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.
This week, Robba and I joined all Kansans in celebrating Thanksgiving with family and friends, and giving thanks for our blessings. I am especially grateful for the service and charitable organizations that support our communities and those in need. I hope you and your families also enjoy time together and have the chance to reflect on all we have to be thankful for – both as Kansans and Americans.
Kansas Listening Tour Continues
This week, I continued my Kansas Listening Tour with five stops in Osage, Shawnee, Wyandotte, Cloud and Republic Counties. The issues I focus on and work I do in Washington, D.C., are largely based on the conversations I have with Kansans. You can check my website for upcoming Kansas Listening Tour stops in your community.
On Monday, about 40 Osage County residents joined me at the Overbrook Public Library to share feedback on a number of issues facing our country, including reform at the Department of Veterans Affairs, education and investment in infrastructure. Residents also shared their concerns about the President’s use of Executive Orders to push his agenda around Congress, and the need for accountability at the EPA and other federal agencies. Thanks to Osage County commissioners, Gaylord Anderson and Kenneth Kuykendall for sharing concerns about the pilot program and its effect in Osage County. Thanks also, to former state Representative Willie Prescott, who continues to serve our state as a liaison for Attorney General Derek Schmidt. Finally, thank you to library director Gaylen Worthington for helping arrange my town hall meeting.
On Monday afternoon, Rep. Lynn Jenkins and I held a joint town hall meeting in Topeka. Nearly 100 Shawnee County residents came out to discuss a number of issues including the Department of Veterans Affairs and mental health, the Affordable Care Act and its impact on jobs and quality of care for Americans, and transportation issues. Thanks to the concerned citizens who attended. Special thanks to Bartlett & West for hosting.
Wednesday morning I conducted a Wyandotte County Town Hall at the Bonner Springs City Library. We discussed immigration, veterans' affairs, education and government overregulation impacting their businesses. I appreciated those who took time to stop by and share their concerns with me. Thanks to Regina Utter with the Bonner Springs Edwardsville Chamber of Commerce for coordinating the meeting.
On Friday, I hosted town hall meetings in Cloud and Republic Counties. My first stop was in Clyde at the Senior Center. About 17 Kansans attended and we had a good discussion about the future of Medicare and concerns about over-regulation of community banks. Thanks to Sherri Douglas for opening up the Senior Center to resdients for my visit.
I then traveled north to Cuba to hear about residents share their concerns abouthealth care, the Department of Veterans Affairs, entrepreneurship and bureaucracy in Washington. The community suffered a great lost recently with the death of Dale Huncovsky, owner of the Cuba Cash Store. Hearing stories about Dale reminded me of what I loved about growing up in rural America – the strong sense of community. I appreciate folks taking away time from family over the Thanksgiving holiday to visit with me and share their thoughts.
Enabling Volunteer Physicians to Serve Veterans
Last Thursday, I introduced the Physician Volunteer Ambassadors Helping Veterans Act to enable volunteer physicians to serve in Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical facilities that are struggling with appointment wait times or staffing shortages. Qualified physicians across the country are willing to give their time and expertise to help alleviate the long waits for veterans at many of the VA medical facilities entrusted with providing care for our nation’s heroes.
Though VA possesses the authority to allow physician volunteers to work in its VA medical facilities, bureaucratic red tape often prevents many physicians from volunteering their services. The Physician Volunteer Ambassadors Helping Veterans will make certain that VA uses its existing authority to support qualified physician volunteers from local communities who would like to dedicate a minimum of 40 volunteer hours per year. Not only will this allow our medical communities to help veterans, but it will ease some of the pressure on permanent VA staff, enabling them to regain their focus on providing quality health care to our veterans.
Touring St. Francis Pathology Lab
On Monday, I visited St. Francis Health in Topeka to tour the hospital’s laboratory, a full-service clinical laboratory providing diagnostic testing in many health areas. The lab examines organs, tissues and other specimens to make a diagnosis of disease. All tests are performed upon the written order of a licensed health care provider, and a pathologist is available for consultation 24 hours a day. St. Francis Health also operates an offsite lab in Topeka for patient convenience. Thanks again to pathologist Dr. Richard Gomez for inviting me and giving me such an informative tour.
Honoring the Simons Family in Lawrence
Also on Monday, I enjoyed attending a surprise unveiling of a bronze sculpture of The World Company Chairman and Lawrence Journal-World Editor Dolph C. Simons Jr. (pictured below on the far right), and his father the late Dolph Simons Sr. The bust was created to honor the two newspapermen for their contributions in journalism and for their support to The University of Kansas. The sculpture was commissioned by former Kansas Board of Regents Chairman Clay Blair and will be displayed at the KU Alumni Center.
Presidential historian and founding director of Kansas University’s Dole Institute of Politics Richard Norton Smith (pictured below in the middle) referred to the sculpture as “twin likenesses that commemorate over a century of service to a great university and the town from which it derives no small part of its identity.”
Kansas City Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner
On Tuesday evening Robba and I attended the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner. The theme of the evening was how large Kansas City companies got their start as well as new companies forming because of the community’s entrepreneurial spirit. They honored outgoing Chamber Chair Roshann Parris of Parris Communications and incoming Chair Terry Dunn of JE Dunn Construction. Congratulations to University of Missouri-Kansas City Chancellor Leo Morton who was named the Kansas Citian of the Year. The keynote address was given by Daymond John, founder and CEO of For Us By Us (FUBU), a global brand of clothing and accessories and his consulting company Shark Branding. Daymond shared his experiences and encouraged the audience to empower themselves to make positive changes in their entrepreneurial careers. Thanks to Russ Welsh with Polsinelli for hosting Robba and me.
Attending the Sunflower Showdown
On Saturday, I attended the football game pitting KU against K-State in Manhattan. The series between these schools has been played every year since 1911, making it one of the longest running annual rivalries in college football. While K-State has dominated recently, KU leads the series 65-42-5. The winner of this year's Governor's Cup was K-State by a score of 51-13. Congratulations to Coach Bill Snyder and his Wildcats. Special thanks to K-State President Kirk Schultz and KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little for hosting me.
Kansans in the Office
Steve Leben of Fairway
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,
Newsletter Sign-up Form
Note: Fields marked with an * are required.