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Davids Talks Health Care, Guns And The Wall At First Town Hall Meeting In Olathe

Sam Zeff
KCUR 89.3

Hundreds of people packed an Olathe, Kansas, church on Sunday afternoon to hear from newly elected Rep. Sharice Davids at a town hall.

Davids had promised regular town halls during her campaign for the 1st Congressional District against former Rep. Kevin Yoder. People want to interact with their representatives, she said.

“Not just to hear from their representative but to be able to ask the questions and voice their opinions and their ideas and their concerns,” Davids said after Sunday's event.

Yoder last held a town hall in August 2017. That event was sponsored by the Kansas City Star and limited to 200 people. The Davids’ town hall was open to the public although her congressional office did ask for RSVPs.

The overwhelmingly friendly crowd cheered as Davids talked about finding a way to provide health care for everyone (although she said she is not ready to sign onto a Medicare for all plan just yet), advocating for tougher background checks for gun buyers and refusing to provide money for a wall along the U.S. southern border.

There were scattered boos from a few supporters of President Trump when she voiced her opposition to the wall.

Although even conservatives in the audience were pleased Davids was in the district holding a town hall. “Our representatives should definitely keep in contact with the people that they represent,” said Maurine McLellan from Stilwell who was wearing a Make America Great Again hat.

She even found herself agreeing with Davids on one issue: “I am glad she is not committed to the single-payer insurance. I did not like that she is opposed to a wall and protecting U.S. citizens.”

The 3 p.m. town hall started just as the U.S. Department of Justice released its summary of the Mueller report. Davids said after the town hall that she hadn't had time to read the summary.

“The only thing I can say for sure is that I do think that the report needs to be made fully public," she said. "Not just the summery but the entire actual report.”

Even though the Mueller report was breaking news, the audience didn't seem interested. The vast majority of questions were about health care and immigration.

“Over this last few months I haven’t been getting asked much about it (the Mueller report) and I think it’s because people are so concerned about some of the other issues,” Davids said.

Correction: The original story incorrectly reported when Kevin Yoder last held a town hall. The story has since been corrected.

Sam Zeffis KCUR's metro reporter. You can follow Sam on Twitter @samzeff

You deserve to know what your taxpayer dollars are paying for and what public officials are doing on your behalf – I’ll work to report on irresponsible government spending in the Kansas City area and shed light on controversies that slow government down. And when you hear my voice in the morning, you know you’re getting everything you need to start your day. Email me at sam@kcur.org, find me on Twitter @samzeff or call me at 816-235-5004.
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