JOHNSON COUNTY, Kan. – Political newcomer Sharice Davids is in a tight race to unseat Kansas third district congressman Kevin Yoder.
Davids surprised some by winning the democratic nominee. This week she received an endorsement from former President Barack Obama.
Shortly after winning the party nomination, Davids was called out for wanting to defund or abolish ICE.
During our Conversation with the Candidates we asked Davids about that and other topics while having breakfast at Johnson County Community College.
Below is the dialogue from the interview with reporter Steven Dial.
Steven: Thanks for having breakfast with us. We are where it all started for you at JCCC. What do you take away from your experience here?
Davids: I think that it is interesting because so many people actually do get started at a community college not necessarily jumping into a four-year degree and starting off with an associates helps with costs. So, one of the things that I really liked about JCCC was the wide range of courses I was able to take. Just having a lot of classes and opportunities to learn about a lot of different things.
Steven: I did a little research. We know you do MMA. What made you want to do that?
Davids: Well I was obsessed with Bruce Lee growing up. I was always running around trying to be Bruce Lee and as I got older, my mom was a single mom and there are three of us, she couldn’t afford to pay for us, so when I became an adult I said I can pay for my own. I started when I was 19, then after training my coach said I should compete because I was obsessively training and trying to get better. The idea of training for a fight, everything you do for two months leads up to this one 15-minutes to demonstrate all of the things you have been working hard on. The first time I did it, I enjoyed the hard work.
Steven: You are kind of preparing for a fight now, not a physical one, but running for Congress is a big leap from what you have been doing. What made you say I want to be the Congressperson from Kansas?
Davids: I do think that my martial arts training has prepared me for this. I am not sure a lot of people would make that connection. At the end of the day, it came down to wanting to see representation that is reflective of the experiences that we have as a community, state and country. A lot of people that started as a first-generation college student, or working in school, or struggling to figure out how to pay for basic necessities, trying to figure out how to pay for healthcare, I want to see more of those experiences reflected in those that create legislation that affects all of us.
Steven: Let's dig in for a second. What is your favorite breakfast or food?
Davids: Two things that are my favorite, breakfast sandwiches with ham egg and cheese. I really like pancakes. I’m not sure anyone wants me making pancakes. There are three things I make well. I make world famous mashed potatoes and Spaghetti.
Steven: I heard you love Sci-Fi and superheroes. Who is your favorite and why?
Davids: It’s so hard to choose, the Flash, Super girl, legends of tomorrow. But I really liked it when Iris was a speedster. That is from the flash. I get super excited to watch Super Girl.
Steven: To transition a little to politics, what do you think is the most important thing right now, where you say, "I want to focus on" if elected?
Davids: It’s got to be healthcare, the number of people who are at every event, when I am making phone calls, without fail, it seems like every single day I am hearing about healthcare. Some people are worried about it. I switched jobs, I am wondering if the pre-existing condition will increase my premiums, people who talk about their deductibles, that kind of stuff. People who aren’t able to access insurance at all, the costs are astronomical for some. I kept getting injured at the gym, I went to the emergency room, and I didn’t have healthcare at the time and I had to get a CAT scan and it was $4,000. I thought I was going to get an X-ray, I said "Why am I getting a CAT scan, because of how expensive it was going to be." I think I was working at the Marriott downtown and it takes time for your insurance to kick in. I recognize that my story was so much less severe than what others are facing. Winning this election will build the opportunity to quality healthcare.
Steven: Let's talk about the elephant in the room. As we stay on politics, so far, it has appeared this race has turned into a battle over immigration and ICE. Some may not think that is the most important thing for the third district when it comes to jobs, healthcare, education. While we have you here. I want Sharice Davids to say, do you believe ICE should be defunded or abolished?
Davids: I don’t support abolishing ICE. This to me feels like an example of how every issue that is talked about and what our country faces has turned into partisan gamesmanship and partisan politics and frankly that is what has gotten us to the part where we have not seen anything in Congress happening. Whether you are a Democrat, rRpublican or independent, your job is to make sure people's voice is heard. This is an example of how that gamesmanship plays out.
Steven: You are a child of a mother who was in the military. My dad is Army, you are very diverse as a candidate, what would you tell the voter of why they should elect you. Your opponent is the chair of an important committee.
Davids: Two things: One, Washington has been broken for a while and we need to elect new candidates. It comes back to us, really putting forth, who we are as a community and when I think of the ways I can bring our voice to D.C., a lot of it has to do with having an experience with so many people in our community. First generation college student, raised by a single mom, working the entire time I was school, none of those are uncommon, but they are not common enough with people who are creating legislation that affects all of us and that will make a difference in the direction our country is heading.