The Prairie Village Post is running the responses to our readers' questions for the candidates running in two local statehouse primaries: incumbent Stephanie Clayton and challenger Jennifer Flood in District 19; and incumbent Barbara Bollier and challenger Neil Melton in District 21.
My five years in the state legislature has given me the opportunity to serve you and represent the ideals that we hold so dear in this area of Kansas. Communication is one of my foremost goals in this office and you can see daily updates on my FaceBook page, Representative Barbara Bollier, receive weekly updates during session by sharing your e-mail address with me, and always receive a reply if you call, write, text, or use any other method to ask me for help with a Kansas related issue. I am here for you, and I am asking for your vote this August 5th.
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My number one issue as a candidate is public education. This past year I was proud to work with other like-minded individuals to pass a bipartisan school finance bill (passed 91-31) that included financial enhancements to benefit our Johnson County public schools. Key elements were an enhanced Local Option Budget (more money locally) and a few limited changes to the funding formula, changes that our District has supported for years. Other essential pieces of the bill included return of funding for higher education and bonding authority for a new KU Medical School building.
Unfortunately, this great work was changed substantially by the Senate including loss of teacher due process rights and designating $10 million in funding as tax credits for private schools, leading to my ultimate NO vote on the final bill. I am pleased that part of our original work remained and there will be approximately $3.5 million per year for the next two years for our Shawnee Mission District.
Work still remains to adequately fund our schools, as evidenced by increased class sizes and loss of key programming. The strength of our public schools is the base of our entire economic growth plans in Johnson County. Businesses seek well-educated workers for their employees, and families considering a move consider quality of life issues, especially schools, as their key priority when considering where to install a business. Job growth is inextricably linked to our public school system, and I have and will continue to fight to maintain one of the top-10 public education systems in the country.
Many of my votes this past year reflected continued support for local control of government and decision-making. Government closest to the people is best, so I support continuing local school boards ability to decide curriculum and expenditures for Shawnee Mission schools, as well as local city and county government decisions about gun control and other quality-of-life issues. Our legislature is under attack by those who believe in an ideologue-agenda promoted by Americans for Prosperity and the American Legislative Exchange Council. Many of their mantras were stopped this year with the help of my vote, including continuing our Renewable Portfolio Standards to increase use of renewable energy sources, maintaining freedom of religion in our state while stopping bigoted laws to discriminate, and keeping our Supreme Court Justice Selection process rather than abdicating control of selection to the single voice of the Governor.
My medical education has served me well on the Health and Human Services committee, and I will speak out always to pass laws that support accurate medical information, personal choice and responsibility in health care, and the all-important social justice issue of access to affordable care. My work on the Insurance committee was also enhanced by my medical background, and I was so very pleased to help pass an Autism Reform Bill that will increase insurance coverage for many of the children who are affected by this challenging condition.
The number one issue facing the state is our revenue stream. With the current tax structure that eliminates the income tax, we are falling farther away from our predicted revenues this year with a deficit of over $300 million. Experts are predicting deficits well into the billions of dollars if we do not change course over the next few years. District 21 has always supported good, appropriate, efficient government, but that plan is in extreme jeopardy from those who are of the tea-party mindset. We need to protect the quality of life that we have come to love and expect here in Johnson County!
These past five years have allowed me to learn the intricacies of state politics, significantly enhancing my ability to get things done and to help you when needed. I work extremely hard to represent you well, and consider this my full-time job working through the off-session with constituents on issues to be brought forward the upcoming session. Protecting our quality of life is essential, and your responsibility in that is to cast your vote in the primary election on August 5th. Advance voting begins July 16th, and you can have a ballot mailed directly to your home using a link on my webpage (www.barbarabollier.org). With the traditionally-low turnout for primaries, I am working to have the largest turnout for the primary in the state, and it takes your vote to help accomplish that goal.
Feel free to contact me with any questions, concerns, and clarifications.
My cell phone number is 913-485-2121, e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org, and FaceBook is https://www.facebook.com/RepresentativeBarbaraBollier .