Kansas Common Sense

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Advancing My Legislation to Protect Olympic Athletes
On Wednesday, the Senate Commerce Committee approved the Empowering Olympic and Amateur Athletes Act that U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and I introduced in July to dramatically reform the governance and accountability structures of the U.S. Olympic movement. As the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee with jurisdiction over the health and safety of U.S Olympic and amateur athletes, our legislation was crafted following an eighteen-month investigation into systemic abuse within the U.S. Olympic movement. The joint inquiry included four subcommittee hearings, interviews with Olympic athletes and survivors, and the retrieval of over 70,000 pages of documents. The development this week moved us one step closer to the passage of our sweeping reform legislation, and I look forward to moving ahead on the Senate floor.
I also gave remarks on the Senate floor following the successful markup that described the investigative and legislative efforts of this necessary legislation.  Particularly, the thoughtful amendment contributions of U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) to the legislation further bolstered the accountability and oversight of the U.S. Olympic movement. The robust and bipartisan support of my Senate colleagues has proven to be invaluable to this process. My remarks can be viewed by clicking here.
Keynote Remarks at the Wichita Chamber’s Federal Forum
On Veteran’s Day, I was honored to be in the Air Capital of the World for a Federal Forum hosted by the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce, Friends of McConnell, the Greater Wichita Partnership, Wichita Independent Business Association and Wichita State University.  During my remarks, I discussed the dangers of socialism and emphasized that we must work together to show the American people and those who fought to protect our way of life that we can solve our country’s issues in a way that upholds the Constitution and provides individuals the opportunity to realize their potential in the greatness of this country. And we can look to Wichita for evidence of how free enterprise and the American Dream go hand in hand – where we can confirm that free markets and individual initiative, not socialism, create economic well-being.  Upon the conclusion of my remarks, I was honored to receive the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s “Spirit of Enterprise” award which recognizes Members of Congress who support policies that create an environment where businesses can grow and create jobs. 
Thank you to Coleen Jennison of Cox Communications for the kind introduction. Congratulations to Pat Gallagher, Military Affairs Liaison for the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce, who was recognized as the 2019 recipient of the prestigious Tampa Bay Trophy award. Created by the Tampa Bay Defense Alliance, this national award honors a civilian for sustained and enduring service as well as contributions to community, airmen and families of the United States Air Force.  And special thanks to Colonel Richard Tanner, commander of the 22nd Air Refueling Wing at McConnell Air Force Base, for presenting Pat with this well-deserved honor. 
NASA Reauthorization Passes Committee, Includes My Legislation to Bolster Kansas Aviation
On Wednesday, I was pleased to support the NASA Reauthorization Act of 2019 and its passage out of the Senate Commerce Committee. This bill includes provisions from my Aeronautics Innovation Act designed to boost innovation, research and development within the aeronautics industry. The bill also included a provision that would authorize the Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Technology Program. This provision would grant NASA the authority to create an official collaboration project with the aerospace industry and academia that would build upon the success of the Advanced Composites Consortium, of which Spirit AeroSystems and the National Institute for Aviation Research at Wichita State University are members.
Meeting with Officials from Dodge City and Garden City
On Tuesday, I met with leaders from the Southwest Kansas Coalition, including Dodge City Mayor Brian Delzeit and Assistant City Manager Ernestor De La Rosa, Garden City Commissioner Troy Unruh and City Manager Matt Allen. I appreciated our conversation on issues important to their communities and how we can work in partnership to advance the region.  
One item of discussion was our nation’s broken immigration system, and how too often we allow politics to prevent Congress from making meaningful progress. I believe Congress should deal with the issues that many Republicans and Democrats can agree on, such as providing certainty to DACA recipients and enhancing security at our nation’s southern border. For southwest Kansas, services provided by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) are also critical, and I am eager to engage the agency on the need for more frequent mobile services to the region.  
Transportation infrastructure is critical to the economy of southwest Kansas, and I remain a strong supporter of the Essential Air Service (EAS) program and Amtrak’s Southwest Chief route through the region. While significant progress has been made in recent years to secure funding and commitments from Amtrak for the preservation of the Southwest Chief, I will continue my efforts to ensure Amtrak officials uphold their commitments and passenger rail service connecting southwest Kansas communities and businesses to the rest of the country is successful and endures for the long term.
Discussing Infrastructure with Overland Park Chamber of Commerce
On Thursday, I met with leadership from the Overland Park Chamber of Commerce to discuss the issues of importance to the city. One topic important not only to the city, but the state, is infrastructure. With FAST Act Reauthorization next year, the meeting gave us a chance to discuss the priority issues to the city and how we can ensure Kansas’ needs are reflected as it relates to infrastructure. During the meeting, we also discussed trade, business development in the region and how we can work together to advance Johnson County and the surrounding area. Thanks to those in attendance for their productive conversation.
Kansan Michael Graham’s Nomination to the NTSB Clears Commerce Committee
On Wednesday, I supported Michael Graham’s nomination to be a member of the National Transportation Safety Board as it passed out of the Senate Commerce Committee. A Kansan, Mr. Graham currently serves as the Director of Flight Operations Safety, Security, and Standardization at Textron Aviation, where he has worked since 1997. Prior to his work in the aviation industry, he spent nine years as a Naval Aviator flying A-7’s and F/A 18’s as well as being an F/A-18 Aircrew instructor for Boeing/McDonnell Douglas. With a long and decorated career of service and safety, both in the military and as a civilian, Mr. Graham is well suited to be a member of the National Transportation Safety Board and I am proud to call him a Kansan. I look forward to Mr. Graham’s quick confirmation and appreciate his willingness to continue to serve our country.
Spending Time with Students of Salina’s Sacred Heart High School
On Thursday, I met with students of Salina’s Sacred Heart High School during their annual trip to Washington, D.C. During their visit, we discussed the goals and ambitions of these students, many of which included the desire to further their education in Kansas. We also discussed their trip to our nation’s capital, current issues before the Senate and recent updates at Sacred Heart. Thanks to teacher and trip sponsor John Hamilton for his work and commitment to these students, and for inviting me many times to visit with his classes in Salina.
Touring the U.S. Space Command
On Friday, I toured the United States Space Command at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs. The U.S. Space Command is a unified combatant command under the Department of Defense that works to advance the United States’ national security through the space domain. During our tour, we discussed the strengths and opportunities of Space Command, and current challenges being faced by the division. As an appropriator, it is vital to see first-hand how our decisions in Congress to allocate taxpayer dollars are being utilized to protect our national security. Thank you to Commander of the U.S. Space Command General John Raymond for the informative tour of the facility and productive conversation on the ongoing work to protect our nation from its adversaries.
Lunch with Kansas Cadets at the Air Force Academy
On Friday, I was at the United States Air Force Academy where I had the honor of sitting down with a number of cadets and airmen from Kansas. During lunch, we discussed their transition from high school in Kansas to the challenging and rewarding environment of the United States Air Force Academy. These young men and women worked hard to secure a nomination and gain admittance to the academy, and their dedication, work ethic and intellect make Kansans proud. During our conversation, I thanked them for their current and future service to our nation. As future officers in the U.S. Air Force, they will help lead men and women in the work to protect our country.
Kansans in the Office
Capt. John Erickson of Clay Center
Mayor Shawn Rizza of Atchison
Academy of Doctors of Audiology
Stacey Baldwin of Overland Park
Dana Jacobson of Overland Park
Ali Melliti of Overland Park
Katie Petrosky of Overland Park
Timothy Steele of Olathe
Bartlett and West
Keith Warta of Topeka
Bring Our Troops Home
Maj. Danny Sjursen of Lawrence
Brummel Lawn
Frank Male of Lawrence
Karl Schottler of Lenexa
Capitol Tour
Linda Huston of Topeka
Michael Huston of Topeka
Jeffrey Jarman of Lenexa
Zachary Jarman of Lenexa
Erica Lichtenauer of Topeka
Jaxtyn Lichtenauer of Topeka
John Lichtenauer of Topeka
Kyan Lichtenauer of Topeka
Zayne Lichtenauer of Topeka
CCAI Kansas Angel’s
Jacob Bush of Lincoln
Lauren Bush of Lincoln
Payton Bush of Lincoln
Sterling Bush of Lincoln
Scott Rigal of Lincoln
Tiffany Royal of Lincoln
Kevin Smith of Wichita
Mona Smith of Wichita
Citizens’ Climate Lobby
Alan Bauman of Prairie Village
Jennifer Brown of Prairie Village
Alisha Gridley of Wichita
Mark Shobe of Wichita
City of McPherson
Mayor Tom Brown of McPherson
Dodge and Garden City Representatives
Matt Allen of Garden City
Ernestor De La Rose of Garden City
Brian Delzeit of Dodge City
Doug Smith of Topeka
Troy Unruh of Garden City
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
Robert Bausch of Topeka
Roger Beach of Tonganoxie
Christopher Blarie of Topeka
David Galvan of Topeka
John Garretson of Topeka
National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)
Jeff Long of Lawrence
Overland Park Chamber of Commerce
Mike Hess of Stilwell
Mike Hockey of Overland Park
Bobby Olm-Shipman of Overland Park
Tracey Osborn Oltjen of Overland Park
Tony Rupp of Olathe
Kevin Walker of Olathe
Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation
Joseph Rupnick of Mayetta
Sacred Heart High School (Junior Class)
Sara Del Real of Salina
Kelsie Gack of Salina
Hannah Goetz of Salina
John Hamilton of Salina
Nathan Ivey of Salina
Alyssa Maya of Salina
Bryan Nauanlasy of Salina
Mason Richards of Salina
Gaby Rodriguez of Salina
Lauren Torrey of Salina
Jacob Wasserman of Salina
Ken Wasserman of Salina
Pam Wasserman of Salina
Physicians for Reproductive Health
Dr. Mae Winchester of Kansas City
Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)
Jennifer Dowell of Wamego
Jessic Helt of Altamont
Sean Hudspeth of Wichita
Janice Huffman of Emporia
David Love of Leawood
Jena Lysen of Wichita
Catherine McMillen of Liberal
Suzanne McVey of Olathe
Amber Neise of Wichita
Kristyn Reust of Liberal
Cindy Volanti of Manhattan
Sara Wildin of Wamego
Spirit AeroSystems
Kimberly Caldwell of Wichita
Stronger America Through Seafood
Jesse Mitchell of Sabetha
Wichita State and Kansas PTAC
Terri Bennett of Wichita
Scott Knapp of Wichita
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 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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