WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — KSN News sent a questionnaire to each candidate facing a challenger in the November general election. We have not made any edits to the candidate’s answers.


Biographical Information:

I am a fourth-generation Kansan, 3rd generation United Methodist minister and former County Commissioner and Mayor of Kansas City, Kansas. I am also a father of four, ranging in age from 16 – 23. I attended Southern Methodist University for my undergraduate studies, received my Master of Divinity from Ilif School of Theology, and my Doctorate of Divinity from St. Paul School of Theology. After seminary, I served two churches in rural Kansas and then for 19 years was the senior pastor at Trinity UMC in Kansas City, Kansas. In 2018, I co-founded Mainstream UMC, a global campaign to advocate for the ordination and marriage of the LGBTQ+ community within the church. I served 6 years on the Commission of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, KS and 4 years as Mayor.

Campaign website/Facebook/Social Media:

HollandForKansas.com
Facebook: Holland for Kansas
Twitter: Holland4Kansas

What are the top three things you think deserve your immediate attention in Washington, and what action would you take on them, including how you’d compromise with members of the other party?

I am running for the U.S. Senate to better the lives of Kansans. This means delivering good paying jobs, strong public education, and affordable healthcare. As a part of infrastructure, I will support renewable energies, which will create new jobs, expand our economy and save the climate. To give medical decisions back to women and families, I will codify Roe vs Wade. We cannot expect the game to change if we do not change the players. As a U.S. Senator from Kansas, I will defend our democracy and work to improve the lives of Kansans.

Constitutional rights and freedoms that Americans have enjoyed and taken for granted over the last 100 years are suddenly under attack from a radical minority. Thier objective is to limit the nation’s ability to address gun violence, access to abortion and contraception, mariage equality & gay rights, along with a reduction of voting rights. The concentration of power that has resulted from the Citizens United ruling prevents us from addressing the soaring expense of health care costs, and taking the steps necessary to face head-on the existential threat of climate change. The very fabric that has made our country a role model of democracy and economic gain that benefits a growing middle class is being weakened by both policy and inaction of elected representatives who care less about the American family and more about the needs of the top 1%.

What should be done to fight inflation and fix the country’s economy?

Over the last twelve months the cost of living has increased 8%, impacting the ability of many families to provide basic necessities. The largest components of inflation are all related to the cost of energy, which increased 35%. The federal government can have a significant impact in this area by developing legislation which expands America’s domestic production of crude oil and natural gas, along with renewables such as solar and wind power. Since the beginning of the pandemic four oil refineries have been closed. Development incentives can change this, which would result in increased capacity to produce more fuel and thereby lower consumer’s cost.

In 2020, there were 37.2 million people in poverty, approximately 3.3 million more than in 2019. Across all demographic populations poverty is trending up. Much of our current tax policy is implemented at the exclusion of the middle class. We are going to need a filibuster proof Democratic majority in order to pass additional legislation and funding that directly helps those in economic pain. At the federal level we are able to directly assist with driving down the components of inflation, such as the price of prescription medicine, healthcare, insurance premiums, fuel costs, energy production, food and housing.

Share your thoughts on abortion rights and restrictions.

The decisions a woman makes with her trained physician are none of my business, nor the governments. This is a fundamental issue of personal freedom and choice about bodily autonomy. The August vote was a temporary reprieve for Kansas. Depending upon the outcome of the November election our state could have a new Governor and Supreme Court that would most certainly “reinterpret” our state constitution differently. Currently 15 states have made abortion illegal. The Senate Republican Leadership has stated that a nationwide ban is their ultimate plan. The rights and access for abortion healthcare, as were previously interpreted under Roe v. Wade, should be enshrined into federal statutory law. I support a filibuster carve-out which will allow for passage of the legislation through the U.S. Senate with 51 votes.

What needs to be done about health care?

July 28th is the anniversary of the GOP’s attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which provides protections from preexisting conditions, sets a minimum level of care with preventive checkups, and provides subsidies that lower the cost of insurance premiums. The party has repeatedly tried to eliminate these protections and block any real solution to addressing the skyrocketing costs for prescriptions. No one should leave a pharmacy with an unfilled prescription because it’s too expensive. At a time when U.S. health insurers are raising their rates, Congress should act to increase these subsidies and to allow Medicare the ability to directly negotiate the costs of prescription medicines like insulin. The CBO has found that granting Medicare this power would directly save the country $287 billion. Mental health should be considered part of healthcare access and should be included in all efforts to ensure accessible and affordable coverage.

Do you think we need immigration reform, and what changes would you support?

As I’ve traveled across Kansas one thing that I constantly hear from small and medium sized businesses is that they are having difficulty finding enough workers to meet their growth needs. Other individuals have spoken out about the continued decline in population of their towns over the years. The most recent census report has shown that close to 90 counties across the state have lost population in the last decade.

I believe that we can have both a secure border, while also having a smart immigration policy that can provide the necessary workforce to help our communities thrive. Whether that is migrant farmers to assist with the wheat harvest or medical doctors who can provide needed specialists for struggling rural hospitals, a focused immigration policy can play an active role.

What are your thoughts on election integrity in Kansas? Across the United States? Would you change the election process, and how?

The Supreme Court has announced that they have agreed to hear Moore v. Harper, which will determine if state courts should be able to overturn congressional voting maps drawn by the state legislatures, no matter how egregious the gerrymandering. Additionally, the Court has agreed to hear Merrill v. Milligan, which challenges the validity of The Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA). These two cases can fundamentally alter our modern understanding of democracy. The Constitution provides the ability for Congress to enact new legislation which would block the Court from pursuing their new “independent state legislature” theory. The protection and expansion of the VRA, by passing both The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021, as well as The Freedom to Vote Act are my top priorities.

In 2008, before the Citizens United ruling, billionaires contributed just $31 million to federal campaigns. In 2020, billionaires’ contributions have grown to $1.2 billion, a 40-fold increase. I support Senator Whitehouse’s DISCLOSE Act which would go a long way towards getting rid of the dark money in our politics which have completely polluted our political environment. Since 2010, the disease of dark money has spread unchecked like cancer. The financially privileged with an outsized wealth are attempting to gain an outsized voice in elections and public policy. They should not be able to do so anonymously. A free and liberal democracy can not prosper without transparency. Anonymous money in politics is corrupting and allows secretive groups to hold up progress on issues that matter. Congress must act to address this problem.

Where do you stand on LGBTQ issues and rights?

I fully support LGBTQ rights. In 2018, I co-founded Mainstream UMC, a global campaign within the United Methodist Church to advocate for the ordination and marriage of the LGBTQ+ community within the church. I have worked for LGBTQ+ rights in the church and will do so at the federal level. I support the Equality Act. Our Founding Fathers said, “liberty and justice for all.” All means all.

Share your stance on gun control/Second Amendment rights.

There have been 309 mass shootings during 2022 in America, averaging about 11 per week. More than 220 people were shot and killed in the U.S. over the July 4th weekend. This problem is uniquely American. We must get out of the culture war. We can protect the 2nd Amendment and keep our communities safe. We need to elect thoughtful, moderate leaders to make meaningful change. Jerry Moran voted with the extremists in voting against the recent bi-partisan gun bill. This bill was a good first step, but we must continue to look at a thoughtful, bi-partisan legislature that will address this crisis in our country. I don’t know the ultimate solutions, but the growing wave of students being shot in the schools and communities is unacceptable. I look forward to working with others on common sense legislation that can have a real impact on the number of gun related deaths.

What are your thoughts on climate change? What should Congress do about it, if anything?

Kansas’s climate is changing in measurable ways. Over the past hundred years, most of the state has warmed by at least half a degree. By 2050, Kansas is likely to have four times as many days above 100°F. The soil is becoming drier. Warming winters and changes in the timing and size of rainfall events have altered crop yields, which hurt family farms.

Our rapidly changing climate will lead to an increase in the demand for water, but ironically make it less available. Approximately 22% of the farmland in Kansas is irrigated, mostly with ground water from the Ogallala Aquifer. As a result, the aquifer is becoming depleted. Since the 1950s, the amount of water stored in the aquifer has declined by more than 25%. Crop yields would decline by about 50% in fields that can no longer be irrigated.

The economic impact of climate change in Kansas is real. I believe that all branches of government are needed to address the underlying causes of climate change, but also address the impact on our communities. Significant federal investment must be made in large scale renewable energy sources such as the 3,100 Kansas wind turbines that now account for about 45% of our state’s energy generation. As part of critical infrastructure investment, I support renewable energies which will create new high paying jobs, expand our economy and energy independence. I support the use of tax credits to assist with the purchase of energy efficient heat pumps, electric water heaters and automobiles. Investments in automobile charging stations will be required for us to make a more wide scale jump to electric vehicles.