Kansas Common Sense


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 it would interest them.


Easter Sunday and Passover
I hope you and your family celebrated a meaningful Easter. I spent the day with family in Manhattan, where we attended services at First Presbyterian Church where Robba played piano during the Easter Sunday service.

Also this week, Jewish families and friends around the world gathered to celebrate the holiday of Passover. At the traditional Passover meal, the Seder, Jews recall the experience of Israelites in ancient Egypt and the Exodus led by Moses. During this annual holiday, the story and lessons of the Exodus are passed from one generation to the next.


Negotiators Announce Framework for Potential Nuclear Agreement with Iran
This week international diplomats announced a negotiated agreement outlining the framework for a deal regarding Iran’s nuclear program. Negotiators will now work to define specifics of a deal by mid-summer. Details of this initial agreement are yet unknown to the public, but the outline published suggest that Iran’s nuclear infrastructure would not be dismantled. This framework appears to fall short of America’s benchmarks for a good deal, including the standard set by President Obama at the outset of these diplomatic talks.

American foreign policy regarding the Middle East should seek long-term stability, peace and protection of American interests. Accordingly, I have serious concerns about the wisdom of this potential nuclear agreement. Congress has thus far relied on press reports for information about the Obama Administration's negotiations with Iran. As more details about this framework become known, I will continue to support Senate legislation that affirms Congressional review and oversight of any potential deal. Congress and the American people must have a say in the final decision on policy of such importance.


Agri-Pulse Open Mic Interview
This week, I am the guest on Agri-Pulse’s Open Mic radio program where the conversation focused on preserving farm policy and other issues of importance to farmers and ranchers across the country. As a Senator from rural Kansas and Chairman of the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, I understand well that the concerns of producers range from issues at home to outside their farm gate, and even outside the borders of the United States.

Many in the Ag community are concerned with overregulation from the federal government. Farmers in Kansas and across the country are also concerned with issues outside their farm gate, and even outside the borders of the United States. Farmers want to be able to sell their crops on the global market on a fair and level playing field. Farmers also want us here in Washington to fight on their behalf to gain access to new international markets for our homegrown products.

In addition to over-regulation and trade, the discussion touched on the Congress’ recent passage of a balanced budget. The Senate voted for 15 hours on 49 amendments offered by both Republicans and Democrats to the budget resolution, related to wide-ranging issues such as defense spending, Iran sanctions, estate taxes and Obamacare. The budget passage sets the stage for conference negotiations with the House of Representatives, which passed its own budget resolution last Thursday. Congress has not successfully adopted a budget conference report since 2009, an important duty of governing which the new majority is eager to restore.  

Thank you again for reporter Jeff Neeley for inviting me to be his guest this week on Agri-Pulse Open Mic. It was a productive discussion about what can be done to make reduce interference from the federal government and help make certain Ag families can pass on their farm or ranch – and their agriculture heritage – to the next generation of producers. Click here to listen to the full interview and learn more.

Touring Hallmark Cards in Kansas City
On Friday, I visited Hallmark Cards headquarters in Kansas City for a tour with President and CEO, Don Hall, Jr.  Hallmark is a company that has called Kansas City home since the early 1900s and has made a tremendous impact on the region ever since. The Hallmark story is one of entrepreneurship and the American dream that continues to inspire startups in and around the Kansas City area. Thanks again to Don Hall, Jr. and the other Hallmark employees who took time to visit with me.


Speaking to Kansas City Tomorrow 2015 Leadership Class
After my visit to Hallmark on Friday, I had the opportunity to speak to the Kansas City Tomorrow 2015 leadership class about public service. The KC Tomorrow is a program through the Civic Council of Greater Kansas City and the 2015 Leadership Class is a group of professionals and CEOs committed to working together to make certain good things continue happening in the Kansas City area. I was inspired by the group’s enthusiasm for making a difference in our community, and I was honored to visit with them about the economic future of the entire KC region. Thanks to my friend, Mary Birch of Lathrop and Gage, for inviting me to participate.


Woodson County Listening Tour Stop
Thanks to the Woodson County residents who joined me at the Yates Center Ambulance Community Room on Saturday morning for my Town Hall meeting. I heard feedback on a number of issues facing our country, including the Veterans Choice Act and concerns with the new proposed Federal Dietary Guidelines. The conversation also focused on issues important to rural Kansas like crop insurance, rural mental health, the importance of community hospitals, pharmacies and banks, and local control of education.

I heard real concerns today about highway construction in the area and traffic being routed 30 miles away from local businesses due to replacement of the RR overpass east of Yates Center. Thanks again to everyone who attended, including Co. Commissioner Bud Moore, Co. Commissioner John Weseloh, and Rep. Larry Hibbard.


Upcoming Kansas Listening Tour Stops
This week, I am continuing my Kansas Listening Tour with seven stops in Central and Southwest Kansas. On Thursday, April 9, 2015, I will be stopping in Sherman, Greeley, Wichita and Haskell Counties. On Friday, April 10, 2015, I’ll be visiting with folks in Kiowa, Pratt and Reno Counties. You can find more information on the town hall locations and times in the sidebar of this newsletter or on my website. The issues I focus on and work I do in Washington, D.C., are largely based on the conversations I have with Kansans so making certain I am home to visit with folks is my top priority.


Now Accepting 2015 Service Academy Applications
Even as students are beginning their summer breaks, I want to remind them of the opportunity to apply to a United States Service Academy. Appointing Kansans to the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y.; the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.; the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo; and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y., is one of my favorite duties as a U.S. Senator.

To find out the requirements and apply, please download an application from my website or contact my Olathe office. All application materials are due to my Olathe office by September 4, 2015. After applications have been reviewed, applicants will be notified of interviews with my Service Academy Selection Board, which will take place on Saturday, September 26, 2015, at the Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene.


Celebrating Georgina Webb’s Life
Late last week, I joined friends and family in celebrating Georgina Webb’s life at her funeral service at North Topeka Baptist Church. I served with Georgina’s son Anthony Hensely in the Kansas State Senate. Robba and I extend our sympathies and prayers to Georgina’s entire family, including Anthony, Daryle Coleman, Randall Hensley, and Timothy Hensley.


Kansans in the Office

Local Workforce Investment Board
Kathy Jewett of Wichita
Trudi Andernacht of Olathe
Scott Anglemyer of Kansas City
Katie Givens of Goddard
Marisa Gray of Kansas City
Leota Marks of Kansas City
Eddie Estes of Dodge City
Cindy Estes of Dodge City

American Association of Nurse Practitioners
Jill Ariagno of Leawood

National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners
Anne Stuedemann of Kansas City

Office Visit
Milton Ruble of Lansing

Capitol Tour
Andrew Bonser of Shawnee
Kimberly Bonser of Shawnee
David Willford of Leavenworth


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.

Please let me know how I can be of assistance. You can contact me by email by clicking here. You can also click here to contact me through one of my Kansas offices or my Washington, D.C., office.


Very truly yours,


Newsletter Sign-up Form

Note: Fields marked with an * are required.