The Parkwood Pool protest brought out more than 100 Kansas City, KS, community members rallying to keep the pool from closing. Yet, public attendance at Unified Government meetings and town halls, the places where difficult decisions are made, remain low.
“If you have that relationship with your representative and you’re informed, things like the Parkwood Pool don’t come as a surprise and we’re able to advocate for something different. We have to be on top of it,” said Andrew Davis, one of the candidates for District 8 County Commissioner.
District 8 covers part of central Wyandotte County, including Kansas City, Kansas Community College, Coronado Middle School and Brenner Heights Creek. The seat is currently held by Jane Philbrook who is running for reelection. Tscher Manck and Geoffrey Kump are also running for the seat.
The primary election is on Tues., Aug. 3, and the top two candidates in the primary will advance to the general election on Tues., Nov. 2.
Davis, who is studying public administration, with an emphasis on local government, has experience working on political campaigns and is currently interning in the city manager’s office in Lawrence. That experience is why Davis pushes for public involvement and awareness about what’s happening in local government.
One strategy Davis and a small group of his friends came up with to increase access to information was creating a Facebook group, Engage WyCo, to centralize important local government information.
The group, which they created in January, gives Wyandotte County citizens information about BPU and commission meetings, voting deadline dates and information about candidate forums.
“What we attempt to do is make more of that information available. A lot of people do not know when meetings are happening, where they can find the meetings, or what decisions are being made within these meetings,” Davis said. “There’s also lot of political misinformation and it’s my hope that Engage WyCo would help solve some of that.”
Some of his priorities for Wyandotte County, if he’s elected, are encouraging local entrepreneurship, keeping citizens from moving away from KCK, creating a UG Youth Advisory Board and creating legislation for fair development.
Davis is looking at creating a platform for people who are planning to move out of Wyandotte County to talk about why they want to leave and come up with solutions.
“If we don’t hear from people as to why they’re leaving and come up with solutions, we’re going to be in trouble,” Davis said. “We’re losing families and tax payers.”
Davis also wants to create more opportunities for youth involvement in local government, including creating a UG Youth Advisory Board modeled after the Mayor’s Youth Council in Wichita.
“When we empower them to come up with local solutions, they can then take that to college, to trade school, that first job. They can take that experience and start their own business. We need more opportunities here,” he said.
ONE OF THE YOUNGEST CANDIDATES
At 25 years old, Davis is one of the youngest candidates running for a county commissioner seat, but he says his age and political experience actually set him apart.
“There have been folks that have said that because I’m young, I don’t have enough experience. I think historically that is not accurate,” he said, pointing to the youngest presidents Barack Obama and John F. Kennedy and the youngest woman to become a congresswoman, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez.
“Those are people that I look up to and that I take pieces of what they do and how they advocate, and use that in my work. We’re seeing a lot of young folks like myself step up to the plate,” he said.
As a young candidate, he encourages other young people interested in local government to attend meetings, read the budget and stay informed.
“We need young people, Millennials and Generation Z to have the audacity to lead now, not to wait,” Davis said.
To learn more about Andrew Davis, visit his website: www.AndrewDavisforug.org/andrew-davis-platforms.
Upcoming Candidate Forums for August Primary
Forums hosted by: League of Women Voters of Johnson County, Mainstream Coalition, Advocacy and Awareness Group of Johnson County, Mid-America LGBTQ Chamber, ACLU Kansas, Dotte Votes, Safe and Welcoming Wyandotte
UG Board of Commissioners Forum: July 20 at 4:30 p.m. via Zoom. Register here: https://us02web.zoom.us/…/reg…/WN_x2Y1oLNORuZi0zxxOoOAA.
Mayor/CEO Forum: July 20 at 6:30 p.m. via Zoom. Register here: https://us02web.zoom.us/…/reg…/WN_iy38enS2Sx270yrYJVKbCA.
Sheriff Forum: July 21 at 5:30 p.m. via Zoom. Register here: https://us02web.zoom.us/…/reg…/WN_ cCE0OANQQg6jflQTIM9G_A.