Barbara Bollier is an experienced Kansas state representative now running for the vacant 7th District Senate seat in Johnson County.
The longtime moderate Republican has a strong record of opposing the destructive policies of Gov. Sam Brownback. That includes her votes on crucial education issues as compiled by nonpartisan sources such as the Kansas PTA. Her website is pretty scathing as well when it comes to the governor’s policies.
Yet Bollier is absurdly being labeled by the Kansas Democratic Party as an ally of the unpopular GOP governor (see photo of ad above) in her race against Megan England. I strongly support Bollier in this race, especially based on her experience in the statehouse.
Bollier told me this week that the statements that she supported borrowing money from the road fund and damaging the state’s pension fund are “blatantly false.” Indeed, the ad provides no proof for its claim.
The interview with Bollier was part of my review this week of the flood of negative ads being sent to Johnson County voters by Democratic and Republican officials. This post looks at the Democrats’ attempts to make a few GOP candidates look bad.
(Here is the post on how Republicans are acting horribly. As I note in that one, the GOP attacks are worse because they absurdly imply that Democratic candidates are soft on terrorism.)
Democrats defend the assault on Bollier — and another one aimed at Dinah Sykes, the moderate GOP Kansas Senate candidate in the 21st District — as being fair ways to question whether these Republicans will just toe the Brownback line when they get to Topeka. Democrats argue it would be better to elect one of their own to fight the governor’s reckless policies.
I agree up to a point with that view. That’s why I wrote about the need for at least eight Democrats to beat Brownback’s ultra-conservative GOP allies on Nov. 8.
However, the attacks on Bollier and Sykes especially ring hollow.
The “fact” that Bollier voted with the Republican administration 88 percent of the time is another alleged criticism of her record in Topeka. But as others have pointed out, even leading Democrats such as Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley vote 80 percent or more with the supposed GOP-agenda. That’s for a very simple, understandable fact: Most of the actual votes on legislation/bills end up being non-controversial. Compromises have been made along the way.
But it’s the more important votes — especially on education — where Bollier has distinguished herself.
Take at look at that PTA scorecard, for instance. The Brownback ultra-conservative patsies were on the wrong side of the education votes. Bollier was on the right side — standing right next to many Democratic officeholders in Johnson County.
Voters deserve that kind of experience from a person with a strong spine.
As Bollier told me, “We really have a huge opportunity to turn things around” if moderate Republicans and Democrats can do well on Nov. 8. I agree.
This attack ad aimed at Sykes is also reprehensible.
The front and back of the Kansas Democratic Party flier are dotted with the name “Sam Brownback” eight times.
What the flier doesn’t mention is that Sykes is the Republican who stood up to Brownback in the Aug. 2 primary and defeated Greg Smith, often an ally of the governor and one of the negative lawmakers who truly needed to be given the boot.
This exhaustive Kansas City Star story summed up the differences between the candidates more than year ago. Sykes ripped into Brownback’s tax cuts, Brownback’s education policies and the conservative GOP leadership.
Example: Of the unfair income tax reductions, Sykes said, “That’s a burden for our state and for the middle class. I think it was irresponsible.” Sykes holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
Democrats like her opponent, Logan Heley, say it would be better for voters to send him to Topeka because he definitely won’t support Brownback.
However, I strongly support Sykes over Heley. She has a big advantage in life experiences as a mom, a person involved in school-related activities, and a Johnson County homeowner for more than 16 years.
In an interview, Sykes said “I honestly think it’s a waste of money” to send out totally misleading fliers this late in the game.
Sykes correctly wants to stay focused on knocking on doors, talking to people about the need to restore “common sense” to Topeka while voting on ways to improve Kansas.
Sykes is not going to be a rubberstamp for Gov. Brownback. She has the potential to be a strong Johnson County voice on behalf of better funding for education and for improving the tax structure of the Sunflower State. She deserves election on Nov. 8, as does Bollier.