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Kansas Pol Leaves GOP for Dems, Citing LGBTQ Issues, Trump

Barbara Bollier

State Sen. Barbara Bollier says anti-transgender language adopted by the state Republican Party was "the last straw."

A Kansas state senator is leaving the Republican Party and becoming a Democrat, citing differences over LGBTQ issues and Donald Trump.

The "last straw" for Barbara Bollier was when the state GOP adopted anti-transgender language in its platform, she told The Wichita Eagle in a story published Wednesday.

A Kansas Republican Party committee adopted a resolution last February to "oppose all efforts to validate transgender identity." Then in June, it added this statement to its platform: "We believe God created two genders, male and female."

"That was my final, last straw. I support the people of Kansas. I do not condemn whoever they are," Bollier told the Eagle.

Bollier also has no love for the current Republican president. "I cannot be complicit in supporting that," she said of Trump's presidency. "I can't call it leadership. I don't even know what to call him. He is our president, but he is not representing my value system remotely."

While Bollier, who lives in the Kansas City suburb of Mission Hills, is just now announcing her party change, she supported many Democrats in November's midterm election, in which she didn't have to run; she will next be up for reelection in 2020. Her endorsements included Tom Niermann in the Democratic primary in the Third Congressional District. He lost the primary to Sharice Davids, who went on to oust Republican incumbent Kevin Yoder in the general election and become the first gay Native American elected to the U.S. House. Bollier also backed Democrat Laura Kelly for governor; Kelly, an LGBTQ ally, beat homophobic Republican Kris Kobach, who had been Kansas secretary of state.

Bollier, a retired physician, said she is a lifelong Republican but came to feel the party had no place for moderates like her. In addition to her differences with Republicans over Trump and LGBTQ rights, she disagreed with most GOP lawmakers on several other issues, such as Medicaid expansion, which she supported.

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