Q&A: District 1 congressional candidate talks priorities on the campaign trail

(Logo by Julie Freijat | Collegian Media Group)

Peter Loganbill, Collegian News Editor: “National speakers that come through [Kansas] will talk about farming. When Jerry Moran was here, talked about farming quite a bit. So, you seem to know a lot about this, or, you’ve talked to people about it. What has been that experience?”

Kali Barnett, 1st District congressional candidate: “To be honest, I know that there’s a big difference between being a farmer’s daughter and an ag policy maker. And that’s what I’m trying to bridge the gap with, and I don’t shy away from saying I’ve been a teacher. I feel like in a lot lot of ways, I’m an expert in music education, not complete expert, but in many, many ways, right? And I understand that there’s a big difference and there’s a big factor of trust that people need to know that is there.

“I’ve met with many many ag professors since I announced, even before I announced. Last week, I met with the Kansas Farm Bureau. And to be honest, I went into that room feeling really nervous because I am a younger woman who is running as a Democrat in the 1st District of Kansas and I, you know, walked into the room fully expecting to be judged and criticized and humiliated in some ways and it was the exact opposite experience and I’m constantly pleasantly surprised by people’s reaction to someone who is literally putting themselves out there to make a positive change and putting the effort in to learn about ag policy and our current issues. And everyone knows with our trade war that’s happening, with our farmers, the bankruptcy rate is skyrocket right now.”

“Our suicide rate among farmers is skyrocketing and it’s really, really challenging and it’s at a place where it’s almost irreversible, where we have come as far as our trade and even if we stopped everything that’s going on with that today, there would still be a lot of bridges that we have burned that are going to take a long time to rebuild.”

Loganbill: “Would you call healthcare a human right?”

Barnett: “Absolutely.”

Loganbill: “Can you define ‘human right’?”

Barnett: “That’s challenging. A human right is anything that we deserve as a living being on this planet and I truly believe that it is my job as the human that’s sitting next to you in the room that if there’s something that you are struggling with, that I can help you as much as possible, right? And we have to have a system in place that has that same ideal. If you were choking on a piece of gum, or something like that, I would be a terrible human being if I just watched you choke on that gum, and I was like, ‘Well, that stinks. Too bad, he shouldn’t have been chewing gum.’

“That’s not an ideal that is good for humanity. It’s not a Christian ideal. I say a lot, you can be a Democrat and a Christian too. Pretty sure that Jesus said that we should take care of people who are in need. And that’s how I feel about healthcare. That’s how I feel about our basic human rights is that we need to take care of each other.”

Interested in learning more about Barnett’s campaign in this Q&A? Check out the “Collegian Kultivate” podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.

I'm Pete Loganbill and I'm the News Editor for the Collegian and host of the Collegian Kultivate podcast! I spent two years at Johnson County Community College, and I am now a senior in Public Relations at K-State. I believe constant communication leads to progress, no matter how difficult a comment may be for me or anyone to hear. Contact me at ploganbill@kstatecollegian.com.