Additional reading: Our one pager on the Kansas Senate election.
A former anesthesiologist and involved community volunteer, there are a few central motifs in Dr. Barbara Bollier’s political career: advocating for strong public schools, a commitment to achieving affordable healthcare, real fiscal responsibility, and a passion for protecting the rights of all Kansans, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender identity, or sexual orientation. As an experienced medical doctor -- she’d be the first-ever female physician elected to the Senate -- Dr. Bollier will work to secure affordable healthcare for all Americans. As a state legislator, she’s fought year after year to expand KanCare, Kansas’ Medicaid program, which would serve 130,000 more Kansans. She’s fought to make sure every Kansan can access a quality education by championing accessible early childhood education and by opposing irresponsible fiscal decisions that threaten to defund Kansas schools. And while her Republican counterparts race to demonstrate how vehemently they’ll oppose the civil rights of the LGBTQ+ community, she’s continually defended their rights, sponsoring legislation to make discrimination against LGBTQ+ folks illegal in Kansas.
These days the rhetoric of “fiscal responsibility” has become a smokescreen for what is little better than theft: slashing education funding and essential social services, while corporations and the über rich get even richer with million-dollar tax cuts. It’s not just immoral; it’s bad policy; and Kansas bore the brunt of it. In 2012, Gov. Sam Brownback turned Kansas into a tax “experiment,” crusading for a “march toward zero” -- zero income tax. It was indeed a march toward zero: zero benefit. State revenue quickly plummeted by $700 million, leading to school closures, huge cuts to Medicare, and moratoria on necessary infrastructure projects. Instead of being a “shot of adrenaline into the heart of the Kansas economy,” it was a complete disaster by nearly ever metric. Dr. Bollier, a champion of true fiscal responsibility that prioritizes the middle- and working classes, immediately saw the plan for what it was -- an enormous mistake -- and fought it from its inception. She voted against it when it first came to the floor and continued to fight it vigorously until it was successfully repealed in 2017.
Also in 2017: the Trump administration proposed a tax reform plan that looked a heck of a lot like Brownback’s disastrous experiment. Ignoring warnings from Kansas officials -- Dr. Bollier chief among them -- Republican senators quickly passed into law a plan that added $230 billion to the national deficit in 2019 alone and is projected to add $1.9 trillion by 2027. In the middle of a pandemic, when we need a responsive federal government the most, this decision looks especially shortsighted.
Bollier has a different idea of fiscal responsibility. It involves tax cuts -- not for the ultrawealthy, but for those who need them. She wants smarter tax cuts that keep our economy moving forward by empowering lower and middle income Kansans to purchase healthy foods, stable housing, and a good education.
Bollier has always been a staunch advocate for public services; she knows that to make Kansas physically and economically healthy requires shoring up Medicare and Social Security, fortifying public education by improving teacher salaries, and creating and expanding other vital social services like affordable childcare and early childhood education.
Dr. Bollier won’t ever let party politics or corporate influence get in the way of leaders choosing what is best for Kansas and the whole United States. That’s why ethics reform in Washington is one of her chief priorities. She’s committed to strengthening campaign finance laws to ensure that leaders aren’t beholden to corporations that pour endless dollars into their campaigns. She’s already worked on legislation at the state level to stop elected leaders from transitioning directly into the private sector when their term elapses, so that they spend their time in office fighting for their constituents rather than planning their lucrative future careers as lobbyists.
Kansas hasn’t had a Democratic Senator since 1932. But that’s about to change. Kansans are sick of partisan squabbling and ineffectual government. They want a Senator who is strong, determined, and independent, a Senator who will be loyal to the needs of constituents rather than to the whims of the party agenda. Flip the West is excited to be expanding into Kansas and working to elect Dr. Barbara Bollier, a tough advocate for Kansas and for our country.