Kansas Common Sense
Welcome to “Kansas Common Sense.” Thanks for your continued interest in receiving my weekly newsletter. Please feel free to forward it on to your family and friends if it would interest them.
Spring Hill and Overland Park Chamber Meetings
On Monday, I spoke at the Spring Hill Chamber of Commerce luncheon. Conversations with chamber members included a variety of topics such as the Omnibus appropriations bill, reducing regulatory burdens, and how to grow the economy and create jobs. I also enjoyed visiting with Spring Hill High School Social Studies Teacher Nacole Boan and her students who shared their views on education issues. Thanks to Spring Hill Chamber Executive Director Ann Jensen for invitation. Click here to see a photo.
This week, I also had the opportunity to meet with the Overland Park Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Past Chairs and Government Affairs Committee. We discussed a myriad of topics including infrastructure funding, regulatory reform, reducing the deficit, entrepreneurship and fiscal responsibility. I appreciated their input and will continue working to create an environment where their businesses can succeed. Click here to see a photo.
Pictured with me here (left to right) is Chairman of the Board Jim Holland, Government Affairs Chair Tom Robinett, President Tracey Osborne and Vice President of Government Affairs Jennifer Bruning.
Breakfast with Kansas Skilled Nursing and Assisted Living Providers
On Tuesday morning I attended a breakfast reception in Shawnee with members of the Kansas Health Care Association/Kansas Center for Assisted Living Association at Sharon Lane Health Services in Shawnee. KHCA is an association of long-term and post-acute care providers, and Sharon Lane Health Services provides a first-rate skilled nursing environment. They are resident-centered and attempt to accommodate the needs of each resident. The breakfast was a good opportunity for me to visit with health providers caring for Kansans in skilled nursing and assisted living facilities across our state.
During the meeting, I learned about KHCA’s coordinated effort to improve the quality of care in Kansas skilled nursing facilities by setting and striving for measurable goals in specific areas of care. The objectives of this voluntary initiative are to improve the lives of patients while also reducing health care costs. We also discussed some of the challenges skilled nursing and assisted living providers face due to the administrative burden of various regulations and reduced Medicare/Medicaid reimbursements for providing elderly and disabled Kansans complex medical and rehabilitative care. Thanks to KHCA President/CEO Cindy Luxem for inviting me to this breakfast. Thanks to Harry and Connie Baum of Sharon Lane Health Services for hosting the event.
March for Life
For 40 years, Americans have come to Washington from across the country to walk in support of the inalienable right to life. This year, more than 400 students — one-quarter of the student body —from Benedictine College in Atchison led the tens-of-thousands of pro-life marchers who braved the frigid temperatures. They were joined by joined by about 30 students from Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Emporia State University in Emporia, and Newman University. Hundreds of Kansas high school students and their chaperones also made the 48-hour round-trip bus ride to advocate for the inherent dignity of every human life. Click here to see a photo.
Visiting Ransom Memorial Hospital in Ottawa
On Monday, I traveled to Franklin County to tour Ransom Memorial Hospital (RMH) in Ottawa. I always appreciate the opportunity to learn more about the challenges health care providers are encountering in the delivery of health care in Kansas communities. RMH has been serving the residents of Franklin County and the surrounding area since 1931, and provides a wide range of health services including emergency, cardiac rehabilitation, surgery, rehabilitation therapy, audiology and laboratory services.
During my visit, we discussed concerns with federal regulations that fail take into account the realities of providing care in small, rural hospitals. We also discussed the serious challenges RMH faces due to Affordable Care Act Medicare cuts, the costs and inflexibility associated with CMS’ electronic health records incentive program, and unnecessarily onerous Medicare audit regulations. All these issues significantly impact the financial well-being of Kansas hospitals, potentially jeopardizing their ability to sufficiently serve their communities. Thanks to Dr. John Gollier and Dr. Rodney McCalla for the valuable discussion, to RMH CEO Larry Felix for hosting me, and to Executive Secretary Jody Sylvester for coordinating my visit.
Visiting with Kansas State Farm Agents
This week, I enjoyed visiting with Kansas State Farm Insurance agents about several legislative efforts pending in Congress that would more appropriately regulate the insurance industry. Thanks to State Farm Public Affairs Specialist Tamara O’Conner for the invitation to meet with agents Jim LaDuke, Debbie Swinney, Charlie Hughes, Mark Berquiest, Julie Stoll and Nazyrah Rogers.
Honoring Russ Meyer as Recipient of Wichita Aero Club Trophy
On Saturday, I had the honor of helping present the 2013 Wichita Aero Club Trophy to Cessna Chairman Emeritus, Russ Meyer. For nearly 40 years, Mr. Meyer was considered by many to be the “face” of Wichita’s aviation industry. As the CEO of Cessna for more than 25 years, he was instrumental in the company’s significant growth and success. Mr. Meyer not only led Cessna to new heights, but his leadership as the chairman of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association has been regarded as the most far-reaching and effective in the history of general aviation. Mr. Meyer’s passions include his ongoing work in the Wichita community and his role as a husband, father and grandfather. Mr. Meyer is well respected for his professional abilities, but also admired for his compassion and commitment to helping others succeed.
The Wichita Aero Club exists to foster and promote interest in aviation, provide a forum that focuses on the industry’s issues and achievements, and bring together those with a passion for flight in an environment that expands and enhances professional relationships. Congrats again to Mr. Meyer on this achievement. Click here to see a photo.
Discussing Current Mideast Initiatives in Congress
Monday, I gave remarks at the Republican Jewish Coalition in Leawood. We discussed the recent negotiations with Iran and my co-sponsorship of the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act. The goal of the legislation is to implement new sanctions if Iran fails to comply with the Joint Plan of Action or refuses to reach a final agreement. As of this week, this legislation has 59 cosponsors in the Senate. Other topics of discussion included the costs of Obamacare and Congress’ efforts to balance the federal budget. Thanks to David and Mrs. Seldner for hosting this event.
Sedgwick County Listening Tour Stop
On Saturday, I held another Kansas Listening Tour stop in Cheney. More than 75 folks stopped by to discuss executive branch overreach, veteran and military issues, over burdensome regulations, and the need for Republicans and Democrats to work together. Thanks for the good dose of Kansas common sense. Here, I’m pictured with Cheney native and American Legion member Alan Nye. Click here to see a photo.
I appreciate these opportunities to hear from Kansans. Please see below a listing of upcoming Listening Tour stops that may be in your area.
Friday, Feb. 7 at 10:15 a.m.
Friday, Feb. 7 at 2 p.m.
Kansans in the Office
James Reding of Atchison
Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas
Maureen Mahoney of Kansas City
Mayor Mark Holland of Kansas City
Kansas Breastfeeding Coalition, Inc.
Brenda Bandy of Manhattan
Honored to Serve You in Washington
It is an honor to serve you in Washington, D.C. Thank you to the many Kansans who have been calling and writing in to share their thoughts and opinions on the issues our state and country face. I appreciate the words of Kansans, whether in the form of a form of letter, a Facebook comment or a phone call, who wish to make their voice heard.
Very truly yours,
Note: Fields marked with an * are required.