Alumni Profile: Paul Davis, Kansas representative

Political science internship led alum to leadership role in Kansas Legislature

Paul Davis

Today, on the chilly second Monday of January, a new legislative session for the 125 members of the Kansas House of Representatives began. One of the returning representatives may have never crossed the threshold of the Capitol without the College first igniting his interest in the government nearly two decades ago.

Representative Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, discovered his thirst for politics while at the University of Kansas as an undergraduate in political science. Davis now serves as the Kansas State House of Representatives minority leader and maintains a full-time law practice in downtown Lawrence.

While at KU, he participated in a legal internship program through the political science department, which he credits for introducing him to the political scene in Kansas.

“The legislative internship program that the political science department administers was a wonderful opportunity to see how the government worked first-hand, and that experience was just incredibly valuable to me,” Davis says. “Had I not had that experience I’m not sure I’d be doing what I’m doing today.”

Davis graduated from KU with a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1996. He went on to Washburn University, where he earned his law degree. Since then his political activity has progressed.

Davis joined the Kansas House of Representatives in 2003, landing him in his current position as the House minority leader. In that position, his political career came full-circle. Davis serves as the House counterpart to Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley – whom he worked for in his legislative internship while at KU.

In his legislative and legal professions, Davis now dedicates himself to bettering Douglas County and the rest of Kansas through his commitment to the political and legal process. Aside from his law practice and legislative duties, he finds time to serve on the Kansas Bar Association board of governors, remains active in bar association activities and participates in local community organizations, such as Leadership Lawrence.

“A lot of people think I’m over in Topeka all the time, or that I’m not practicing law,” Davis says. “But even during the legislative session I keep a practice going all the time. I’m very interested in maintaining the integrity of the judicial system and the legal profession.”

Davis said his time in the College definitively helped shape his career with real experience through the internship program and guidance of the political science department faculty.

“I had some outstanding professors at KU that really sparked my interest in government and politics,” Davis said.