Nearly a decade of devastating economic policies and declining opportunities have driven people away from Kansas. In fact, the Kansas Health Foundation recently reported the annual growth rate in the working age population in Kansas is projected to be half that of the U.S. (from 2014 to 2064). As your state Senator, Rachel Willis will work alongside Governor Kelly, her colleagues in the Senate and House, and our local governments to change this projection.
Rachel will work hard to ensure hardworking Kansans have what they need to successfully live, work, and raise a family right here in Kansas. This means supporting fair, commonsense economic policies as well as working to improve quality of life through access to affordable healthcare, continued investments in education at all levels, a comprehensive transportation plan, and long term strategies to protect the environment for generations to come.
Kansas has the highest sales tax on food in the nation when combined with local sales tax rates. Additionally, property taxes have skyrocketed over the past decade. These taxes make it more difficult for hardworking Kansas to provide for their families and for seniors on fixed incomes to stay in their homes. Rachel will fight for fair tax policies that restore the balance and reduce the burden on those who need it most.
Rachel has spent her career working in nonprofit management. She understands the value of every penny and the importance of saving for emergencies. As state Senator, she will be just as dedicated to using taxpayer dollars wisely to benefit all Kansans. The state needs to have a balanced budget while supporting our citizens so they can thrive.
Rachel is committed to supporting responsible policies that align with the vision and strategic plan of Governor Kelly and Commerce Secretary David Toland to attract, retain, and grow businesses in Kansas.
Rachel will ensure that the KDOT bank closes for good. Too many times the highway fund was raided, and the results are obvious when we drive on our state’s roads. Our roads are a fundamental piece of our infrastructure and require adequate funding. Not only do they bring business into the state, they create good-paying jobs for Kansas workers. Rachel believes investing in a long-term transportation plan must be a top priority.
Rachel believes mental healthcare needs to be just as much of a priority as physical healthcare. Veterans, farmers, children and youth, and those who are in our criminal justice system need more resources and support to treat addiction, prevent suicide, and address other stressors. Rachel will be a strong advocate to see that more resources and supports are provided to our most vulnerable Kansans.
Expanding Medicaid provides nearly 150,000 Kansans with access to healthcare, it helps keep hospitals and clinics open, and it creates jobs. Unlike tax cuts, which removes dollars from the state treasury in hope that new jobs and revenues will be created, Medicaid expansion dollars will go to work in our state on day one.
It is estimated that by 2030 there will be a global shortage of more than 15 million public healthcare workers. As the aging population in Kansas grows, the demand for a quality workforce will become even more of a critical piece to Kansas offering a high quality of life. Rachel will prioritize these workforce demands by supporting adequate investments in programs that recruit and train healthcare professionals.
Rachel recognizes and applauds the work that Governor Kelly and the 2019 Legislature accomplished in restoring adequate and equitable funding for K-12 schools. However, there is still more work to be done to ensure adequate investments continue to be made in education at all levels — from early childhood education programs to K-12 to higher education and career and technical training programs.
Kansas has a long history of being on the morally right side of equality: joining the Union as a free state in 1861; becoming the first state in the nation to allow women to vote in school board and municipal elections; ending school segregation with the landmark Brown v. Board of Education case. Rachel is proud to have these Kansas values. She believes Topeka — and all of Kansas — needs to be a place where not only all are welcome, but where everyone has the same opportunities to thrive and feel loved.
Kansas needs to be forward thinking and embrace policies that will protect our environment for centuries to come. Maintaining clean water, exploring wind energy and other sustainability policies needs our immediate attention. Rachel understands the urgency with these issues and will be proactive in working with community leaders to find sustainable solutions.