U.S. Senate - Kansas

41 Action News wants to help you make an informed decision during the 2020 Primary Election on Aug. 4. We reached out to the campaigns for the U.S. Senate candidates in Kansas. Here's where the Republicans stand on the issues.

Note: We did not receive a response from Bob Hamilton, Kris Kobach, Roger Marshall, Steve Roberts, or Gabriel Mark Robles. We could not locate valid contact information for John Berman and John Miller. The only two Democratic candidates, Barbara Bollier and Robert Tillman, did not respond to our request.

Survey Responses
  • COVID-19
  • Health Care
  • Abortion
  • Policing
  • LGBTQ Rights
  • Immigration
  • Final Thoughts

Question: Gov. Laura Kelly recently announced a requirement for people to wear masks in public. Do you believe wearing masks should be a requirement, recommendation or neither?

“It depends. If people say they never should, they lack imagination of how bad a pandemic could get. On the other hand it is disruptive and should be done only if necessary--if guidelines/information are effective they would be preferable. For the time being I defer to health experts as I would need a lot more information about the risks of our current situation.”

Question: What role should local and state health officials play in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic?

  • Information only
  • Guidelines only
  • Mandatory requirements for business, but not individuals
  • Mandatory requirements for businesses and individuals, subject to policymaker approval

Question: Should locally-owned small businesses receive a higher priority for CARES Act funding than publicly traded or multinational corporations?

“Often easier rather than to screen up front who gets money, to fix through tax policy on the back end any distributional problems. Too much screening of who gets money up front usually costs a significant amount of what it saves and stops many people who need assistance from getting it. The system of banks doing the screening has disproportionately helped franchises and mid-sized businesses at the expense of small businesses.”

Question: As part of the CARES Act, the current unemployment insurance program provides an additional $600 weekly benefit on top of the state’s benefit. It is set to expire on July 31. Do you believe Congress should extend the additional $600 benefit?

Question: Should the state direct a higher allocation of CARES Act funding to women or minority-owned businesses?

“This sounds like an opportunity for virtue signaling more than one for policy. We should already be fixing inequalities in the economy through a broad range of policy, we shouldn't need a pandemic to do that. The issue isn't that they aren't being targeted to receive more help, it is that they are systematically excluded at a higher rate from the current help and franchises and mid-sized companies are disproportionately taking advantage of the assistance. Do I want this situation to change? Absolutely. Talking about it like a handout ignores the multitude of ways we are actively disinvesting from minority communities and leads to policy that looks like throwing woefully insufficient symbolic aid in avoidance of the needed structural change to the economy and government priorities in general.”

Question: Do you believe Americans should receive a second $1,200 Economic Impact Payment, otherwise known as a stimulus check?

“More, but also if we had a job guarantee program we could still where possible be having people work safe jobs to provide necessary services and fitting schools/etc. with safety and distancing protocols and protective gear.”

Question: Considering the pandemic, do you believe K-12 classrooms should reopen in the fall?

“I would need more information and the discussion of public health individuals. Based on my current understanding- schools should not open in person in the fall unless there are significant protocols in place to protect the health of the kids and their families.”

Question: Should parents be given the option of virtual classes for their children?

All surveyed candidates answered "Yes."

Question: If students return to the classroom in fall 2020, do you believe they should be required to wear masks?

“If the conditions are bad enough that all kids needed to wear masks every day, it seems that virtual schooling would be preferable, and given the hygiene of the average child I doubt masks would do the job. If such a rule was instituted the masks would need to be provided for the children- many are from homes that cannot or will not provide them.”

Health Care

Question: Do you support the repeal of the Affordable Care Act?

“The ACA is better than nothing in that it protects against discrimination based on pre- existing conditions and allows children to stay on their parents' insurance longer. On the other hand, private insurance companies go against the goals of increased quality of care, choice, competition, fair tax treatment, and decreased costs. I support Medicare for All as a considerably more efficient alternative that provides more healthcare at a lower cost, allows us to choose between providers based on quality of care, not what deals they got with our insurance company, and gives us peace of mind to not have the hassle of arguing with insurance and billing departments during the most difficult and tragic moments of our lives.”

“Health care should not be government run, let the free market do its job. Get the government out of it and we will see better results at a lower cost.”


Question: Mark the mandates you support. Any mandate left unmarked will indicate you do not support it unless you check "Prefer not to answer."

Brian MatlockDave LindstromDerek EllisLance Berland
Must be performed by licensed physician
Must be performed in a hospital after a specified point in pregnancy
Gestational limits
State funding for abortions when the woman's life is in danger
State funding for abortions when the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest
Coverage by private insurance
Individual health care providers can refuse to participate
Public institutions can refuse to perform abortions
Private or religious institutions can refuse to perform abortions
State-mandated counseling before an abortion
Waiting period between counseling and the procedure
Ban all abortions
Prefer not to answer

Additional comments:

“I am trying to form a new coalition between good neighbor Republicans and common sense socialists. We start from different places on this issue, but we have an immense area of overlap at this point in history. One of the primary reasons other than health-related that people make the decision to terminate the pregnancy is because of poverty. They feel desperate and cannot imagine taking care of a child. No one should feel they have to make a decision about whether or not to start a family based on financial desperation. Many of the most effective policies at actually reducing the abortion rate are supportive policies- family leave, universal healthcare, child care etc. Due to our extremely unequal healthcare system, the rates of infant mortality and deaths of mothers is increasing in low income categories and is one of the highest rates in any OECD countries. This is inconsistent with a culture that values life. Abortions currently are considerably higher in poor minority and rural communities which show some of the deep underlying issues surrounding abortion. I want to reduce the abortion rate through supportive policies that address many of the underlying issues of gender and economic inequities rather than through punitive measures. Aside from ardently addressing the underlying contributing factors in abortion--I believe abortions should be safe, affordable, and accessible. I have had a family member and a friend both need an abortion for medical reasons- they wanted a child and it was an extremely hard experience, and when people like that have to go a huge distance, pay out of pocket, and go through protesters it is unnecessarily traumatic & difficult in an already difficult time. I have been convinced and changed my mind about this issue by hearing stories like theirs- that it is more complicated than I thought and that policies that are punitive & obstructive are not the best path forward. Bodily autonomy is an important right, this creates an uncomfortable tension when one person’s life is biologically dependent upon another person’s life. In the sense of one life being dependent upon another, pregnancy of a fetus it is similar to being an organ donor- I think everyone should do it, it saves lives... but I don't think the government should be able to force people to give one of their kidneys to save someone else's life. It isn't the right decision for everyone health-wise, and at the end of the day even if it saves a life--bodily autonomy is an important right. Similarly, even if you affirm that the baby is a life with rights, as much as their viability depends on the pregnant person, the pregnant person's bodily autonomy should be protected.”

Note: The other three surveyed candidates did not provide additional comments on abortion.


Question: Some cities are now discussing the process of defunding the police. The result would mean reallocating some funding to other forms of public safety and community support, including social services, housing, education and health care. Do you support defunding the police?

“We lock up more people than any country in the world. This is partly because we try to solve way too many of our problems through criminalization and enforcement. This strategy is expensive, it is ineffective, and it makes communities and police officers less safe. This includes how we deal with homelessness, how we deal with antisocial behaviors in children and youth, and how we deal with drug addiction. Each of those have evidence-based alternatives to policing that are far more safe, effective, and cost efficient.”

Question: The Justice in Policing Act of 2020 would implement the following ways to reform policing and hold police officers accountable. Mark the mandates you support. Any mandate left unmarked will indicate you do not support it unless you check "Prefer not to answer."

Brian MatlockDave LindstromDerek EllisLance Berland
Ban racial & religious profiling
Ban no-knock warrants
Ban chokeholds
Mandate data collection on police encounters
Require body cameras
Limit military equipment used by police departments
Streamline federal law to prosecute excessive force
Establish independent prosecutors for police investigations
Prefer not to answer
LGBTQ Rights

Question: Do you believe the 1964 Civil Rights Act should protect gay, lesbian and transgender employees from discrimination based on sex?

  • Yes, with no exclusions
  • Yes, excluding religious-based organizations
  • No

“Men and women of all races and creeds are already protected.”

“I don’t believe transgender.”

Question: Should federal law protect LGBTQ people from discrimination when it comes to health care and health insurance?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Sometimes, depending on the medical treatment or procedure


Question: The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled in favor of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. Do you agree or disagree with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision?

“SCOTUS did not rule on the merits of DACA, it ruled against how the Trump Administration ended it. It’s time to stop rewarding the felonious act of illegal entry into the United States - which is exactly what DACA does for illegal aliens.”

Question: Mark the mandates you support. Any mandate left unmarked will indicate you do not support it unless you check "Prefer not to answer."

Dave LindstromDerek EllisLance BerlandBrian Matlock
Repealing criminal penalties for people apprehended while crossing the border
Banning sanctuary cities
Extending the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border
Increasing funding for the U.S.-Mexico border
Eliminating the Visa lottery
Implementing a merit-based entry system
Creating a path to citizenship for the current undocumented immigrants in the U.S.
Eliminating family detention for asylum-seekers while their claims are being processed
Limiting family detention for asylum-seekers while their claims are being processed
Prefer not to answer

Additional comments:

“We need to change our orientation from a scarcity mindset to one of abundance. It is so beautiful when immigrants become part of our country, it is a big part of the dream of this country. They aren't coming to take away our jobs, healthcare, etc- they can be healthcare providers, job creators, food producers. People are our greatest resource and if we dream big and make preparations we can welcome them and build a beautiful future together. We have nothing to gain by incarcerating and punishing the many who are here, working hard, and are valuable parts of our community.”

Note: The other three surveyed candidates did not provide additional comments.

Question: Should undocumented immigrants be covered under a government-run health plan?

  • Yes, all undocumented immigrants
  • Some, but not all (depending on the circumstances)
  • No

Final Thoughts

Question: What is the most important issue of this election?

“Career politicians. Constitutionality.”

“I hear about three things more than others. According to the people, it is Government restraint from its overreach. Term limits for our elected Representatives. Defending the right to Life, for all people, from conception to natural death.”

“The economy. The stimulus for the epidemic is set to expire this month. While insufficient, it has been keeping the economy on life support. All of the ongoing problems--40 years of increasing healthcare, housing, and education costs with stagnant wages--is going to hit us like a ton of bricks. As the economic pressure increases we are going to see the far more people unable to pay for insurance and medical care, unable to repay student loans, and unable to pay rent. We need dramatic action so that we do not reopen our economy into a great depression.”

“The economy.”