The Recast chats with Rep. Sharice Davids about the parallels between cage fighting and politics, and why she’s confident about the passage of the sprawling Democratic-led election reform bill the For the People Act
. And then here [on Capitol Hill] its transportation and infrastructure — it’s like OK, I get to have T&Ihearing today. So there are some things where you end up getting a little more focused, but the fundamentals always have to be there.Rep. Sharice Davids training. Davids is a former professional mixed martial arts fighter. | Courtesy of Sharice Davids' office
THE RECAST:So what are some of your weaknesses as a politician?REP. DAVIDS:When I first started doing interviews, I didn’t realize how nervous I would get because it wasn't like talking transportation and infrastructure policy in a group of people who are all infrastructure nerds.
In MMA, I was more of a counter-puncher and so oftentimes I would find myself waiting instead of being more aggressive and in the cage. But yeah, for here, it’s probably that sort of thing. I imagine any member of Congress probably finds themselves learning to practice patience a lot more. I got to be part of this amazing freshman class where a ton of us came from “nontraditional backgrounds” for Congress. And I think what ends up happening is, even if logically you know real long-term systemic change is going to take time, it’s still a very different thing to experience it. For the People Act was like literally one of the very first bills I voted on. And here we are, two years later or whatever it is, and it’s a little further along, it’s in the Senate. I’m feeling more optimistic this time around, after passing it out of the House that we’ll actually see the Senate pass it. headtopics.com
So I think that’s probably just recognizing that we have to have stick-to-itiveness especially for the people who are the nontraditional-path people.Rep. Sharice Davids speaks with a man in uniform at a 2019 Veteran’s Day event. | Courtesy of Sharice Davids' office
THE RECAST:Obviously it was a big week for the bill. We had hours upon hours of markup in the Senate Rules Committee. Now it seems like the future of the bill is really unclear in the upper chamber because Senator Manchin is sort of dashing hopes of getting this passed. What gives you so much confidence that there is a willingness in the upper chamber to do something with the bill?
REP. DAVIDS:I think that there's a couple of things that make me feel that way. One is the broad support that this bill has with people, regardless of if they voted for me or specifically in the 3rd District. Support for getting big money out of politics, making sure that all eligible voters are able to cast their ballot and have it counted [are popular]. And you've got to remember that I’m from Kansas, the home of the Koch brothers and Kris Kobach [former Kansas secretary of state].
I think that the urgency of trying to address things that literally cut to the heart of our democracy, that is an area that has broad support. It feels like the momentum is there, and I think it’s because we have a president now who will sign the bill. headtopics.com
THE RECAST:The biggest item here is obviously getting this bill passed would benefit you and your reelection. Because part of this bill too would do away with the partisan gerrymandering of districts. Republicans in your home district are already openly talking about redrawing your lines. What are the prospects of getting this passed to really in time to help you in your reelection next year?
REP. DAVIDS:It’s an interesting framing, I guess. This actually touches on that fundamental concept that I was talking about earlier. By me focusing all my energy on being the best representative I can, on making sure that I'm bringing the biggest issues or areas of concern, advocating for my district when I'm out here in D.C., those are the things that I think have the biggest impact on whether or not I continue to have the privilege of serving the 3rd District.
Rep. Sharice Davids at the 2018 Women’s March in Topeka, Kansas. | Courtesy of Sharice Davids' officeI certainly think that getting the For the People Act passed is something that people in the 3rd District will be glad to see. I think that people will be glad to see that I supported it from the beginning. I think at the end of the day, if we have nonpartisan, really, truly representative districts, I think that just that benefits all of our communities. If people really have representatives who are listening to them that the people chose and not the other way around ... because that’s what the Kansas GOP is talking about.
They’re literally out there saying, I feel like they’re out there saying, “If you can’t beat them, cheat them.”⧫⧫⧫Hey there, it’s been ... quite the week. We have some leadership changes among Republicans. Democrats raised questions about the direction of big-ticket legislative items. And the CDC said if you’re fully vaxxed, you can ditch the mask in most cases. Before we toss to the duo of Rishika and Teresa for our weekend to-dos, we’ve got some housekeeping notes and announcements. headtopics.com
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