Kansas Common Sense
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Pope Francis Visits Washington, D.C.
I was privileged to attend Pope Francis’ historic address to Congress on Thursday morning. Since his election in 2013, he has inspired Catholics and those of all faiths through his humility and deep concern for those on the margins of society. I welcome the Pope’s challenge to pursue peace and justice, both here in Washington and in our own communities. As he departs our nation’s capital, I hope his message will be remembered as Congress works to promote the American Dream.
Service Academy Interview Day
On Saturday I had the honor of meeting more than 55 students from Kansas at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Library in Abilene as part of my annual Service Academy Selection Day. Students applying for admission to the U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Air Force Academy and U.S. Merchant Marine Academy interviewed with my Selection Board. This day has always been a favorite of mine because I get to meet some of the best and brightest young people in our state. It also reminds me that Kansas produces smart, hard-working, civic-minded people who will do great things in the future. Applicants submit an application to my office that includes a personal statement, resume, letters of references, academic transcripts and standardized test scores. Those applicants who complete their applications by the deadline are then invited to interview before my Selection Board.
Thanks for Linda Smith of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Library for hosting us. Also, this important process would be not be possible without the help and hard work of my Selection Board. The members of the Selection Board are leaders from across Kansas who take a great interest in seeing students succeed. The board members review applications and conduct interviews before giving me their recommendations.
Members of the 2015 Service Academy Selection Board include: Bill Clifford of Garden City; Karen DeGraaf of Mulvane; Ardith Dunn of Satanta; Ernie Honas of Gardner; Robin Jackson of Hutchinson; Melissa Jarboe and Ryan Kriegshauser of Topeka; Scott Jenkins of St. Francis; Cheryl Kerns and Jill McCarthy of Overland Park; Brian Kessens and Sam Turner of Leawood; Katrina Lewison of Manhattan; Wendell Maddox of Kansas City; Lynne Murray of Baldwin City; John O’Leary of Wichita; Jayne Pearce of Wallace; Paula Ripple of Dodge City; Matt Treaster of Newton and Ron Whitney of Emporia. I would also like to thank U.S. Air Force Academy Cadet Emily Wagemaker of Topeka and U.S. Naval Academy Midshipman Matthew McKee of Salina for traveling to Abilene to visit with this year’s applicants.
USDA Rural Business Development
I spoke at the USDA Rural Business Development ceremony in Emporia on Friday afternoon alongside Under Secretary for Rural Development Lisa Mensah. Both Kansas Main Street, Inc. and the Kansas Department of Agriculture aim to improve the economic viability of rural areas in Kansas. As Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, I have the opportunity to oversee many of the operations of USDA, including rural development. Kansas is a special place to live, work and raise a family, and it’s critical we continue to promote efforts that keep it strong.
Senate Competitiveness Caucus Entrepreneurship Briefing
On Tuesday, the Senate Competitiveness Caucus – in partnership with the Kauffman Foundation – hosted a lunch briefing to discuss the concerning trend of declining entrepreneurship and startup activity in the United States. Senator Chris Coons of Delaware and I founded the caucus with the hope of bringing members from both sides of the aisle together to discuss and promote policy that ensures America remains the economic and innovation leader of the world. While there are many factors that contribute to our nation’s economic competitiveness, one of the most important is our small business and startup economy. The vital role entrepreneurs and small businesses play in our success cannot be understated. Whether it is in Western Kansas or Silicon Valley, the creation of a new business brings vitality, jobs and economic growth to our communities. This is especially true for rural America, where a grocery store or restaurant can mean the difference between a community surviving and thriving or slowly fading away.
It has been more than four years since I first introduced the Startup Act and I continue to believe it is a critical step in protecting and nurturing small business creation. The Startup Act (S. 181) would reduce barriers to business growth, encourage investment in startups, stem government overregulation, and accelerate the commercialization of university research. In addition to the Startup Act, I recently introduced the Veterans Entrepreneurial Transition Act of 2015 (S. 1870). This legislation would offer veterans the opportunity to pursue their dreams of owning a business by giving them access to resources provided by the Small Business Administration (SBA) and their G.I. Bill benefits. While there is still much work to be done, I am optimistic that Congress can come together to promote policy that encourages, not hinders, the creation and growth of new business.
Thank you to Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation's Dane Stangler for moderating and University of Maryland Professor of Economics John Haltiwanger for his timely and thought-provoking presentation.
Meeting with Kansas Entrepreneurs in Emporia
While in Emporia on Friday, I had a great conversation with two Kansas entrepreneurs – Jeremy “J.J.” Johns and Justin “Gus” Bays – who own Radius Brewing Company. Entrepreneurship adds an average of 3 million jobs to the American economy each year and it is individuals like J.J. and Gus who drive that growth by pursuing their dreams. In starting up their business, they worked with Kansas Main Street, Inc., an organization that assists entrepreneurs in the early stages by developing business plans and helping connect them to funding. Their brewery and restaurant is a great addition to the Emporia area, and I was glad to be able to offer them my encouragement.
Kansas Listening Tour Stops Continue
I hosted a Kansas Listening Tour stop this week before flying back to Washington was at Benedictine College in Atchison. The 50+ Kansans in attendance were interested in discussing a range of topics including the nuclear deal with Iran, the Pope’s visit to Washington this week and the protecting religious freedoms. I appreciate Kansans taking time to join me for these visits. Our conversations help keep me firmly rooted in the special way of life we have here in our state. Thanks to Benedictine College President Steve Minnis for the kind introduction and to Rick Berger for coordinating the meeting.
I started my Saturday listening to more than 50 Dickinson County residents at First National Bank in Hope. I always appreciate the opportunity to personally visit with Kansans, answer their questions, and listen to the issues that are important to them. We covered several topics including health care access, the EPA and the Iran Nuclear Deal. Thanks to Dan Coup for coordinating and hosting my visit.
Advocating for the Sanctity and Dignity of Every Human Life
I was honored to be in Wichita on Saturday to give the keynote remarks at the Kansans For Life (KFL) Fall Fling – an annual event in support of the organization’s ongoing efforts to protect the sanctity and dignity of every human life. It was uplifting to spend time with so many individuals dedicated to such a worthy cause. Thanks to KFL Development Director David Gittrich for organizing the gathering. Thanks also to Tim and Marie Hand for hosting the event.
On Tuesday the Senate voted to consider the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which is legislation I also sponsor. The legislation would protect the lives of unborn children, but failed to receive the 60 votes needed to proceed. The vote, coupled with the chamber’s failure to deny funding to the nation’s largest abortion provider last month, is unfortunate because the fundamental right to life guaranteed by our Constitution should be applied to all – including those who cannot speak for themselves.
Now Accepting Spring 2016 Internship Applications
I am now accepting applications for paid congressional internships in my Washington, D.C., and Kansas offices for spring 2016. An internship in my office – either legislative or communications – provides a unique opportunity to work closely with Senate staff on behalf of the state of Kansas. Legislative interns will gain a better understanding of the legislative process in the U.S. Congress, and develop knowledge and professional skills valuable to future career pursuits. Communications internships offer an intern the chance to learn about how political communications and the legislative process intersect, and gain practical knowledge about the inner workings of a fast-paced press office.
The application deadline for spring 2016 is October 30, 2015. Applications may be obtained and completed under the “Services” section of my website at www.moran.senate.gov. Applicants should submit a completed application form, resume, academic transcript, two letters of recommendation, and a cover letter explaining their interest in public service and addressing a policy issue of personal importance and a suggested recommendation to resolve that issue. Please submit required materials to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kansans in the Office
Darlene Rittenhouse of Shawnee
Frank Bax of Lenexa
Mary Morrow-Bax of Lenexa
Diane Leiker of Marion
Lee Leiker of Marion
Jackie Clark of Overland Park
Danny Kennett of Emporia
Vickie Kennett of Emporia
Max Haverfield of Hays
Howard Haverfield of Colby
Heath Haverfield of Colby
Joy Haverfield of Winona
American Physiological Society Science Policy Committee
Mark Weiss of Manhattan
Bob Teckel of Shawnee
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,
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