PITTSBURG, Kan. — Kansas State Senator Dr. Barbara Bollier, who is running against Congressman Dr. Roger Marshall for one of Kansas’ seats in the U.S. Senate, spent the weekend campaigning in Southeast Kansas as Nov. 3 looms next week.
Bollier met a crowd of eager supporters at Pritchett Pavillon on Friday evening to answer their questions and talk through some of her ideas.
“To me, it’s truly public service,” Bollier said. “That’s what a doctor does, that’s what a person does. That’s why I’m here because I want to serve and really, really make a difference for this state and for this country.”
Approximately thirty southeast Kansans were in attendance as well as a number of elected officials, including State Rep. Monica Murnan, D-Pittsburg, and Pittsburg Mayor Dawn McNay. McNay was the one to introduce Bollier and said Kansas needs her in Washington.
“Sometimes I think we forget at a local level just the impact that Congress can have on us,” McNay said. “We forget on a day to day basis and operation that Congress can also affect the quality of our air, the quality of our water, the prices of our utilities. I really appreciate the stubborn independence of Southeast Kansas as a citizen — not so much sometimes as an elected official — but that’s why we need Barbara in Washington. She is an independent thinker.”
Bollier is a self-proclaimed moderate who switched to the Democratic party in 2018 after serving as a Republican in state office for seven years.
“I've stood up to people on both sides of the aisle, both leadership sects, to do what is right,” she said. “It gets people a little frustrated sometimes, but you know I can deal with that because it was the right thing to do.”
Bollier stressed “people over partisanship” and promised to try to get people to work together if she makes it to Washington.
“I went into medicine so that I could improve people’s lives and never was really about partisanship, you just help people,” she said. “Then I went into public service for the very same reason: to help fix things that are broken and to do right by people. It's not about parties it’s about the people.”
She also discussed Medicaid expansion, gun control and the ongoing protests among other things.
“I support maintaining our Affordable Care Act and improving what isn't working,” Bollier said. “Even though Kansas has not expanded Medicaid, 40 states have and if that Affordable Care Act goes down so does Medicaid expansion.”
But she continually urged that above all, everyone needed to be working together.
“Red and blue we need to be working together and we have to find compromise and common ground,” Bollier said. “The United States Senate used to be that bastion or that place that those differences were dropped in the good of the people, and we need to bring that back.”
Bollier also addressed the large number of negative ads her opponent has been running. She said she has never been misrepresented like this in any of her other campaigns and it was “frustrating and disappointing”.
“Sadly, there has been a tremendous amount of negativity from my opponent,” she said. “I've been misrepresented before but nearly to this level. Kansas deserves so much better than that.”
However, she said she is proud of the campaign that she has run.
“I will say on the other side I am so proud of the campaign we’ve run and I hope you’ve appreciated the ads that just tell about me and about what I offer for the people and what I can do,” she said.
She even pointed out the massive sign for Roger Marshall that someone had parked right across the street from the event but told the crowd to not let stuff like that fool them as her campaign is actually going very well.
“I know it may be hard to see from different parts of the state, as we see my opponents sign across the way, that it [the campaign] is going incredibly well,” she said. “We are polling three points ahead, depending on the poll, which I know that puts us statistically tied, and that means your vote really, really matters, and it does up and down the ballot.”
Marshall has made the trip to Pittsburg at least five times since the start of the race while this was only Bollier’s third documented visit. Marshall has announced plans to make yet another stop at Immigrant Park at noon Wednesday as part of his “Campaign Countdown Tour” before election day.
However, that didn’t bother Bollier as she called out Marshall for his dismissal of the effectiveness of masks during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as other things he has done to politicize medicine.
“We should not be politicizing a virus, and we shouldn’t be politicizing anything in medicine,” she said. “Quite frankly as a fellow physician I’m appalled.”