Barbara Bollier visits Garden City

Meghan Flynn
U.S. Senate candidate Barbara Bollier speaks to a crowd of supporters Friday at Deane Wiley Park.

Kansas Sen. Barbara Bollier, candidate for U.S. Senate, stopped in Garden City on Friday to speak to voters.

At Deane Wiley Park, Bollier, a Democrat, talked about her past in politics and how she was a moderate Republican until 2018, when she changed her party affiliation.

The switch wasn’t sudden, Bollier said, it was gradual. As a moderate, she found herself at odds with Republican leadership over things like funding public education, ending the Brownback tax experiment, Medicaid expansion and the Affordable Care Act.

From that, Bollier found herself endorsing Gov. Laura Kelly across party lines when she ran for office.

It angered Republican leadership, but it was the right thing to do, Bollier said.

“It was at that time that I said my values haven't changed at all, my votes have not changed at all, the Republican Party had changed and I needed to be able to serve and represent people the best way possible,” she said.

Bollier said her job as senator is to listen and hear what people’s needs are and to understand them and move forward.

It’s why she’s running for the U.S. Senate, she said.

“As a physician I was taught to listen, follow science ... collaborating with others as we examine that data and then forming a plan to move forward and get things done,” she said. “Bottom line is, we as citizens need to expect our leaders to join together, to build together, to work for the common good and drop all this politicizing of things aside and get the job done. That is why I'm running, people are responding.”

Bollier said her No. 1 goal if elected is to ensure affordable, accessible health care for Kansans.

That’s done by building off the current system, Bollier said, by keeping private insurance in place and finding a public option to buy in. They need to take what’s working and reform what isn’t working, she said.

“You look around at other states that have for instance expanded Medicaid, not one of them is saying, 'Never mind, this isn't working,’ ” she said. “It's working for all of them, they don't want it to end, we should follow their leads and make sure that happens. That's one of the reasons to keep the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid expansion is part of that law, we need to have that option, particularly in our rural areas.”