Rep. Davids addresses growing threat of fentanyl

Rep. Sharice Davids with local, state, and federal law enforcement officers during her fentanyl summit in August. (Photo from Rep. Davids’ office)

U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, D-3rd Dist., took several actions recently to curb the growing threat of fentanyl, the number one cause of overdose death in the United States.

In August, Rep. Davids held a summit with local, state, and federal law enforcement on the challenges they face handling the fentanyl epidemic. The actions announced this week are a direct response to what she learned during that conversation.

“When I hosted a summit with law enforcement on the rising threat of fentanyl, I committed to working with them to fight this crisis head-on,” Rep. Davids said in a news release. “The actions I am taking today are a continuation of that promise, but we still have a long way to go. I am grateful for our local law enforcement officials and will continue working to ensure they have the resources needed to keep our communities safe.”

“The procurement of naloxone kits for law enforcement would greatly benefit the people of Overland Park, as well as adding an extra layer of protection for the men and women of the Overland Park Police Department who are on the front lines battling this fentanyl epidemic,” said Frank Donchez, chief of police, city of Overland Park.

During the summit, law enforcement expressed concern over the high cost of purchasing and handling naloxone kits, a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved medication designed to rapidly reverse opioid overdose. Street-level personnel who work in pairs are often issued a single dose each to administer for multiple overdoses, and these kits are often stored in vehicles, risking their effectiveness due to irregular temperatures. In response, Davids urged the U.S. House Appropriations Committee to increase the availability and affordability of this life-saving medication.

Following the summit, Davids also cosponsored two pieces of legislation aimed at fighting the fentanyl epidemic. First, she signed onto the Protecting Kids from Fentanyl Act, a bipartisan bill aimed at allowing schools to use leftover COVID-19 relief dollars to purchase naloxone and provide related training to students and teachers. She also sponsored the Integrating New Technologies to Empower Law Enforcement at Our Borders Act, a bipartisan bill to enhance security at northern and southern borders through researching and employing new technologies.

Summit attendees included leadership from the Overland Park, Olathe, and Kansas City, Kansas, Police Departments, as well the Kansas Highway Patrol, Kansas Bureau of Investigation, and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Davids recently met with Libby Davis, a Johnson County resident, whose son died last year after taking a counterfeit pill that was unknowingly laced with fentanyl. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 80-100 times stronger than morphine and is increasingly found in fake prescription pills such as Vicodin, OxyContin, or hydrocodone. Following their meeting, Davids co-sponsored and helped pass legislation through the House that creates a public awareness campaign about synthetic opioids through the Department of Health and Human Services.

Community members looking to learn more about how to keep their families safe can visit FirstCallKC,, a local organization working to reduce the impact of alcohol, drugs, and addiction in the Kansas City area. Resources and prevention services for individuals, families, schools and others are available on their website.

Adkins taps into anxiety of IRS audit surge, criticizes Kansas Democrats’ focus on abortion

Davids challenges Adkins’ position on abortion, link to Brownback

by Tim Carpenter, Kansas Reflector

Shawnee — Republican congressional candidate Amanda Adkins argued staff increases at the Internal Revenue Service would trigger more audits of middle- and low-income Kansans rather than target extremely wealthy individuals or companies suspected of cheating on federal taxes.

Adkins, who is challenging Democratic U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids in the 3rd District, said during a news conference Monday potential voters attending her campaign events were rattled by allocation of $80 billion over the next decade to improve IRS customer service, upgrade computer systems and bolster enforcement.

“They view the action as the IRS is going to be out there to get all of us,” said Adkins, who claimed Kansans’ fears were justified. “The belief system of people in this district … is the federal government is coming after me. I’ve heard it over and over.”

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jane Yellen directed new funding to the IRS be used to raise audit rates for Americans making more than $400,000 per year, Bloomberg Tax reported. In addition, the treasury department said new IRS employees hired under the expansion program would concentrate on “high-income and corporate tax evaders.”

Adkins used her event to endorse the “Commitment to America” policy blueprint released by U.S. House Republicans. It outlined how a GOP-led House would approach the economy, public safety, government accountability and other issues.

Under the plan lauded by Adkins, one of the top priorities of GOP House leaders would be repeal of appropriations for more staff at the IRS.

Davids defeated Adkins by 10 percentage points in 2020, but the Legislature gerrymandered the 3rd District to eliminate half of Wyandotte County and add Miami, Franklin and Anderson counties to the district. The redrawn map retained vote-rich Johnson County, which rejected an abortion amendment to the Kansas Constitution 174,900 votes to 79,800 votes in August.

The U.S. House is led by Democrats, who hold 221 seats to Republicans’ 212, with two vacancies. The balance of power could shift in the November election if Democrats lost a handful of seats.

Abortion ‘misread’

In response to a question, Adkins said she was opposed to a federal ban on abortion but would work to support legislation in Kansas or elsewhere to reduce abortion in the United States. The issue took on heightened importance in 2022 elections after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade to sever the national constitutional right to abortion.

“Everything changed with the Supreme Court decision to reverse Roe,” said Adkins, who put opposition to abortion at the forefront of her campaigns in 2020 and 2022. “I’ve said the federal government should not focus on a ban.”

In August, Kansas voters defeated by more than 172,000 votes an amendment to the Kansas Constitution that would nullify a Kansas Supreme Court opinion the document gave women the right to bodily autonomy and abortion.

Passage of the amendment could have opened a path to adoption of further state restrictions on the right to abortion, including a prohibition without exceptions for rape or incest.

Adkins expressed doubt abortion policy would be a significant issue in her Nov. 8 showdown with Davids.

“It is a misread on the part of the Democrats to think that this is the issue that is driving people,” Adkins said.

On the record

Ellie Turner, spokeswoman for Davids’ campaign for reelection, said Adkins was on record as endorsing a platform banning abortions without exception in the United States.

“That is wildly out of step with voters in the Kansas 3rd, who came out in record numbers to reject exactly that type of extremism in August — and who will do it again in November,” Turner said.

Davids released a television commercial on broadcast, cable and satellite TV emphasizing Adkins’ “100%” support for the state abortion amendment rejected by three-fifths of Kansas voters. The ad pointed to Adkins’ endorsement of a GOP conservative group’s policy agenda that included bills eliminating abortion rights on a national basis.

The commercial referenced a National Right to Life organization staff member’s view that a 10-year-old rape victim ought to be compelled to give birth. Adkins is endorsed by the organization’s state chapter, Kansans for Life.

Davids’ campaign also pushed back on the attempt by Adkins to distance herself from unpopular former Gov. Sam Brownback, who was governor from 2011 to 2018.

Adkins served as a campaign manager for Brownback, led the Kansas Republican Party and was appointed by Brownback to lead the Kansas Children’s Cabinet, but Adkins said she never earned a state government paycheck while serving the Brownback administration.

She said Democrats didn’t want to acknowledge her career at Cerner, a health information technology company.

“Amanda Adkins shaped, supported, and celebrated Sam Brownback’s disastrous policies for almost two decades, working at his side even when it meant Kansas kids suffered,” said Turner, Davids’ spokeswoman. “A record like that is not something you can brush off, especially when Kansans are still recovering from the harm Brownback and his allies did to our state.”

GOP objectives

In terms of the House GOP’s “Commitment to America,” Adkins said it was important to build more wall and surveillance towers on the border with Mexico to deter drug smugglers and human trafficking. She said the United States had to expand oil and gas production and renew interest in nuclear power, which she labeled the “cleanest form of energy.”

Kansans are most concerned about price inflation and the need to restrain “reckless” federal spending embraced by President Joe Biden, Adkins said.

In terms of education policy, Adkins said Congress ought to let states determine content of a parental bill of rights that would increase transparency about what and how children were taught.

“There’s no reason why that dialogue can’t happen within a trusted relationship between a parent and a teacher and it should happen,” Adkins said.

Kansas Reflector stories,, may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.

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Rep. Davids, Torres-Small announce up to $45 million to dairy farming climate initiatives

Rep. Sharice Davids and Under Secretary Xochitl Torres Small received a briefing from Dairy Farmers of America Friday in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo from Rep. Davids’ office)

U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids joined Xochitl Torres Small, U.S. Department of Agriculture under secretary for rural development, to announce USDA has awarded up to $45 million to Dairy Farmers of America.

Headquartered in Kansas City, Kansas, DFA will use this funding to implement a new, climate-smart initiative to help Kansas farmers and consumers reduce emissions and access sustainably produced dairy products.

“Farmers and ranchers are among those most affected by floods, droughts, or heat waves, which have all become more severe due to climate change,” Rep. Davids said Friday at the announcement. “This new funding for Dairy Farmers of America will not only help produce dairy products in a climate-friendly manner, but also open new markets for Kansas producers to ensure we can feed the world for generations to come.”

“Hardworking dairy farmers are vital to our food security and our nation’s security when it comes to tackling climate change,” said USDA Under Secretary Xochitl Torres Small. “That’s why President Biden, Vice President Harris and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack are investing in projects that will expand markets for climate-smart commodities. USDA is proud to partner with Dairy Farmers of America and Congresswoman Davids to be there for dairy farmers who want to develop and sell low-carbon milk products.”

“Dairy farmers have been working on continuous improvement of the environment long before it became a concern for others. It’s how farmers think, and it is core to who we are,” said Randy Mooney, a dairy farmer and chairman of DFA’s Board of Directors. “I am proud to be part of a Cooperative that adds value to its member-owners by making the adoption of sustainability practices more accessible, which will ultimately help evolve the development of low-carbon dairy products that consumers are demanding. We look forward to working with USDA, Undersecretary Torres Small and Rep. Davids, the newest member of the House Agriculture Committee, on this and other initiatives that support America’s dairy farmers and the rural communities in which we live and work.”

This new DFA project aims to lower global carbon emissions of the dairy market by decreasing individual, on-farm greenhouse gases. Through collaboration with additional business partners, DFA will work to ensure the financial benefits of climate-smart farming are felt by the local farmers and ranchers, establishing a powerful, self-sustaining, green economy benefiting U.S. agriculture, including underserved producers.

Last week, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced USDA is investing up to $2.8 billion in 70 selected projects, including DFA’s project announced today, under the first pool of the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities funding opportunity. This effort will expand markets for America’s climate-smart commodities, leverage the greenhouse gas benefits of climate-smart commodity production, and provide direct, meaningful benefits to production agriculture, including for small and underserved producers.

Rep. Davids, who was recently named a “Friend of the Farm Bureau,” is the newest member of the House Agricultural Committee which oversees USDA and has jurisdiction over all aspects of agriculture, forestry, nutrition, water conservation, and other agriculture-related fields. Rep. Davids, 3rd District, serves on the committee alongside Rep. Tracey Mann, 1st District, as they prepare to consider the 2023 Farm Bill, a package of legislation passed about every five years that includes several critically important agriculture, conservation, nutrition, and trade programs.

  • Story from Rep. Davids’ office