In Kansas 3rd District, Sharice Davids is the right choice for Congress

Tuesday’s elections are the most important in decades. Much is at stake, including the nation’s commitment to its most important ideals: equality, tolerance, free expression and community.

In the Kansas 3rd District, Democrat Sharice Davids is the voters’ best choice to uphold these values.

Davids has never held elective office. What she lacks in experience, though, she more than makes up for with intelligence and thoughtfulness. She does not believe she has all the answers to every problem facing the country, but she is willing to listen and to think through potential solutions, rare qualities in contemporary politics.

That approach will serve the 3rd District well.

Davids believes the U.S. should require insurance companies to offer coverage at a reasonable cost to patients with pre-existing medical conditions. She thinks Medicaid coverage should be expanded in every state. She wants to improve Obamacare, not repeal it.

Davids thinks taxes should be reduced for those with lower incomes and believes more tax cuts for the wealthy are unnecessary and counterproductive. She says federal law should prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Despite what you’ve heard, she does not support eliminating Immigration and Customs Enforcement. But she does think immigration laws should be improved, and she supports providing eventual citizenship for young children brought to the U.S. by immigrant parents.

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In some cases, Davids has not provided as many policy details as we would have liked. But voters should focus keenly on her judgment and approach. And to her credit, the former White House fellow and Cornell Law School graduate is more interested in understanding the substance of policy than just repeating Democratic talking points.

There’s one other reason Davids is the choice for 3rd District voters. His name is Donald Trump.

The first two years of the president’s term have been the most disruptive in memory. Trump has a reasonably good economic story to tell, yet he has chosen to bury that narrative in an avalanche of lies, tweets, accusations and incendiary claims.

The 3rd District, which includes Johnson and Wyandotte counties, is familiar with the tragic consequences of divisive, intolerant rhetoric. Sadly, the president refuses to learn those lessons.

Many of his regulatory reforms threaten the health and safety of Americans. His order to send troops to the U.S. border to stop immigrants with asylum claims is provocative, dangerous and politically motivated. His lack of understanding of the most basic facts about America’s government is appalling.

Electing Davids as a Democrat will help provide a check on Trump’s most egregiously out-of-bounds conduct.

We wish Rep. Kevin Yoder, the Republican incumbent, could have provided that check.

The four-term congressman has shown a commendable willingness to work on issues important to his district, including immigration reform for highly-skilled workers, electronic privacy, public safety and early childhood education.

He met with The Star’s editorial board and showed a firm mastery of policy and legislative details. In another time, we might have supported his re-election. We have endorsed him before.

But this is not a normal time. Trump’s destruction of democratic norms must be countered by the Congress, as the Founders envisioned. Yoder, given every opportunity to be that check, has refused to separate himself from the White House on all but a couple of occasions.

There are other concerns. Yoder’s defense of the payday loan industry is deeply troubling, and appears to be motivated by campaign donations. His stated support for pre-existing conditions health coverage rings hollow after repeated votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

He has rarely held town hall meetings with constituents. In this rough-and-tumble campaign, he has sometimes misled voters about Davids’ policy positions.

His inconsistent positions on immigration reform are too typical of his party. In the only debate of the campaign, Yoder suggested the Environmental Protection Agency is “destructive,” a claim that should worry anyone concerned about clean air and water.

These positions make Davids the better choice for this district.

The Kansas 3rd District is changing. Younger residents, many with children, understand the importance of government — they value quality schools and roads, public safety, community growth. They want and expect a government that works for everyone.

Electing Sharice Davids to Congress will send a powerful signal to America that Kansans are tolerant, inclusive and thoughtful. She is the best candidate to represent her district, and to help move Congress and this country in the right direction.

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Members of The Star’s editorial board spent dozens of hours interviewing and reporting on candidates for office in Missouri and Kansas to provide informed analysis of the people who want to represent you. Learn more about the endorsement process here.

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