Current State Senator and East alum Barbara Bollier (D-KS-7) announced a campaign for U.S. Senate Wednesday morning.
Bollier served as a Repulican in the Kansas House of Representatives from 2010-2016 and was elected senator of the seventh district in 2017. But last year, she announced she was leaving the Republican party and continuing as a Democrat.
The campaign is pursuing the Class II Senate spot left open after Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) announced his retirement and withdrawal from the 2020 senatorial election cycle. Roberts held the Class II slot since 1996.
Bollier emphasized her background as an anesthesiologist. She also mentioned her father’s career as a doctor and her mother’s as a nurse, and how they influenced her to help people both in medicine and politics.
In her campaign launch video, Bollier referenced partisan politics in Washington as the paramount issue: it spreads “like an illness” and causes problems on both a statewide and national scale, she said.
“People losing friendships over politics, family members who can’t talk to one another, it’s not in our nature to be divided,” Bollier said in the video. “We are a state of families.”
Bollier also referenced former KS Governor Sam Brownback — in office from 2011-2018 — specifically voting no on his tax experiment that tested the Constitutionality of school funding and cut KS school spending to a record low. When Brownback was governor, Bollier pushed for an increase of actual base state aid per pupil, which is the amount of money allotted to each student in Kansas, as a Republican.
I became a doctor to help people. And I went into public service to fix things that were broken. I’m running to be your next US Senator to do both. We can win this race, but not without your help. Will you join our team? https://t.co/R2SLwrvfIl#ksleg#kssenpic.twitter.com/YKnSVPqTlE
— Barbara Bollier (@BollierBarbara) October 16, 2019
Now, as a “pragmatic Democrat,” Bollier is running on the premise of setting partisan labels aside and focusing on the issues.
“Doctors don’t see patients as Democrats or Republicans,” Bollier said in the video. “It’s our responsibility to look you in the eye and show you respect, honesty, to care for you and to care about you.”
Announced candidates for the Democratic nomination include former prosecutor Barry Grissom, former U.S. Marine Elliott Adams, Mayor Pro Tem of Manhattan Usha Reddi and retired court services officer Robert Tillman. Republican Kris Kobach — who lost the election for KS Governor with 43.0 percent of votes to current KS Governor Laura Kelly, who won with 48.0 percent — has announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination, along with five other candidates.