Access to quality, affordable healthcare, investment in infrastructure statewide and accessibility of her district offices were among the key topics Rep. Sharice Davids discussed in remarks Tuesday as the featured speaker at Washington Update, a business luncheon presented by the Overland Park Chamber of Commerce.
Davids broached these subjects as business issues faced by business owners across the Kansas Third Congressional District.
“Healthcare continues to be the number one issue that I hear about from people as I go out and talk to people in the community, and it’s been one of my top priorities since I took office,” Davids said. “I truly believe that every person deserves access to quality, affordable healthcare, and there’s too many people right now who are just really, really struggling to get access to that healthcare.
“Regardless of political party, regardless of which ZIP code you’re living in, we talk about Wyandotte County and Johnson County often as monoliths, and we know that there are people in both counties and in Miami County who are struggling to access healthcare.”
Davids said expanded access to healthcare would help lower infant mortality rates and high school dropout rates. She said she wants Congress to find a way to lower the costs of premiums, deductibles and prescription drugs, while also strengthening protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
Davids said she has signed on to 25 healthcare-related bills; 10 of those have passed through the House and await consideration by the Senate.
Additionally, she said healthcare has been one of the main challenges raised by small businesses. As a member of Congress’s small business committee, she told the crowd she spends time in D.C. sharing about the entrepreneurship of small and medium-size businesses in her district. She introduced a bill that could help address the challenges and opportunities of veteran-owned businesses trying to access capital and grow. (Davids discussed some of these challenges at a roundtable discussion a few weeks ago.)
“I’ve thought this before, but in my short time in D.C., I can definitely tell that all the best solutions and answers to the issues that we’re facing are not going to come from our members of Congress,” Davids said. “They’re going to come from the people who are doing the work on the ground: From the people who own the businesses, from the people who are trying to access credit, from the people who are trying to make use of the USDA programs or the VA programs.”
Davids is also a member of Congress’s transportation and infrastructure committee, and said investment in infrastructure is key to economic growth and vibrancy statewide. This includes access to quality water sources, broadband internet, and well maintained roads and bridges, to name a few.
“These are all things that are basic functions that our federal government should be investing in,” Davids added. “As many of you know, our grandparents built this infrastructure system that we’re using right now. Our opportunity right now in Congress is to be thinking about the ways that we build the infrastructure for our grandchildren. We need it to be resilient. We need it to be dependable. We need it to be a little more inclusive with things like broadband.”
Davids added that committee discussions on infrastructure center around safety, efficiency and economic growth.
The Congresswoman said she is striving to be “as accessible as possible,” and wants to be responsive and aware of the issues facing Kansas residents in the district. As a matter of convenience for residents, she took over the officer of her predecessor, former Rep. Kevin Yoder, in Overland Park, with the same phone number and address. She also opened an office in Wyandotte County. She is also offering pop-up office hours across the district.
“Please reach out to [our] office,” Davids said. “Don’t assume our office knows something. If there’s a piece of legislation… if there is something moving through and is going to impact you, please let us know. It matters when I get asked, ‘Where is your district at on this issue?’”