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.

The Path Forward on Healthcare
The draft Senate healthcare bill to be considered this week missed the mark for Kansans and therefore did not have my support. Fortunately the decision was made on Tuesday to delay the vote. Now is the time to take a step back and put the full legislative process to work. I remain committed to working with my colleagues and continuing conversations with patients and providers to find a path forward that truly repeals and replaces Obamacare with a plan that makes certain Kansans will have access to more affordable and better quality healthcare. I look forward to having valuable conversations with Kansans this week during my time at home.

Supporting Legislation to Reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration
I joined my colleagues of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee on Thursday to discuss the reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) through 2021.

While I believe this bill will benefit the entire country, it will have a positive impact for Kansas especially as an aviation state. Included in this reauthorization legislation are reforms that will streamline aircraft certification to allow Kansas product to get to market quickly, increase safety and help provide for our general aviation community, strengthen the Federal Contract Tower Program, protect small regional airports, preserve the Contract Weather Observer program and ensure the future success of the Essential Air Service program.

Also included are provisions I support to help veterans find employment to utilize their unique skills within the FAA. This bill would additionally build on the great work being done in our universities by reauthorizing Wichita State’s FAA Center of Excellence for Advanced Materials and allowing schools like Kansas State to expand their Unmanned Aircraft programs.

Lastly, I am pleased that our reauthorization bill does not include any provisions to privatize our nation’s Air Traffic Control system. Putting a private corporation in charge of air traffic control is likely to lead to consolidation of air service in the largest airports across the country – limiting access for Americans living near all but the largest hubs. Privatization would hurt local economies in Kansas and across the country and eliminate many of the options for millions of air travelers, and I remain opposed to this idea.

Welcoming Good News for Farmers and Ranchers
This week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took an important step in rescinding the “Waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS) rule that would have significantly expanded the agency’s jurisdiction to regulate farming, ranching and other activities in Kansas. This Obama administration regulation would have threatened agriculture producers with fines and penalties for performing everyday farming activities, harmed our economy and cost us jobs. We all share the goal of promoting clean and safe drinking water for our citizens, but there are better ways to protect our nation’s waters than expanding the reach of this federal regulation. Rescinding the rule is the first step in the process of providing certainty and regulatory relief to stakeholders. The EPA must now redraft the rule in a clear, legal manner that truly protects our nation’s waters without infringing on private property rights.

Urging the USTR to Strengthen Agricultural Trade in NAFTA Negotiations
I joined several Senate colleagues in urging U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to strengthen agricultural trade as the administration prepares to begin negotiations to update the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The Kansas economy, and especially our farming and ranching community, rely on our ability to sell what we produce to consumers around the globe. Mexico and Canada are two of our largest export markets for ag products, so it’s critical these markets be protected during NAFTA renegotiation. I support the administration’s efforts to fully review our trading relationships, including those with Canada and Mexico, and I will continue working to make certain that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Ambassador Lighthizer understand the importance of reducing trade barriers and increasing ag exports to Kansas farmers and ranchers. Click here to view our letter.

Encouraging Interagency Coordination on Electronic Health Record Systems
VA Secretary Dr. David Shulkin announced recently that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) would adopt the same electronic health record (EHR) system as the Department of Defense (DoD) to maximize the continuity of care for transitioning servicemembers. As chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, I joined Senator John McCain, chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, and Senator Johnny Isakson, chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, in urging the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs to coordinate efforts during this transition. The DoD is currently undergoing the transition to the MHS Genesis program, and the VA ought to adopt the best practices and lessons learned from DoD’s experience to make certain the transition to the new EHR platform is as seamless as possible. Those who serve our nation deserve timely, high-quality healthcare, both during their service and afterwards.

Welcoming Home the 50th Kansas Honor Flight
Wichita welcomed home the members of the 50th Kansas Honor Flight on Friday morning, and I was privileged and humbled to spend time with the World War II, Korean and Vietnam War veterans, their guardians and families returning from Washington, D.C. These veterans represent the very best of America and a willingness to sacrifice for the greater good. It is because these heroes answered the call to duty that we are blessed with the freedoms we enjoy today. During the program’s 50 flights, 1,511 vets have taken part, including 534 WWII veterans, 621 Korean War veterans, and 356 Vietnam veterans. Special thanks to Kansas Honor Flight Board of Directors President Mike VanCampen, his wife Connie, their officer team and the countless patriots who contribute their time, talent and treasure to ensure that our Kansas veterans make it to our nation’s capital to visit the war memorials built in their honor by a grateful nation. Thanks to students from Maize High School and airmen and women from McConnell Air Force Base for serving as a welcome home Honor Guard for our veterans.

Visiting Hiawatha to Ask Kansans about Healthcare
I visited Hiawatha this week so that I could ask all those I met what was on their mind and how they thought the things they were hearing about coming from Washington, D.C. would impact them. I value the input and advice I have received from these Kansans and many others on the ACA and proposed changes to our healthcare system. I made stops at NEK-CAP, Inc., Frontier Farm Credit, the USDA Farm Service Agency, Brown County Conservation District, Brown County Courthouse, Citizens State Bank & Trust, the Hiawatha World, the Chamber of Commerce, Hiawatha Community Hospital, and the Bread Bowl, and people were concerned and opinionated. A morning well spent – it was good to be in Brown County.

Kansans in the Office

American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the Young Survivors Coalition
Brian Andrews of Kansas City
Zach Clary of Merriam

Patient Quality of Life Coalition
Michele Longabaugh of Wichita

CHS Board of Directors
CJ Blew of Hutchinson

National Council of Farmer Cooperatives
Dave Spears of Valley Center
Leslie Kaufman of Topeka
Clark Wenger of Ottawa

Land O’Lakes Board of Directors
Austin Heiniger of Fairview
Kendall Heiniger of Fairview
Stan Stark of Haviland

Kathryn Webster of Overland Park

Kansas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Jennifer Morris of Kansas City
Katelynne Burghardt of Kansas City

Great Plains Conference of the United Methodist Church
Maddie Johnson of Olathe
Amelia Flores of Andover
Paige Thompson of Hill City
Roy Koech of Russell
Jerry Feese of Lawrence

Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism
Linda Lanterman of Pratt

Kansas Music Educators Association
Gretchen Bixler of Maize
Payne Amphone of Lawrence
Martha Gabel of Olathe
John Taylor of Wichita
Mike Quiling of Garden City

National Alliance of Mental Illness
Stephanie West-Potter of Girard
Brittany Brest of Wichita
Tim Carey of Hutchinson
Nicole Cox of Wichita
Rick Cagan of Lawrence
Andy Martin of Topeka

Kansas KEEP
Allie Devine of Topeka

National Sorghum Producers
Tom Willis of Liberal

Capitol Tour
Kathryn Fuger of Lenexa
Ryan Fuger of Kansas City
Sydney Fuger of Kansas City
Maxwell Fuger of Kansas City
Scott Hoch of Basehor
Shanna Hoch of Basehor
Skylar Hoch of Basehor
Foster Hoch of Basehor
Thatcher Hoch of Basehor
Julie Eldredge of Wichita
Beth Eldredge of Wichita
Bruce Brinkman of Bel Aire
Kay Brinkman of Bel Aire
Bryce Brinkman of Bel Aire
Cooper Hanning of Wichita
Blair Hanning of Wichita
Cora Hanning of Wichita
Bryan Hanning of Wichita
Cindy Hanning of Wichita
Caleb Klein of Bel Aire
Jamie Klein of Bel Aire
Brad Carter of Anthony
Rebecca Carter of Anthony
Kaitlin Carter of Anthony
Tracy Garman of Courtland
Linda Garman of Courtland
Dwight Garman of Courtland
Kimberly Schmidt of Manhattan
Braden Chrest of Manhattan
Brynley Chrest of Manhattan
Sandra Rebel of Manhattan
Amy Szablewski of Lenexa
Debby Ziegler of Lawrence
Maggie Ziegler of Lawrence
Mark Wegmann of Olathe
Mary Wegmann of Olathe
Emily Wegmann of Olathe
Michael Wegmann of Olathe
Madison Wegmann of Olathe
Samuel Guenthner of Olathe
Hilary Guenthner of Olathe
Carson Guenther of Olathe
Madeline Guenther of Olathe
Megan Berry of Abilene
Kyle Younger of Olathe
Kendra Younger of Olathe
Alicia Collier of Derby
Caleb Collier of Derby
Gary Price of McPherson
Tracy Price of McPherson
Shawn Chastain of Wichita
Debbie Chastain of Wichita
Lindsey Chastain of Wichita
Eric Chastain of Wichita
Elsie Chastain of Wichita
William Ocean of Junction City
Vernela Ocean of Junction City
Nerissa Ocean of Junction City
Christopher Dixon of Junction City
Nathaniel Thomas of Junction City
DeJohn Williams of Junction City
Vernada Wilbourn of Junction City
Andrea Davis of Junction City
Aavon Banks of Junction City
Johnathan Boston of Junction City
DeAntonie Home of Junction City
Xzayvier Ocean of Junction City
Ki’Asiah Jackson of Junction City
Itiyana Sherman of Junction City
Hezekiah Ocean of Junction City
Adrianne Elliott of Galena
Melia Elliott of Galena
Genevieve Elliott of Galena
Richard Morgan of Phillipsburg
Joyce Morgan of Phillipsburg
Stephen Porter of Lenexa
Dana Porter of Lenexa
Watson Porter of Lenexa
Brynlee Porter of Lenexa
Thor Lyche of Lawrence
Christain Lyche of Lawrence
Alex Kunz of Olathe
Ryan Krzykowski of Olathe
Erica Krzykowski of Olathe
James Krzykowski of Olathe
Jack Krzykowski of Olathe
William Krzykowski of Olathe
Samuel Krzykowski of Olathe
Catherine Morris of Eudora
Jasmine Steele of Lawrence

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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