Republican-turned-Democrat state Sen. Barbara Bollier stepped Wednesday into the field of candidates angling to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts in Washington, D.C.
Bollier, an advocate on education and health care policy, said her campaign was necessary because too many politicians in the nation's capitol lost sight of the belief level-headed people should treat others with respect and reach commonsense solutions to issues.
"That’s why I’m running," she said in a statement. "We must do better for our families."
Roberts initiated a scramble among Republicans and Democrats after announcing in January that he wouldn't seek re-election in 2020.
Democrats already on the campaign trail include Barry Grissom, a former U.S. attorney for Kansas, Manhattan City Commission member Usha Reddi as well as Robert Tillman, who has run for Congress several times.
Bollier, a retired doctor in Mission Hills who served in the Kansas House before moving to the Senate, said the state was at a crossroads in terms of political representation.
"We need a public servant focused on finding solutions for regular Kansans, not waging petty political fights," she said.
Bollier, 61, changed her party official to Democrat in December 2018. She said the GOP wasn't pointing morally to where her personal compass resided. She specifically expressed frustration with Republicans for stalling Medicaid expansion to more than 130,000 low-income Kansans and for inhibiting allocation of reasonable funding to public education.
Bollier said a breaking point with the Kansas GOP was the party's insertion of anti-transgender language into the official platform.
In her campaign announcement, Bollier said health care costs were excessive and access to care inadequate.
"I am a doctor," she said. "That’s just how I see things. I went into public service for the same reason I went into medicine: To help people. Plain and simple. I choose solutions. I choose the people. I will be the voice of reason Kansans deserve."
Republican candidates in the U.S. Senate primary race include U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall, of the 1st District; former Secretary of State Kris Kobach, former NFL player Dave Lindstrom, Senate President Susan Wagle and commentator Bryan Pruitt.