Kansas Common Sense

Kansas Common Sense
By U.S. Senator Jerry Moran
March 14, 2011

 Dear Friend, 

Welcome to “Kansas Common Sense.” Thank you for your continued interest in receiving my weekly newsletter. Please feel free to forward it on to your family and friends if you think it would interest them as well.

Maiden Speech: Preserving Kansas Way of Life for Next Generation

From the Senate’s earliest days, new members have observed the tradition of not joining floor debates for a period of time – ranging from several months to several years – until they have given their first speech. So it was a distinct honor to join my colleagues on the Senate floor this week to deliver my maiden speech about an issue of critical importance to our future – our nation’s fiscal health.

Our country is facing enormous fiscal challenges and if we fail to act, our children’s future will be at risk. In just the last two years, government spending has grown nearly 25 percent and we’ve had record trillion dollar budget deficits. Today, our government borrows 40 cents of every dollar it spends and our national debt has soared to more than $14 trillion. Common sense tells us this pattern cannot continue.

The debate about government spending in Washington is often seen as a philosophical or academic issue, but the truth is this out-of-control borrowing and spending has very real consequences on Americans’ daily lives. When we continually fail to balance the budget, it means increasing inflation, higher interest rates, and uncertainty in the economy – resulting in less business investment and fewer jobs.

As I humbly begin my new responsibilities, I remain committed to leading with Kansas common sense, and to making the tough choices necessary today, so that tomorrow—and every day thereafter—our children and grandchildren can live in an America that provides them the opportunity to dream big and pursue those dreams. If I am successful, I will have fulfilled my responsibilities as a parent, just like my mom and dad, and as an American who believes our country’s better and brighter days lie ahead. Click here to watch my speech on the Senate floor and to read the full text of the speech.

Deficit Cuts Standoff Continues in Washington

On Wednesday, I voted in favor of passing legislation to reduce the federal government’s spending for the rest of the current fiscal year by a total of $61 billion, and against the alternative proposal of only $6.5 billion in cuts. Both measures failed to receive the necessary votes for passage, leaving Washington in a continued standoff when it comes to reducing spending and restoring prosperity – the most important issue of our generation.

Kansans may be looking at this debate and thinking “Politicians in Washington are just arguing one more time about an issue they don’t agree on.” But this is much more significant than a typical political fight; this is about the future of our country, the standard of living Americans enjoy, and whether or not there will be an American dream to be lived by our kids and grandkids.

The $4 billion two-week continuing resolution currently keeping our government from shutting down expires on March 18th, but I stand ready to make the tough decision this situation demands and hope the Democrats and President Obama come to the table with a serious proposal.

We need to get the issue of last year’s spending behind us so we can do the real work of adopting a budget to reduce the deficit next year and into the future. Click here to watch my interview on Fox News Channel on this debate.

Subcommittee Hearing to Review USDA’s 2012 Budget Proposal

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies held a hearing on Thursday to review the President’s Fiscal Year 2012 Budget for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Witnesses included Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, as well as Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan; Joseph Glauber, USDA’s chief economist; and Michael Young, USDA’s budget officer.

During the hearing, I asked Secretary Vilsack about how USDA intends to spend funds allocated under the Agriculture Food Research Initiative (AFRI), which is USDA’s competitive grant agriculture research program. Given limited resources, it is important USDA fund research projects that will have the greatest impact on agriculture. I am concerned USDA has lost its focus on production agriculture and is channeling funding away from important projects like plant disease resistance and crop genomic research. I will continue my dialogue with the Secretary to ensure USDA remains focused on research that will help farmers feed the world.

Robust Enforcement of Sanctions is Necessary

For the second time in a week, I wrote Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday about the urgent need for the State Department to enforce U.S. sanctions against Iran. Nine other members of the Senate joined me in expressing bipartisan support for the secretary to use the full measure of U.S. economic, diplomatic and political power to thwart Iranian nuclear ambitions.

My colleagues and I identified a number of foreign companies and banks that are believed to be doing business in Iran in violation of U.S. law. We asked Secretary Clinton to update us on State Department investigations of these and other firms by March 29 – a deadline set by legislation I supported last year that is now law.

Failure to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons capability holds great danger for the United States and our allies who are in range of Iranian missiles. Emboldened by the nuclear backing of Iran, terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah could launch more aggressive attacks that would further destabilize an already shaken Middle East. Robust enforcement of sanctions is the best tool we have to persuade Iran to end its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Moran’s Memo: New Bi-Weekly Column

In an effort to provide more information about my work in Washington, I have begun writing a twice-monthly column called “Moran’s Memo.” The column is published in various newspapers throughout our state and highlights issues that have an impact on the daily lives of Kansans. I will continue to send my weekly e-mail newsletter, recently renamed “Kansas Common Sense,” but “Moran’s Memo” is intended to provide more in-depth coverage of a particular topic. If you’d like to read the most recent column, check out your local newspaper or click here. If you’d like to sign up for my weekly e-newsletter, please click here.

Japan: Our Thoughts and Prayers Are With You

I join Kansans in offering my sincere condolences for the loss of life and damage caused by the earthquake and tsunamis in Japan. Japanese officials confirmed have 2,800 are dead and thousands more are missing. Hundreds of thousands of people are struggling to find food and water, and some 1.9 million households are without electricity.

The U.S. Government has offered immediate disaster relief assistance, and is working closely with the Government of Japan to provide additional help. U.S. consular officers in Japan and the United States are working to gather information and assist U.S. citizens in Japan who may have been affected by the earthquake.

Searching for Loved Ones:

  • If you are aware of a U.S. citizen in Japan in need of emergency consular assistance, please e-mail JapanEmergencyUSC@state.gov with detailed information about their location and contact information.
  • If you are concerned about a specific loved one in Japan you have been unable to locate, you can use that same e-mail address, JapanEmergencyUSC@state.gov. Please also send an update if you have information that your loved one is safe. Although telephone lines may be disrupted, the U.S. Department of State encourages you to try contacting your loved one by email, text (SMS) message, or other social media (Facebook, MySpace, Linked In, Twitter, etc.) that your loved one may use.
  • If you have a loved one assigned to a U.S. military installation in Japan, know that the U.S. military reports all personnel have been accounted for, and there are no reports of injuries. You may call 1-800-342-9647 or send an email to Mosdrt@militaryonesource.com to inquire about your loved one or contact the individual unit command directly for more specific information.
  • If you have concerns about a specific Japanese citizen who may be affected by the earthquake and tsunami, please contact the Japanese Embassy in Washington by calling 1-202-238-6700, or the nearest Consulate.

Donating to Japan Relief Efforts

Many Kansans are looking for ways to help those impacted by the disaster in Japan. Click here for a State Department-approved list of all the organizations accepting donations for earthquake and tsunami relief efforts. You can also find information on that list about how to make a $10 donation to many of the organizations from your mobile phone by sending a text message, including the American Red Cross. The donation will appear on your cell phone bill.

Please click here to read an article of interest on who to give to, what to give, and how to avoid scams.

Stopping by Collyer’s Fish Fry

During the season of Lent, the Collyer Community Alliance will be hosting a fish fry each Friday through April 22, at the American Legion on Main Street in Collyer. Robba and I stopped by this past Friday evening to visit with local residents over dinner. Proceeds from the fish fry go to benefit the Collyer Community Alliance, a Kansas non-profit organization. Upcoming dates include: March 18 and 25 and April 1, 8, 15 and 22. Click here to view a photo from the event.

Attending 1A State Basketball Tournament in Hays

On Saturday, I joined Kansas basketball fans for the first-ever 1A Division II Boys’ and Girls’ State Championship games at Gross Memorial Coliseum in Hays. On the girls side, the undefeated Argonia Lady Raiders took on the Hutchinson Central Christian Lady Cougars, who had just one loss on the season entering the championship game.  In a hard fought match, Argonia went on to win the match 69-41. Over the past three seasons, the Lady Raiders have a combined record of 78-2. Congratulations to Coach Dixie Brewster, the Lady Raiders and fans for yet another outstanding season. On the boys’ side, the Tribune-Greeley County Jackrabbits took on the Hope Lions. Hope jumped out to an early lead and entered the fourth quarter with a ten point lead. But in the fourth quarter, the Jackrabbits overcame adversity, starting the quarter on a 13-0 run to take the lead. Tribune-Greeley County went on to win in impressive fashion, 42-35.  Congratulations to Coach Jeff Starkey and the Jackrabbits for the exciting victory and a great season. Thanks to KSHSAA for allowing me the chance to hand out medals and congratulate the teams.

Statewide Listening Tour

I continued my listening tour this week as I visited with residents of Rush County on Saturday before their 22nd annual St. Patrick’s Day parade in Rush Center. It was a great opportunity to catch up with old friends and make some new ones. We talked about a range of issues including the rise in gas prices, increased government spending and issues affecting rural Kansans. I also joined residents in the St. Patrick’s Day parade and appreciate Mike Pivonka for driving me through the parade. Click here to see a photo of this event.

Upcoming Stops

This month, I will be continuing my statewide listening tour. 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.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Harvey County Listening Tour Stop (hosted by Kiwanis Club)

Location: Charlie’s Restaurant, Newell Truck Plaza

Address: 200 Manchester Avenue, Newton, KS

Time: 12:30-1:00 p.m.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

McPherson County Listening Tour Stop (hosted by Kiwanis Club)

Location: Perkins Restaurant

Address: 2111 E. Kansas Avenue, McPherson, KS

Time: 12:00-1:00 p.m.


Saline County Listening Tour Stop

Location: Bicentennial Center, room 201

Address: 800 The Midway, Salina, KS

Time: 9:30-10:30 a.m.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Sherman County Listening Tour Stop

Location: Western State Bank

Address: 815 Center St., Goodland, KS

Time: 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. (MST)


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Shawnee County Listening Tour Stop (hosted by Topeka Chamber of Commerce)

Location: Holiday Inn

Address: 605 SW Fairlawn, Topeka, KS

Time: 12:00-1:00 p.m.

In the Office

This week we had several visitors in the Washington, D.C., office from across the state. Click here to view some photos of these groups.

Many Kansans stopped by this week for a tour of the United States Capitol including Chad Carson, Maria Dikin and Juan Rosales of Emporia; Timothy and Susan Norton of Haysville; Park Fred and Peggy Emmerson of Ft. Scott; James and Joyce Stratford of Pratt; Craig and Suzanne Cooper of Hoxie; Cory Kistler of Colby; Cameron and Katherine Edwards of Oakley; Dan and Lori Sowers of St. Francis; Les and Sandy Regier of Olathe; Cory, Tami and Macy Scott of Perry; Ron and Alex Fehr and Megan Sramek of Manhattan; Dr. Fergus Thornton, Anne Serrano and Greg Lagana of Benton; Shane and Andrea Knoll of Holcomb; Craig Pringle of Winfield; and Dan and Lori Sowers of Bird City. In from Overland Park were: Jason, Gina, Brooklyn, Jordan, Kailyn and Colton Colburn; Marshall, Susan, Laura and Elaina Parker and Kara Galbraith; Shawn, Alison, Samuel and Chloe Long; Brian, Gail, Gabrielle and Garrett Gunnerson; and Elizabeth Markway.  

National Association for College Admission Counseling

Debi Hudson of Leawood


American Osteopathic Association

Gregg Silberg of Leawood


Kansas Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators

Donna Carter of Wichita

Brenda Hicks of Winfield


Kansas National Science Foundation Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research  

Dr. Kristin Bowman of Lawrence

Doug Byers of Lawrence

James Guikema of Manhattan

Dr. Tianshi Lu of Wichita


Kansas Respiratory Care Society

Debbie Fox of Wichita

Karen Schell of Emporia

Susanne Bollig of Hays


Healthy Babies / Mother & Child Health Coalition

Susan Wilson of Wichita

Jean Craig of Kansas City

Tyrone Yarbrough of Kansas City

Corrine Roberts of Kansas City


Flight Colorectal Cancer

Doug Sharp of Prairie Village


Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities

Shawn Fiskin of Lawrence

Amy Nelson of Lawrence

Jeffrey Freeman of Lawrence

Kevin Kuzma of Topeka


Great Comebacks

Tony Bell of Harveyville


Adult Congenital Heart Association

Donita Atkins of Olathe


Kansas PTA

Jackie Waters of Haysville

Nancy Niles Lusk of Overland Park


Kansas State University

Danny Unruh of Manhattan

Sarah Works of Manhattan


Dialysis Patient Citizens

James Michael Guffey of Kansas City


State Health Leadership Initiative

Dr. Robert Moser of Tribune, Secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment


Kansas Funeral Directors Association

Carolyn and Ashley Cozine of Wichita

Darin Bradstreet of Garden City


American Diabetes Association

Susan Sanders of Derby

Marta Howell of Gardner

Mark Stubbs of Shawnee


Johnson County Sheriff’s Office

Captain Bob Keller of Olathe


The S.P.I.R.I.T. of 54

Jack Taylor of Liberal

Max Zimmerman of Hutchinson


Kansas Bike Summit

Jeff Koenig of Manhattan

Michael Ruder of Overland Park

Douglas Polson of Lenexa

Dale Crawford of Olathe

Mark Rainey of Overland Park


Cessna Aircraft

Pat Sullivan of Wichita


Kansas Emergency Management Association

Pam Kemp of Clay Center

Teri Smith of Lawrence

Nick Crossley of Olathe

Charlene Miller of Augusta


Kansas Veterans of Foreign Wars

JT Plummer of Logan

Bob and Jeanette Cox of McPherson

John Berkley of Stockton


Enlisted Association of National Guards of Kansas

Kurt Wassenberg of Abilene


Lockheed Martin

Andy Plyler of Winfield


Spirit AeroSystems

Rufus Forrest of Wichita

Debbie Gann of Wichita

Marwan Hammouri of Wichita


National Active and Retired Federal Employees

Gary Townson of Rose Hill

Cindy Blythe of Burlingame

Louis Bornman of Shawnee


American Medical Student Association

Kahlil Saad of Kansas City

Mindy Ashby of Kansas City


Kansas Association of Agricultural Educators

Russell Plaschka of Moran

Steve Buss of Meriden

Dawn Lindslen of Manhattan


National Trust for Historic Preservation

Vance Kelley of Topeka

Daniel Serda of Topeka

Amy Cole of Topeka


National Parks Service

Elaine Hacket of Topeka


American Postal Workers Union

Darrell Tate of Wichita

Stuart Elliott of Wichita

Ken France of Merriam



Kevin Dobbs of Lawrence


Kansas Small Business Development Center

Greg Panichello of Topeka

Stan Compton of Topeka


National Sunflower Association

Karl Esping of Lindsborg


Kansas Corn Growers Association

Bob Timmons of Fredonia

Ken McCauley of White Cloud

Jere White of Garnett


National Milk Producers Federation Youth Cooperation

David Foster of Ft. Scott

Dan Senestraro of Johnson


Soil Science Society of America

Charles Rice of Manhattan


USDA Farm Service Agency

Brandon Wilson of Waterville

Michael Martin of Ellsworth

Autumn Simmons of Troy

Myron Stroup of Paola


MO-ARK River Basin Association

Stephen Dailey of Kansas City

Deuce Livers of Overland Park

John Patrick of Lenexa


Council of Industrial Boiler Owners

Ajay Kasarabada of Overland Park



Michael Helmstetter of Kansas City


CVR Energy

Gina Bowman of Kansas City


Kwik Shop

Jeff Parker of Hutchinson


National Pawnbrokers Association

Bruce Harris of Wichita


School Nutrition Association

Cindy Jones of Olathe

Glenda Johnston of Gardner

Connie Vogts of Liberal

Elaine Harris of Paola

Pete Linder of Olathe

Cheryl Johnson of Topeka


Sedgwick County Commissioners

Tim Norton of Haysville

Jim Skelton of Wichita


Johnson County Commissioners

Ed Eilert of Overland Park

Ed Peterson of Fairway

Jim Allen of Shawnee

Michael Ashcraft of Olathe

Calvin Hayden of De Soto

Hannes Zacharias of Lenexa

Jason Ostarhros of Overland Park


Leavenworth City Commissioners

Larry Dedeke of Leavenworth

Shay Baker of Leavenworth

Andrea Adkins of Leavenworth

Scott Miller of Leavenworth

John Finan of Leavenworth


Kansas Association of Counties

Randall Allen of Topeka


National Multiple Sclerosis Society

Amy Goldstein of Overland Park

Kay Julian of Prairie Village

Cindy Schaffer of Wichita

Mary Reed of Alma


Salina Area Chamber of Commerce

Dennis Lauver of Salina

Samantha Angell of Salina

Jason Gage of Salina

Rita Deisteo of Salina

Randy Duncan of Brookville

Kristin Gunn of Salina

Dennis Kuhlman of Salina


National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors

Larry Robert Long of Hays


Greater Salina Community Foundation

Betsy Wearing of Salina



Carol Ann Peterson of Kansas City

Kelly Scanlon of Overland Park

Amy Bradshaw of Newton


Kansas Association of Community Action Programs

Tawny Stottlemire of Topeka

Richard Jackson of Ottawa

Katrina Rice of Hiawatha


School Nutrition Association

Cindy Jones of Olathe

Glenda Johnston of Gardner

Connie Vogts of Liberal

Elaine Harris of Paola

Pete Linder of Olathe

Cheryl Johnson of Topeka

Contact Me

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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