Dr. Barbara Bollier, candidate for U.S. Senate, held a campaign stop in Junction City Saturday.
The lawn chair chat, as she called it, at Coronado Park drew a crowd of local residents interested in what she had to say.
Bollier is a former Republican who crossed party lines and is running as a Democrat against Republican candidate Dr. Roger Marshall.
After the discussion, Bollier sat down for an interview with the Union.
If elected, Bollier said she planned to cross the aisle to work with everyone — Republicans and Democrats.
“One of the other very top things that I'm hearing from people, here and everywhere, is that we need people who will work together,” she said. “They are so tired of the partisanship and what I bring to the table for them is the ability to work across party lines. And not just the ability — the willingness and commitment to getting that done. We're tired of a broken Washington. We're tired of the partisanship. We need to move forward."
Bollier has adopted a symbol — red and blue strands twined together resembling DNA, which she hopes conveys this message of unity and of scientific literacy, and her work as a physician.
“We should be working together,” she said. "And we absolutely can do that. And that's what we need to be focusing on — how to get that done."
One of Bollier’s first tasks, if elected, will be to take on healthcare reform, she said.
“(Kansans) want to have something affordable and accessible,” she said. "And we do that by building on the Affordable Care Act, helping people if they want to maintain their private insurance, that's perfect, but by helping them by getting a public option buy-in. Something that's less expensive, very likely based out of or like Medicare, and accessible to all. And the other thing we need to do — you know, it's not just about getting a system — you also have to reduce the cost. And one of the really, very quick things I think we'll be able to do is to pass a bill that allows Medicare to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies."
She cited President Donald Trump saying "we should buy our drugs from Canada."
"It's because they negotiate with pharmaceutical companies, and we need to make it legal here,” Bollier said. "And to be clear, my opponent voted ‘no' to do that very thing. People are still paying very high prices.”
During the discussion, a disabled veteran asked Bollier what she would do to help people such as himself with the Veterans Administration system.
“First of all, thank you for serving,” she said. “We need to thank all who serve. We need to fund the system. Right? Take care of our veterans. We fall flat when it comes to things like post traumatic stress disorder, mental health support systems, etc. We need to fund those things.”
In answering this question, Bollier touched on the funding of the United States Post Office, citing veterans and others who receive their medications via the mail. She talked about a constituent who told her he had not received his insulin for more than five days when he usually received it in two.
“He told me, ‘it’s because they’re not funding the postal service as needed,'” Bollier said. “Every veteran depends on that and his health was put at risk. Of course, our VA system needs to be supported and sustained — I’ve worked there, taking care of many vets … Bottom line, we’ve got to do those things.”
Marshall, she said, voted no on providing $25 million in emergency funding for the post office. In turn, she said, this has slowed the mail and kept people — veterans and everyone else who receives medication by mail — from receiving those medications in a timely manner, something she elaborated on in her interview with the Union.
“it's slowed things down,” Bollier said. “I know in my own major postal system, four of the sorting machines were removed, just to be specific.”
She said she had great respect for veterans, citing her time on the Senate's Veterans, Military, and Homeland Security Committee.
"Our veterans in the military mean, so much to us as Kansans,” Bollier said. "And clearly in this area, it's such an important part of who we are. I have voted for years to make sure that our military and vets get the help and care that they need. And even specifically, that the school systems are able to even get more funds, because kids that have to move often to different bases, etc. —they need extra help. And we need to ensure they get that."