Barbara Bollier is on the Right Side of Issues that Matter Most to Kansans

By Julie Mettenburg

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Halstead, KS; photo credit: Max Pixel

As a sixth-generation rancher and Kansan, I am used to thinking in a long-term perspective. We farmers and ranchers must think about the future, about what we want for our landscapes, our communities, and our kids. When I talk to Kansans involved in agriculture, the issues that come up most are health care and climate change. Democrats up and down the ticket, from Joe Biden to Barbara Bollier, are on the right side of both of those issues for Kansans today, and for the future.

As a business owner, I must purchase my own health insurance. As an employer, I worry about the quality and affordability of the health insurance I provide for my employees. And as a mom, when my daughter came back home because of COVID-19 and tried to find a farm job, I saw how difficult it was for her to get access to affordable, quality health insurance.

As a doctor, Barbara Bollier understands firsthand the skyrocketing costs of health insurance, prescription drug costs, and huge surprise medical bills. She supports Medicaid expansion for our state, and I trust her to fight for Kansans on health and insurance policy. Nationally, Joe Biden wants to protect and build on the Affordable Care Act to expand access to low-cost health insurance for all Americans.

Roger Marshall, on the other hand, looks down his nose at everyday Kansans. He absurdly said that “There is a group of people that just don’t want health care and aren’t going to take care of themselves.” An elite, he opposes giving more Kansas access to health care, and has aligned himself with Washington politicians who feed us a line about “replacing” the Affordable Care Act, with no realistic plan to do so. Republicans led by Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell have controlled the government for four years — where is their health care plan?

Climate change is the other issue that is already affecting Kansans’ livelihoods, and will threaten our farming economy if we do not take aggressive action to reverse it. In a recent Yale survey, 71 percent of Kansans said that carbon dioxide should be regulated as a pollutant. That is because Kansans are practical people, and they are already experiencing the effects of climate change from extreme heat, drought, heavy downpours, and of course, wildfires. They know that as climate change worsens, it will hit us where it hurts. A recent Kansas State study found that as average temperatures rise by 1 degree Celsius, yield risk for corn will increase 32 percent and soy yield risk will increase 11 percent, meaning that crop insurance premiums will rise, and that federal subsidies will cost American taxpayers more.

The alternating heat stress, flooding, and wildfires that threaten our crops and animals are real. Barbara Bollier understands that time is running out to take decisive action on climate change, and that Kansas agriculture will be permanently changed, and our grandchildren will grow up in a vastly different world from ours, if we don’t. Although a doctor by training, Roger Marshall has said he doesn’t even believe climate change is happening, a position that puts him at odds with 95 percent of the scientific community, and the vast majority of Kansans, who say climate is an urgent threat that needs to be addressed.

Kansas has not voted for a Democrat for Senate since 1932 and has not voted for a Democrat for President since 1964. But this election is bigger than partisanship, and we cannot afford to continue on a path that benefits special interests and politicians like Roger Marshall and Donald Trump. I trust Barbara Bollier and Joe Biden to ensure that Kansas and Kansans remain vibrant, and that our way of life doesn’t end up in the dustbin of history.

Julie Mettenburg grew up in eastern Kansas was Executive Director of the Kansas Rural Center from 2011–2014 and has been working as a family farmer and as an educator in Holistic Management for the Savory Institute since then, through her company, the Tallgrass Network.

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