Kansas Sen. Barbara Bollier, a Democrat, started her in-person campaign for the U.S. Senate in downtown Hutchinson on Friday. A crowd of approximately 50 supporters gathered on chairs and cheered Bollier as she spoke of COVID, Medicaid expansion and education.
"I am a very proud pragmatic Democrat," Bollier said. "I am about fiscal responsibility. I follow data and common sense."
Bollier said she purposely put both red and blue on her campaign materials, saying she wants to be able to walk across the aisle.
"We are red and blue because we can work together," she said. "We are used to looking at the person, not just the party."
Bollier, a physician, said her job is to listen to farmers, teachers and community leaders. As for schools, she wants to open them when they believe it is safe.
"It is so important for local areas to decide and know what’s best for the teachers and the staff and who lives at home," she said. "We all know masks work."
Although she grew up, went to school and practiced medicine in the greater Kansas City area, Bollier’s relatives come from rural Kansas.
"I have deep roots in this state," she said. "My great grandfather had a farm in Sedan."
Bollier said she is a strong proponent of farmers, ranchers and agriculture in general. Growing up, she visited her cousins on their farm during harvest season. And, she was so enamored by wheat, she picked the stalk to be her "flower" at her wedding.
When asked a question about how she would help agribusinesses, Bollier said she wants to use facts, issues and data to help farmers and ranchers.
"Their voices will be at the table," she said. If elected, she plans to serve on the Agriculture Committee. "It’s not about where you live, it’s about who you listen to and what you love."
When asked about renewable energy, Bollier said she is very pro renewable energy, particularly wind energy. But, she said, some locations should not have turbines.
"I don’t want to see wind turbines in the protected areas of the Flint Hills," she told the crowd.
Although she was not asked, Bollier said she does not support defunding the police.
"We need to be sure that they have the support around them," she said. "Of course we want safe communities."
After leaving Hutchinson, Bollier traveled to a feedlot in Dodge City and a hospital in Garden City. She said she was happy to be able to speak with her supporters once again.
"I hate that we have COVID," she said. "(But) out of every crisis comes an opportunity."