Prairie Village mother of son with cerebral palsy to be Rep. Davids’ guest at State of the Union

Laura Robeson and her son Danny. Submitted photo.

A Prairie Village woman who has been a vocal proponent of better access to healthcare for persons with disabilities will accompany freshman-Rep. Sharice Davids to the State of the Union address in Washington, D.C. next week.

Davids announced on Wednesday that Laura Robeson would be her guest at the president’s joint speech to Congress.

Robeson’s son Danny, now 7, was born prematurely, and has been diagnosed with epilepsy, cortical vision impairment and cerebral palsy. In recent years, she’s lobbied local elected officials to improve healthcare options for families with members who have pre-existing conditions. In 2017, she was among a group of protestors who visited the Olathe office of Sen. Jerry Moran in a show of opposition to proposed cuts to Medicaid.

Davids, who was sworn in to office earlier this month after defeating four-term Rep. Kevin Yoder in November’s elections, said Robeson’s story showed the need to strengthen protections for pre-existing conditions.

“Hosting her as my guest for the State of the Union is an opportunity to highlight the dangers of allowing insurance companies to discriminate against people based on their medical histories,” Davids said in a statement. “I’m working to make sure more Kansans — not fewer — are able to get healthcare. I hope the President will stop sabotaging health care protections and start working with people from both parties to make sure more Americans are able to access care.”

Robeson said that without the protections for care offered under the Affordable Care Act, “my family could be bankrupt and unable to get healthcare for Danny.”

“I have had many sleepless nights over the last few years as Congress and the President have worked to dismantle our healthcare law and protections for people with preexisting conditions like my son Danny,” Robeson said. “Danny requires complex and coordinated medical care from physical and speech therapy, to prescription medication to regular visits with a neurologist and endocrinologist and much more… I hope my presence at this important event will bring some attention to how important it is to protect access to care for the millions of Americans who have preexisting conditions.”

This year’s State of the Union is set to be delivered next Tuesday, Feb. 5.

Each member of Congress is permitted to bring a guest to the address each year. Last year, Yoder brought Sunayana Dumala as his guest. She is the wife of Srinivas Kuchibhotla, who was killed in shooting at Austin’s Bar and Grill in Olathe.