Ever since the Kansas Republican party formed in 1859, it has dominated the state’s politics. After joining the Union 3 years later, Kansas sent 29 Republicans, 2 Populists, and only 3 Democrats to the Senate. Since 1932 Republicans have held both the state’s Senate seats making it unique in the nation. But in 2020, all that could change.
Dr. Barbara Bollier, currently a member of the Kansas State Senate, is a former moderate Republican who entered public service in 2009 with a focus on healthcare. Although the GOP held a large majority when she served first in the State House and later in the State Senate, Bollier often worked with Democrats, as she shared similar views on social issues and matters of law. Her commitment to Kansans over party ended Republican’s failed experiment of starving government, education, and public services through extreme tax cuts.
After 2016 the GOP’s exorbitantly conservative agenda and its fealty to Donald Trump increased Bollier’s disillusionment with the party. She had always been independent but repeatedly clashed with her GOP colleagues as they blocked her 7-year fight for Medicaid expansion and fought against women’s reproductive and gay rights. When they inserted “We believe God created two genders, male and female” into the GOP platform, that was the final straw.
In 2018 she changed her affiliation to the Democratic party, adding a 10th Democratic seat to the 40-seat state legislature. She explained:
Morally, the [Republican Party] is not going where my compass resides. I’m looking forward to being in a party that represents the ideals that I do, including Medicaid expansion and funding our K–12 schools.”
Bollier would be the first female physician elected to the Senate at a time we need strong leadership on public health and healthcare legislation. Her priorities include protecting Medicare and Medicaid from cuts, reducing prescription drug prices, ending surprise medical bills, and ensuring rural healthcare providers and facilities have enough personnel and financial stability.
At front of mind, though, are the federal response to Covid-19, providing a public option, and protecting the ACA. Like she did in the state legislature, Bollier believes that Congress needs to work together to increase testing and public health measures, shore up family’s and business pandemic-driven financial needs, fund public education, and address inequality.
This October Bollier told the Shawnee Mission Post, “It’s going to take historic action to get those plans in place.” She’s promised to work towards legislation with the same attitude she had in the state legislatures. “Compromise.” She added, “We have got to find common ground to get something passed.” Because of these attitudes, both Democrats and Republicans have endorsed Bollier.
On one issue, though, Bollier is uncompromising: women’s health care and abortion are private issues. She explained, “I have always supported keeping the physician-patient relationship private, particularly in this situation. Whether it’s abortion or taking hydroxychloroquine, it’s private. I trust women to make those decisions.” So do the majority of Americans.
VOTE Dr. Barbara Bollier for US SENATE!
Photo By Barbara Bollier CC BY 2.0 on Wikimedia Commons
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