On Wednesday, Oct. 5, Democratic Party candidate Mark Holland visited the Manhattan Public Library to discuss his Senate campaign and listen to questions and concerns from Manhattan locals.
The former Kansas City mayor discussed several politically polarizing issues, including reproductive rights, Kansas’ economy, immigration policy and more.
Holland said he is a fourth-generation Kansas resident who decided the country needed new direction following the Jan. 6 insurrection of the capitol, in which he expressed deep remorse.
“That was the final tipping-point for me. Watching people assault police officers, riot in our nation’s capital, breaking windows and crawling through and then watching a confederate flag go across the floor of our nation’s capital,” Holland said. “If you don’t pledge allegiance to a flag that has fifty stars and represents all of us, you are not a patriot of the United States of America.”
Holland said he endorsed a higher minimum wage for Kansas and chastised Republican Party candidate, Jerry Moran, for his $7.25 minimum wage policy.
“Jerry Moran’s minimum wage hasn’t changed since 2009,” Holland said.
Mark Holland continued his speech, eventually landing on the topic of reproductive rights and the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
“I support Roe v. Wade because it’s neutral,” Holland said. “If you believe abortion is wrong you need not have one, but for the rest of us who support access, we can keep abortions safe, legal and rare.”
Holland said he and his Republican counterpart have drastically different views regarding abortion.
“Jerry Moran has supported 75 different bills in Congress to limit a woman’s choice, access to healthcare and birth control. He voted for the Supreme Court justices that took down Roe v. Wade,” Holland said. “Jerry Moran is an anti-choice crusader and cannot be trusted to go back in the United States Senate.”
Holland said Moran remains his most significant threat in this race after receiving former President Donald Trump’s official endorsement. Holland said he is touring rural and urban areas to win this election, with the intent to secure the votes of Democrats, moderate Republicans and undecided voters.
“I believe there is going to be a ‘Roe v. wave’ across the country,” Holland said.
The Democratic National Convention did not choose Holland as their representative, despite him running as a Democrat, Holland said. Because of this, he is funding his own campaign with the help of local supporters. Holland said he will not be advertised for the same reason and is meeting Kansans face to face to show his desire for the Senate seat.
Holland said he also supports the “farm bill,” an agricultural policy that grants commodities and conservation to farms by the federal government.
“This is smart capitalism,” Holland said. “The farm bill has an opportunity to help our farmers make sure that industry is supported, that they have the crop insurance they need, particularly with the changes in weather, that they ensure that children who need food, get food.”
Holland said he hopes the younger residents of Manhattan will show up to the polls for him in the upcoming election.
“Everything we can do to get the students at K-State to vote again, that is what we need,” Holland said.
Holland spoke on climate change, affirming his belief in science and stressing the importance of solving the climate crisis.
“Climate change is real, and we need to address it,” Holland said. “It’s affecting our water. It’s affecting our climate. It’s affecting our farmers. We need people who believe in science to be running our country. We need to make fact-based decisions.”
Holland said his plan to improve public schools will be accomplished by correcting the errors of his opponent, Moran.
“Jerry Moran blurred the line between the separation of church and state,” Holland said. “He allowed public money to go to private schools. Now, this is good for private schools, but there is no reason public money should be going to private schools.”
Former senator and House of Representative Tom Hawk gave his support for Holland at the candidate forum.
“He has common-sense solutions. He stands up for democracy and smart capitalism,” Hawk said. “I think the Republican party has turned because of one man and a cult.”
Holland said he promises to stand up for reproductive and Second Amendment rights, separation of church and state, and pledges to stand up against oil companies and other monopolies to protect farmers.