Republican U.S. House candidate Amanda Adkins sees 2022 as her year to defeat incumbent Democratic Rep. Sharice Davids in Kansas’ 3rd Congressional district.
The district looks significantly different from the one Davids defeated Adkins for en route to winning in 2020. While it once contained all of Johnson and Wyandotte counties, it now encompasses the more-rural counties of Miami, Franklin and Anderson in their entirety.
To the north, the county of Wyandotte has been cut in half along Interstate 70, removing a section of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area from the district.
The redraw has largely aided Republicans, with the addition of rural conservative voters in the south and the removal of urban liberal voters in the north.
For KCUR’s daily news podcast Kansas City Today, Brian Ellison recently spoke with both Sharice Davids and Amanda Adkins about their priorities ahead of the Nov. 8 election.
Here is his conversation with Adkins, a former Cerner executive, about about what issues she’s focusing on in the final months of her campaign, how she will reconcile her anti-abortion views with a constituency that has been shown to strongly favor reproductive rights.
The Post republished KCUR’s interview with Davids on Wednesday.
KCUR interview with Amanda Adkins
This interview has been edited for clarity.
Brian Ellison: What are you hearing from voters as their top issues?
Amanda Atkins: I find when I’m out talking to voters that there really are two key issues that are top of mind for people. First, in general, the economy, and inflation is the first thing always cited by people.
The reason is at 8.5%, an average household in the 3rd congressional district right now, they’re suffering. They’re paying, roughly, an extra $6,000 per year for the just cost of goods and services. So that’s a really big problem for people.
In addition to that, earlier this week, I was down at the Southern border in Texas, and I hear from people a lot that they’re very worried about border security, national security, and the implications for crime and drugs coming into this community. So that’s the second thing that comes up consistently.
If you become part of a Republican majority in the House of Representatives, what legislation would you advance?
Amanda Atkins: Let’s talk about some of the causes of inflation in this country. Even a liberal, left wing economist like Larry Summers had told president Biden, and leaders like Sharice Davids, that too much reckless federal spending would contribute to inflation.
One of the big starting points was the American Rescue Plan in the spring of 2021. Sharice Davids voted for it. They were given advanced warning that it would contribute to inflation.
You see where we’re at today, $6,000 per household in extra costs for goods and services, which is a lot of money for most families. My commitment to the people in the 3rd congressional district always is limited government.
I commit to reducing the deficit. The Republican Study Committee has a plan to completely reduce the deficit within five years. I absolutely support that. I would be a member of the Republican Study Committee. I also think that we need to commit to the American people on getting to a balanced budget in general, in this country. We haven’t seen a surplus since, I think, 2001.
What would you not spend money on that we’re spending money on now? What would you cut?
Amanda Atkins: First of all, the commitment that I make is I believe strongly that the federal government should be focusing and investing in areas that are enumerated in the constitution as being a core responsibility of government. Obviously, national security, the military or national defense being one of the most important areas. The Republican Study Committee plan included cuts on all sides.
One of the things is an example that they pointed to on the discretionary side. There are a whole bunch of new regulations that have been introduced in the part of the Biden administration that could be rolled back that would contribute significantly to cutting overall government expenses.
Amanda Atkins: I’ll give you a recent example of something that was recently passed that I can assure you has been very unpopular here. The so-called Inflation Reduction Act has in it a lot of additional and new funding for the IRS.
Another topic that’s been very much on the minds of a lot of Kansas voters is abortion and abortion rights. You have identified as “very pro-life.” Should voters in Kansas, the majority of whom say they support abortion rights, be taking that into account when they cast their ballot in this election?
Amanda Atkins: I am a pro-life candidate. At this point are we’re in a very different time period with the Dobbs decision that was made by the U.S. Supreme Court to give decision-making related to abortion and abortion policy back to the states. That decision has been made. From my perspective it is no longer a federal issue.
For that reason, I would not be in support of a congressional ban on abortion. I think the decision making needs to happen here at the state level. We already have visited that issue here in our primary.
Most people that I talk to say that is not the issue that comes up. What comes up are issues related to daily experience, families suffering, inflation rate, concerns about security, and, in general, the future of the country.
KCUR 89.3 is Kansas City’s NPR affiliate public radio station. You can read and listen to more of their reporting at kcur.org.