Sharice Davids: ‘The Native vote cannot be underestimated’

U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids (Photo: davids.house.gov)

Aliyah Chavez

The Democratic congresswoman, who is seeking a second term, talks to Indian Country Today about her priorities and campaigning in a pandemic. #NativeVote20

Aliyah Chavez
Indian Country Today

U.S Rep. Sharice Davids of Kansas made history in 2018 when she was one of the first two Native women elected to Congress.

Two years later, she’s running again, and had faced a crowded field of Republican candidates. 

Davids, who represents Kansas’ 3rd district, ran unopposed in Tuesday’s Democratic primary.

She will go up against Amanda Adkins, former chairwoman of the Kansas GOP, in the November general election. The Republican primary was a race between five candidates.

Davids told Indian Country Today that every Republican candidate who ran said they would vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act, something she is opposed to.

(Related: All 4 Native candidates in Kansas win their primaries)

Davids says she has been campaigning through Zoom video calls and text and phone banking.

“The biggest thing and the most important thing to all of us has been making sure people are able to stay safe,” Davids said.

She estimates that many voters in Kansas have cast their ballots through advanced voting, a way to vote by mail. Her office has been helping constituents learn about voting by mail and finding where to drop off their ballots.

Much of Davids’ work in Congress has also included advocating for Indian Country.

In 2019, Davids presided over the House floor in a debate regarding amendments for the Violence Against Women’s Act.

The House passed an expanded version of the act including renewal of tribal provisions and new measures to improve data collection.

She has also advocated for increased participation of Native people in voting and running for office, something she believes will make a “huge impact” in 2020’s elections.

“The Native vote cannot be underestimated,” Davids said.

“We have the power to shift the dynamics of races, of the presidential and other races in states like Arizona, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota. There are so many places where the Native vote could literally shift the entire direction of a presidential campaign,” Davids said.

Davids has formally endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden for president.

Earlier this month, Indian Country Today published a story titled, “Want to win? Consider 3 Native women for vice president.”

Davids said the idea of a Native woman as vice president excited her.

“We’re seeing a new age of Native people really taking the reins in our state legislatures and in our federal government. And I'm looking forward to when we have more Native women serving in the House with us, some in the Senate, and then obviously yes, at some point as our vice presidential and presidential nominees.”

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Aliyah Chavez, Kewa Pueblo, is a reporter-producer at Indian Country Today's Phoenix Bureau. Follow her on Twitter: @aliyahjchavez or email her at achavez@indiancountrytoday.com

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