Usha Reddi, of Manhattan, feels now is the perfect time for a Democrat to take control of the U.S. Senate seat up for grabs in 2020 with the retirement of Pat Roberts.

Reddi, a Manhattan city commissioner and former mayor, was in Garden City on Wednesday for a Kansas Democratic Party reception at Las Margaritas, hosted by the Finney, Ford and Seward county Democratic parties, then a “meet and greet” Thursday morning at Central Cup Coffee House.

Health care, education and the workforce are the primary issues facing Kansans now, according to Reddi.

On health care, Reddi said the biggest problem right now is people are afraid to end up in an emergency room, as most policies have high deductibles. She also said that mental health and substance abuse treatment are also issues that need to be looked at as most health insurance policies do not cover them.

“I want to see how we can modify it … even have a good discussion about Medicare for All,” Reddi said. “Nobody would have to worry about getting sick or having the resources for preventative care.”

Education is an important issue for Reddi, as she has been an elementary school teacher since 2005 in Ogden.

She said that education and the workforce are intertwined, and the U.S. secretary of education needs to be someone that has experience in public education.

“We’re not only educating them (students) and need to be giving them skills to be productive citizens in our communities and society,” Reddi said. “I don’t appreciate funds being diverted for other priorities out of public education.”

Tied in to both education and the workforce are immigration issues.

“I’ve had students that were documented and undocumented, we have to teach all for good educations,” she said.

Reddi said if a family leaves their home country to come to the U.S. for better opportunities, they should be allowed to be here.

“They’re paying taxes when they buy anything in the United States, and want a path to be productive citizens,” she said. “But these policies are impacting not only the children who want to become citizens (DACA), but also individuals that came here legally and are being sent back.”

“Good families, not breaking laws, are coming here for opportunities,” Reddi said. “I don’t know how we can have a good economy without them. We need to make sure to take care of them just as much as they’re providing services for us.”

She said this is also being seen at universities, as visas have been cut down for international students, which in turn plays a dynamic in our workforce.

Reddi said she feels she can give a voice in the Senate to not only teachers, but also families involved in decisions that are made on the federal level, as well.