Kansas Common Sense
February 14, 2010
Welcome to “Kansas Common Sense.”
After the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, it became clear we must protect our nation and its vulnerable food supply. Unfortunately, it has been nearly 10 years since the attacks of 9/11, and we still have not built a modern, safe, world-class research laboratory capable of protecting against attacks on our food supply. This week I joined Sen. Pat Roberts in introducing a resolution to recognize the importance of biosecurity and agro-defense to America’s national and economic security. The National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility to be built in Manhattan, Kansas will serve as our nation’s premier research center to improve and protect our country’s food supply. Click here to read the full text of the resolution.
On Friday evening, I had the unique opportunity to introduce both former Sen. Bill Bradley and former Speaker Newt Gingrich, who were the guest speakers at the Salina Chamber of Commerce’s annual banquet. Both distinguished leaders gave insightful comments on the future of education in our country and how to ensure American students remain competitive. Special thanks to Chairman Larry Fief, incoming Chairman Todd Davidson, Chamber President Dennis Lauver, Senior Vice President Don Weiser, and the Chamber staff for making the special event possible. Their hard work throughout the year enhances the Salina community and makes it a better place to call home. Click here to view a photo from the event.
This week I met with leaders from Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, including Dr. Venida Chenault, vice president of academy affairs; Clyde Peacock, vice president of university services; Stephen Prue, executive assistant to the president; Patrick Freeland, student senate president; and Ordell Joe, American Indian college fund student of the year. The university is home to more than 900 students from 140 tribes and 40 states. We discussed the issues facing students and administration, as well as some of the challenges unique to Haskell. Through a variety of academic programs, the school aims to prepare American Indian and Alaska Native scholars for future leadership and service opportunities. I enjoyed getting acquainted with them and look forward to working with Haskell Indian Nations University in the future. Click here to view a photo from my visit.
Delivering Keynote Address at Ellsworth Chamber
On Saturday evening, I was pleased to deliver the keynote address at the Ellsworth Chamber of Commerce annual banquet. We have many wonderful communities in Kansas and Ellsworth is certainly one of them. Because of local leadership and citizen involvement good things have and will happen. Ellsworth is a rural community on the move with good schools, quality health and senior care, a solid business community and viable agriculture. There is historic downtown, a state prison and expanding wind energy development as well as a new steakhouse. I appreciated the opportunity to visit with attendees about how we create a bright future for the citizens of Ellsworth and all Kansans. What happens in Washington, D.C. matters – but where we really make a difference is in our home towns. I’m glad to see so many good things going on in Ellsworth.
former interns from my office –Allie Denning and Molly Bircher – were in the
audience. It was an honor to present Molly’s mother, Nancy, with this year’s
Ellsworth Chamber Citizen of the Year award in recognition of the selfless work
she does at the Ellsworth Good Samaritan Society. Thanks to Chamber Director
Nick Slechta and the entire board, including Board President Margaret “Mugs”
Bourne and banquet master of ceremonies, Dr. Kurt Williams, for their hard work
to make Saturday’s event possible. Click here to view a photo from my
On Friday, I toured Clifton-Clyde High School, part of USD 224 Clifton-Clyde School District, which was recognized by the Kansas House of Representatives as the highest performing academic school district in Kansas in 2009. During my visit, I also learned Clifton-Clyde High School is among the top performing high schools in the state and has been recognized as the 2010 Kansas Green School of the Year by Kansas Green Schools and the Kansas Association of Conservation and Environmental Education.
The impressive record of the Clifton-Clyde School District reflects upon the outstanding effort of the faculty, staff and administration to produce young Kansans who possess the necessary tools for success. We are fortunate to have such talented administrators and teachers involved in the education of our young people. It was a pleasure to visit Clifton-Clyde and learn of the many successes of the school district, and the many challenges we face in K-12 education. Thanks to USD 224 Superintendent Brian Pekarek for his kindness and hospitality during my visit. Click here for a photo of my visit.
Yesterday evening, I joined Dr. Chapman Rackaway,
Associate Professor of Political Science at Fort Hays State University, on Smoky
Hills Public TV (SHPTV) to take calls from Kansans. Several Kansans called in
with questions on variety of different topics, including the new health care
law, government spending and debt, caring for our nation’s veterans, education
and the revamping the tax code. I appreciated the opportunity to answer
questions from Kansans and I will keep your concerns in mind as I return to
Washington this week. Thanks to SHPTV staff and the volunteers from the Russell
VFW Post 6240 for their help running the cameras. Click here to view a photo of me with VFW
Upcoming Senate Banking
This Thursday, I will join my new colleagues on the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs for the first hearing of this year. During the hearing, we will be given an update on the implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act, a financial regulatory reform bill that was passed last year. Members of the panel will include: The Honorable Ben S. Bernanke, Chairman, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; The Honorable Sheila Bair, Chairman, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; The Honorable Mary Schapiro, Chairman, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission; The Honorable Gary Gensler, Chairman, Commodity Futures Trading Commission; and Mr. John Walsh, Acting Comptroller of the Currency, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. The hearing will be webcast live, so if you are interested in following along, click here to watch on Thursday at 9am (CST).
I continued my listening tour this week and hosted
five town halls in the following counties: Franklin, Osage, Phillips, Cloud and
Ottawa. Dozens of residents came to share their thoughts with me on a wide
variety of topics, including the direction our country is headed, the new health
care law, our country’s national security strategy and our rapidly increasing
national debt. I share many of their concerns and strongly believe we must rein
in out-of-control spending before it causes even more damage to the prosperity
of future generations. I appreciated how many residents came to meet with me –
especially given the snow this week across much of Kansas. Thanks to the many
individuals who helped arrange the details of my visits: Tom Weigand of the
Ottawa Chamber of Commerce in Franklin county; Barb Schattak, Carolyn Wilson,
Julie Stutzman and the City of Lyndon in Osage County; Paula Schilowsky and the
staff of the Huck Boyd Community Center in Phillips County; Irene Brown of
Concordia in Cloud County; and Paula Baccus in Minneapolis of Ottawa County.
Click here to view photos from my
During the week of February 21st, the Senate will not be in session in observance of President’s Day on Monday. So I will be back in Kansas to continue my statewide listening tour throughout the state. Please find more information about my upcoming town hall meetings below. If you’re nearby, I encourage you to stop by to share your thoughts.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Anderson County Listening Tour Stop
Location: Town Hall Center
Address: 125 W. 5th Avenue, Garnett, KS
Time: 12:00-1:00 p.m.
Neosho County Listening Tour Stop
Location: The Brickhaus
Address: 202 N. Main Street, Erie, KS
Time: 2:30-3:30 p.m.
Crawford County Listening Tour Stop
Location: Girard Public Library
Room: Lower level
Address: 128 W. Prairie Avenue, Girard, KS
Time: 4:00-5:00 p.m.
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Bourbon County Listening Tour Stop
Location: Fort Scott High School, Media Room
Address: 1005 S. Main, Fort Scott, KS
Time: 8:30-9:30 a.m.
Linn County Listening Tour Stop
Location: F&M Community Hall
Address: 5th and Main, Mound City, KS
Time: 10:00-11:00 a.m.
One of the things I enjoy most is meeting with Kansans
who have traveled to Washington to see their capital city and share their
thoughts and concerns with me. This week we had several
visitors in the Washington, D.C., office from across the state including:
Shawnee County District Attorney
Children’s Mercy Family Health
Pittsburg State University
National School Boards
Kansas State University College of
University of Kansas School of
Wichita State University College of
Kansas Medical Society
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas
Gene and Barbara Burnett Burn Center at the University
of Kansas Hospital
National Cooperative Refinery
Sunflower Electric Power Corporation
Dalton Hermes of Kansas City
Scott Anglemyer of Shawnee
Karen Griffin of Olathe
Wendell Maddox of Kansas City
Dr. Marvin Hunt of Baldwin City
University of Kansas School of Medicine in Kansas City
American Dietetic Association
Erin Laurie of Ottawa
Carol Gilmore of Lawrence
Laura Gomez of Shawnee
|Down Syndrome Guild of Greater Kansas City
Amy Allison of Shawnee Mission
Bridget Murphy of Leawood
Lee Jones of Kansas City
National Down Syndrome Society
Community Anti-Drug Coalition of America
Regional Prevention Center of Wyandotte
Leavenworth, KS, AFL-CIO Local 919
American Veterinary Medical Association
American Bakers Association
Kansas National Education Association
Kimberly Howard of Wichita
Bob Thesman of Overland Park
Kansas Health Care Association
Cindy Luxem of Topeka
Greater Kansas City LISC
Ashley Jones-Wisner of Kansas City
Julie Porter of Kansas City
Kansas Bioscience Authority
Tom Thornton of Olathe
Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers
Nancy Mellard of Leawood
Ryan Wilkerson of Mission Hills
Gary Shorman of Hays
Builders Development Corp
Michael Snodgrass of Kansas City
Kansas Farm Bureau
It is an honor to serve you in Washington, D.C. Please let me know how I can be of assistance. To send me an email, click here. You can also click here to contact me through one of my Kansas offices or my Washington, D.C., office.
Very truly yours,
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