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The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

‘Be brave’: Shelia Davis runs for mayor, plans to tackle homelessness, other issues

Mia Hennen

Mayoral candidate Shelia Davis wears many different hats; She’s a student, NAACP member, a local volunteer, and a business owner. Now, she’s running for mayor of Wichita.

Davis is originally from Jonesboro, Arkansas; Burbank, California; and Davenport, Iowa. Despite not being a Wichita native, the mayoral candidate said she likes the city and Wichita State University, where she occasionally attends classes. She’s also a student at Butler Community College.

Davis has always been interested in running for public office.

“I had a roommate who didn’t let me do certain things,” Davis said. “I said, ‘When I hit 50, I’m going to do everything I was told I couldn’t do.’”

Telling herself to “be brave,” Davis went down to the Sedgwick County Election Office to declare her candidacy.

Danielle Thomas, a friend of Davis, has known the mayoral candidate for 38 years, since they were 12. Thomas said she tried to boost Davis’ confidence.

“I told her when there was some people mistreating her to ‘Speak up for yourself,’” Thomas said. “Since then, that kind of spurred something in her so she’s always, since that time, spoke up for herself and really tried to make change for others for the better.”

This isn’t Davis’ first time running for an elected position. During her time in Iowa, she ran for a school board.

If elected as mayor, some of Davis’ top priorities include:

  • Creating a 24-hour homeless/family center
  • Starting self-esteem programs
  • Legalizing recreational marijuana in Wichita
  • Raising pay for teachers
  • Creating a four-day school week, with Friday off
  • Park parties that bring the police and family together

Davis said having police officers and community members interact would help both parties “get along.”

“I would have community meetings where the city and the police could have picnics with the community, where they’re not allowed to talk about politics,” she said. “They would have to interact … They would have to talk to each other and get along.”

Davis talked about volunteering in the community. 

“Sometimes I go talk to the homeless, just see how they’re doing,” Davis said. “Or I go clean up the park. One day … I cleaned up the park there was glass everywhere … If I had kids, I wouldn’t want them playing in a dirty park.”

Davis said she and another community member picked up glass for about half an hour, and she later saw a man and a child, who had no shoes on, in the park.

“That’s why I just picked up glass,” Davis said. 

Thomas said she and Davis used to volunteer in the community for a few different groups, like United Neighbors Youth Group.

“We were always doing things like clean sweeps and cleaning up the neighborhoods on Saturdays,” Thomas said.

Seven other candidates are running for mayor as well. Davis said she likes everyone that’s running, and even has a sign for another candidate in her yard.

“I’m a people person,” Davis said. “I wish there was a way that we could all get in, just share our ideals and take turns.”

Davis also mentioned liking Celeste Racette, saying “she’s very knowledgeable.”

Davis plans to build her homeless/family center regardless of if she wins. She said she also plans to share her ideas with whoever is elected.

Thomas said Davis is a “good person to have in office.”

“She’s pretty honest and loves to serve the people and do what’s best for everyone,” Thomas said.

According to KMUW, the seven other candidates running for mayor are Jared Cerullo, Bryan Frye, Julie Rose Stroud, Tom Kane, Racette, Brandon Whipple and Lily Wu. The Wichita Eagle outlines how to vote in the Aug. 1 primary here. Mayoral elections are on Nov. 7. To find more information on Davis, visit her Facebook.

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About the Contributor
Mia Hennen
Mia Hennen, Copy Editor
Mia Hennen is the copy editor for The Sunflower. Most recently, Hennen served as editor-in-chief for the 2023-2024 year. A senior English major, Hennen will graduate in May 2025 and hopes to pursue a career in journalism.

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