming election.