Kansas New Members 2019

Kansas New Members 2019

Rep.-elect Steve Watkins (R-Kan.-02) 

DATE OF BIRTH: Sept. 18, 1976
RESIDENCE: Topeka, Kan.
OCCUPATION: Former military
EDUCATION: B.S., U.S. Military Academy; M.S., Massachusetts Institute of Technology; M.P.A, Harvard University
FAMILY: Wife, Fong Liu


Sixth-generation Kansan Steve Watkins is keeping the state’s 2nd Congressional District red. Watkins won the seat held by retiring Rep. Lynn JenkinsLynn Haag JenkinsFormer GOP Rep. Costello launches lobbying shop Kansas Republican dropping Senate bid to challenge GOP rep Anti-corruption group hits Congress for ignoring K Street, Capitol Hill 'revolving door' MORE (R-Kan.).

He defeated six other challengers in a primary battle for a district Trump carried by 19 points in 2016. But the general election fight against Democrat Paul Davis narrowed, with many outlets calling it a toss-up, before Watkins held on for victory.

Watkins is coming to Congress after a long military career, which started when he attended West Point. He served in both Afghanistan and Iraq and earned the rank of captain.

After his service in the Army, he worked as an independent contractor throughout the Middle East and Central Asia.

Among his personal pursuits, Watkins attempted to climb Mt. Everest in 2015. But tragedy struck during the ascent when a massive earthquake hit, killing 22 people on the mountain.

That same year, he completed the 1,000-mile Iditarod race across Alaska.



Rep.-elect Sharice Davids (D-Kan.-03)

DATE OF BIRTH: May 22, 1980
RESIDENCE: Shawnee, Kan.
EDUCATION: B.A., University of Missouri-Kansas City; J.D., Cornell Law School
FAMILY: Single

Democrat Sharice Davids is making history as one of the first Native American women in Congress. She is also the first openly LGBT lawmaker in Kansas’s congressional delegation.

Davids pulled off a big upset, unseating four-term Republican Rep. Kevin YoderKevin Wayne YoderFeehery: How Republicans can win back the suburbs K Street giants scoop up coveted ex-lawmakers Kansas Senate race splits wide open without Pompeo MORE in Kansas’s 3rd District. The suburban Kansas City-area district was a key target for Democrats. The district had voted for Republican presidential candidates in 2008 and 2012 but backed Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonImpeachment hearings don't move needle with Senate GOP GOP divided over impeachment trial strategy 'Too Far Left' hashtag trends on Twitter MORE by a single point in 2016.

Davids is used to tough fights, having been a mixed martial arts fighter before entering the political ring. She had a 1-1 record as a professional.

She’s also worked as a lawyer and in 2016 was a White House fellow in the Department of Transportation.


Rep. Ron EstesRonald (Ron) Gene EstesPompeo expected to visit Kansas on Thursday Congress must enact greater taxpayer protections Democrat Raul Ruiz challenged by Republican with the same name in California race MORE (R-Kan.-04) 

DATE OF BIRTH: July 19, 1956
RESIDENCE: Wichita, Kan.
EDUCATION: B.S., M.B.A., Tennessee Technological University
FAMILY: Wife, Susan; three children

Rep. Ron Estes is returning to Congress for his first full term. Estes was first elected to the House in 2017 in a special election after Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoImpeachment battle looms over must-pass defense bill Five takeaways from ex-ambassador's dramatic testimony Pompeo: No US response ruled out in Hong Kong MORE left Congress to serve as CIA director.

Estes faced an unexpectedly tough challenge from Democratic candidate James Thompson, a civil rights attorney, before winning.

In 2018, Estes’s primary drew national attention when he faced a challenge from a candidate with a similar name: Ron M. Estes. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, though, allowed Estes to use his title “Rep.” to help distinguish between the two Republicans. Rep. Estes went on to defeat Thompson in a general election rematch.

Estes was born in Topeka and is a fifth-generation Kansan. Before politics, he worked in the manufacturing industry.

He first entered political life when he was elected Sedgwick County treasurer in 2004. In 2010, he won statewide office as Kansas’s treasurer, a post he held until joining Congress.