Kansas Common Sense

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Honoring the 65th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education
On Friday, we recognized the 65th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Brown v. Topeka Board of Education that started the legal process of integrating schools across the nation. On this critical day in American history, we remember the legacy left behind by Linda Brown, her parents, and the 13 Kansans whose courage and persistence shifted our nation toward equality.

Honoring this legacy requires all Americans to uphold the self-evident truth that all people are created equal. Let us remember Brown v. Topeka Board of Education, and in doing so, I ask every American to commit to racial justice and equal opportunity.

I also joined the Kansas delegation in introducing a resolution recognizing the 65th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision and its importance to Kansas and our country. Following this introduction, I took to the Senate floor to honor these Kansans and their historic contributions to racial justice and equality. To watch these remarks, click here.

In 2004, on the 50th anniversary of this landmark decision, I welcomed President George W. Bush to Topeka to participate in events recognizing this day and the celebrating the grand opening of the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site. During his remarks, President Bush said the following: "America has yet to reach the high calling of its own ideals. Yet we're a nation that strives to do right. And we honor those who expose our failures, correct our course, and make us a better people. On this day, in this place, we remember with gratitude the good souls who saw a great wrong, and stood their ground, and won their case. And we celebrate a milestone in the history of our glorious nation."


Fighting Cancer is a Team Sport
On Friday, I hosted National Cancer Institute (NCI) Director Dr. Douglas Lowy in Kansas City to see firsthand the work being done by our region’s top providers, scientists and researchers as it relates to cancer research, treatment and prevention efforts.

We began the day at Children’s Mercy Kansas City, where Dr. Lowy and Children’s Mercy President and CEO Dr. Paul Kempinski, The University of Kansas Cancer Center Director Dr. Roy Jensen, and Dr. Michael Artman, Chair of Pediatrics at Children’s Mercy and University of Kansas School of Medicine, provided updates to over 100 KC-area healthcare providers, scientists, researchers and students on their respective efforts to fight cancer and improve the health and well-being of patients across our nation during a “Progress and Opportunity in Cancer Research” symposium.

In his opening remarks, Dr. Lowy noted that, “cancer research has become a team sport.” Nowhere is that more accurate than right here at home. In conjunction with Children’s Mercy, the KU Medical Center, The University of Kansas Health System leadership, we conveyed to Dr. Lowy how these partnerships are improving outcomes for Kansans fighting cancer and other pervasive diseases.

It was also an honor to have Katrina Case, Ellie Falkner and Juan Pineda Gomez, KC-area high school students who completed projects related to cancer research during the 2019 Kansas BioGENEius Challenge, in the audience. These students are already making a difference in our efforts to fight cancer, and we are proud of them.


After the symposium, the group took a hard-hat tour of Children’s Mercy’s Children’s Research Institute, followed by a discussion at the University of Kansas Clinical Research Center. These discussions offered Dr. Lowy an up-close view of Kansas City’s teamwork in fighting cancer and how NIH dollars are being utilized. The University of Kansas Medical Center saw nearly $59 million dollars in NIH funding over $9 million in NCI funding in 2018. 

I will continue leveraging my role as a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee with funding jurisdiction over the NCI and the National Institutes of Health to promote scientific research and make certain that our scientists and researchers have the tools they need to continue propelling our country’s health outcomes forward.


Honoring Fallen Law Enforcement Officers During National Police Week
Thousands of law enforcement officers made the trip to Washington, D.C. to recognize National Police Week. This week-long recognition included numerous events to honor fallen law enforcement officers and to celebrate the work that men and women in uniform do every day in communities across our nation.

During this important week, we honor the service and sacrifice of our nation's fallen law enforcement officers. Let us never forget Officers Theresa King, Patrick Rohrer, Deputy Sheriff Robert Kunze, Jefferson County Undersheriff George Burnau and all those who have died in the line of duty while protecting Kansans.

We’re also reminded that law enforcement need our support and we recommit to supporting police officers across our country. We must provide the tools these men and women need to build and strengthen the bonds of trust with those they serve, and provide our best efforts to address the underlying challenges of our society, and of our country, that face each and every community. I delivered remarks on the Senate floor to honor our men and women in uniform and to recognize my own staff member and ATF Special Agent Matt Beccio. To view these remarks, click here.


It Is Imperative that Congress Pass a Disaster Bill
As many Kansans know, our state and swaths of the Midwest have been devastated by recent flooding, and efforts to provide assistance to these struggling farmers and ranchers has stalled in Congress. I delivered remarks on the Senate floor stressing the importance of Congress passing a disaster relief bill to assist producers who have been impacted by this flooding.

Earlier this year, I visited areas of Kansas that were underwater and saw farm ground that cannot be planted or put in productive use until significant time, effort and resources are invested in restoring that land. Continued rainfall across the state and region has threatened to cause additional flooding in many areas, as well as delayed planting for many farmers. It is important that Congress meet the challenge of providing assistance to those producers, many of whom lost everything.

With the market uncertainty due to trade disputes, farmers have more grain in storage than usual, waiting for prices to increase. When that grain is wiped out by floods, it is very similar to the family’s savings account drained of cash. Currently, disaster programs are not equipped to help these producers who lost a year’s worth of work and income when their stored grain was damaged or destroyed. Congress has the opportunity in the disaster bill to give USDA the authority to cover lost stored grain and to help get these producers back on their feet. To view these floor remarks, click here.


Celebrating Apollo 11 and Recommitting to American Dominance in Space
I was honored to join Vice President Mike Pence, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and others to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission at the National Air and Space Museum on Wednesday. As we honor the legacy of Apollo 11 and their unprecedented first trip to the moon, America is preparing to take the next giant leap in space exploration.

Our greatest achievements remain ahead of us. And as the chief appropriator for NASA, I will work with the White House, President Trump, Vice President Pence, NASA Administrator Bridenstine and my appropriations subcommittee to make certain NASA has the resources to land the first woman on the Moon and build lasting infrastructure to support missions to Mars and beyond.


Call Him Colonel Dole
On Thursday, I joined U.S. Army Chief of Staff General Mark A. Milley to witness and celebrate the military promotion of Senator Bob Dole to the rank of Colonel.

This promotion comes after the passage of our legislation to grant this promotion, and I’m honored to have played a small part in the recognition and elevation of this great Kansan and American. Thank you, Colonel Dole, for your dedicated and constant service to our nation.


Meeting with Kansas Women in the Eisenhower Series
It was great to meet with this year’s Dwight D. Eisenhower Excellence in Public Service Series class during their annual visit to Washington, D.C. One of the issues we discussed was how we can work together to encourage more civic participation across our communities, especially among young women. I always enjoy getting advice from these amazing leaders from across our state, and I am grateful for all their work to benefit Kansans.


Spending Time with Kansas Participants in the Team America Rocket Challenge
This week, I met with Kansas teams from De Soto and Wichita who qualified as the top 100 out of 900 teams to participate in the Team America Rocketry Challenge National Finals on Saturday in Virginia. The Team America Rocketry Challenge is the world’s largest student rocket contest, which nearly 5,000 students from across the nation compete in each year. These talented Kansas students designed, built and successfully flew a rocket carrying three raw eggs in a capsule that climbed to an altitude of 850 feet and returned it to ground with the eggs intact within 40-45 seconds. I was pleased to hear of their aspirations to pursue careers in STEM, and especially loved to hear the admiration and appreciation they have for their teachers and sponsors, who in many cases have inspired their interest for this topic.

Emerald City Rocket Club

Truesdell Middle School Rocket Club

Questioning Financial Regulators During a Senate Banking Committee Hearing
On Wednesday, in a Senate Banking Committee hearing, I questioned leaders of our banks’ federal regulators on their supervision and examination policies. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Chairman Jelena McWilliams, Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting, National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Chairman Rodney Hood, and Federal Reserve Vice Chairman of Supervision Randal Quarles discussed financial oversight, regulatory reform efforts and the strength of our nation’s banking and financial system. While there may be disagreements about the extent of regulations needed for our nation’s biggest banks, I made clear to the leaders of these regulatory agencies that overly burdensome regulations intended only for the largest lenders are hurting our nation’s community banks. Like hospitals and schools, banks are another lifeline in our rural communities. These important institutions need more access to credit, not less, and I will continue working with my Senate colleagues and the federal regulators to ensure our community banks can thrive. Click here to watch this questioning.

Meeting with the Kansas City Area Development Council
On Thursday, I met with the Kansas City Area Development Council (KCADC) to discuss the selection of the Greater Kansas City Area as one of three finalists to be the future home of the USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). As a member of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, I support efforts to relocate these agencies outside of Washington D.C. because I believe government agencies are most effective when located close to the people they serve. Home to approximately 5,000 USDA employees and contractors, as well as the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor, Kansas City is a conveniently located and thriving area that would be a great place to relocate these agencies. Additionally, moving ERS and NIFA from Washington, D.C. to Kansas City would not only save money for taxpayers, but also result in over 500 high-paying jobs moving to the area.

I am helping lead the effort in Congress to relocate ERS and NIFA to Kansas City, including making the case for our state to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue at a recent hearing. I appreciate KCADC’s partnership in this effort and look forward to continuing to fight for ERS and NIFA to be located in Kansas City.

Meeting with FAA Administrator Nominee Stephen Dickson
On Tuesday, I met with FAA Administrator Nominee Stephen Dickson to discus aircraft manufacturing and certification, contract towers and rural airport infrastructure. Mr. Dickson has a long record of service and experience. He served in the U.S. Air Force until 1991, then joined Delta Air Lines as a pilot and later retired as Delta’s Senior Vice President of Flight Operations. I enjoyed discussing Kansas’ rich history in aviation and look forward to his speedy confirmation.


Joining Fellow Members of the Army Caucus to Hear from Army Leaders
On Thursday morning I had the opportunity to sit down with members of the Senate Army Caucus and our Army’s top leaders for a productive conversation about current issues impacting the state of our army. Among several topics, we discussed how we can best protect our army’s assets from evolving and persistent cyber threats. I believe that as the Army looks to rapidly procure additional systems that are reliant on technology, the Army needs to make cyber readiness a priority. Our defense industry partners have some responsibility for identifying and fixing cyber vulnerabilities, but the Army needs to be part of the process. Our great cyber warriors within our Kansas National Guard in the 177th Information Aggressor Squadron exemplifies the talent that exists within the National Guard and I believe the Army can leverage their skillsets in the address of cyber vulnerabilities.


Meeting with Kansas Realtors
This week, I met with a number of Kansas real estate professionals who were participating in the the National Association of Realtors (NAR) Hill Day. The United States is the beneficiary of the world’s strongest mortgage financing system and I continue to believe the real estate industry provides a gateway to the American dream of homeownership.

Our conversation centered around the importance of reauthorizing the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), as well as ways to improve the mortgage finance system that guides lending and borrowing for homebuyers. We also discussed ways to promote a more inclusive environment in homeownership and the value of affordable housing infrastructure across the country.


Hearing Updates from Kansas VA Healthcare Leadership
I was happy to see the leadership of our VA Veteran Integrated Service Network (VISN 15) in DC this week. Network Director Dr. William Patterson, Eastern KS Director Rudy Klopfer, Kansas City Director Kathleen Fogarty and Wichita Director Rick Ament stopped by to represent the healthcare needs of our veteran population. VISN 15, otherwise known as the VA Heartland Network, is one of the most rural of the 18 VISNs across the country. There are great challenges that come with providing healthcare in a rural area, and I believe that the implementation of the VA MISSION Act will help to improve the quality of care for our veterans by increasing access to medical resources readily available within a veteran’s community.


Now Accepting Fall 2019 Internship Applications
My own interest in public service was sparked by an internship for Kansas First District Congressman Keith Sebelius in 1974. As an intern, I had the chance to learn firsthand how a Congressional office operates and how the legislative process works. I am proud to be able to offer this same opportunity in my Senate office today, where I have interns year-round working closely with my staff on behalf of Kansans.

Applications for internships in my Washington, D.C. and Kansas offices for the fall 2019 session are due June 14. Congressional internships are open to qualified undergraduate and graduate students who have an interest in public service and have achieved academic excellence. Click here for more information and to apply.

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,

    To unsubscribe from this newsletter, please click here.

    Kansans in the Office
    Joel Delagardelle of Overland Park
    Jay Brame of Prairie Village
    Martin Draper of Manhattan
    Megan Rolf of Manhattan
    Aaron Lackamp of Lenexa
    Claire Lackamp of Lenexa
    Scott Anderson of Lawrence
    Maegan Butterberg of Topeka

    American College of Physicians
    Rami Diab of Wichita
    Isaac Opole of Leawood
    Rebecca Opole of Leawood
    Benjamin Quick of Leawood
    Ky Stoltzfus of Wichita
    Donna Sweet of Wichita
    Jerrica Warner of Kansas City

    Brewers Association
    Phillip Bradley of Lawrence
    JJ Johns of Emporia

    Capitol Tour
    Callahan Akins of Overland Park
    Charleston Akins of Overland Park
    Charlotte Akins of Overland Park
    Claire Akins of Overland Park
    Hattie Akins of Overland Park
    Henry Akins of Overland Park
    Erica Ash of Mission Hills
    Ryan Ash of Mission Hills
    Scott Black of Shawnee
    Ruth Blick of Prairie Village
    Bryan Clark of Atchison
    Josh Deibert of Shawnee
    Matthew Diebert of Shawnee
    Paula Flores of Garden City
    Ronald Gish of Topeka
    Kristen Hoffman of Shawnee
    Mandi Nance of Hartford
    Robert Nance of Hartford
    Lindsey Murphy of Kansas City
    Mike Murphy of WaKeeney
    Monique Phillips of WaKeeney
    Travis Phillips of WaKeeney
    Garrison Riley of De Soto
    Christopher Yeo of Hartford
    Miranda Young of Shawnee

    Eisenhower Series
    Amy Bankston of Wichita
    Barbra Donovan of Hanover
    DeAnn Hill of Baxter Hills
    Rhonda McGraw of Olathe
    Christy McNally of Mulberry
    Terri Mujica McLain of Leawood
    Julia Nelson of Long Island
    Sandra Pickert of Wichita
    Katie Sawyer of McPherson
    Sophie Sawyer of Overland Park
    Missey Smith of Overland Park
    Laurel Stiffler of Shawnee
    Sara Shipman of Topeka

    Emerald City Rocket Club
    Scott Blanck of Shawnee
    Joshua Deibert of Shawnee
    Matthew Deibert of Shawnee
    Kristen Hoffman of Shawnee
    Garrison Riley of De Soto
    Miranda Young of Shawnee

    Heating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Distribution
    Tyler Chorney of Wichita
    Chris Forth of Wichita
    Phillip Martin of Wichita

    iSi Environmental
    Gary Mason of Maize

    Kansas Association of Realtors
    Doug Barrington of Topeka
    Linda Briden of Iola
    John Brocker of Iola
    Steven Burch of Junction City
    Greta-Carter Wilson of Lawrence
    Dennis Clary of Wichita
    Scott Deneve of Overland Park
    Jon Fort of Garden City
    Elita Fry of Rose Hill
    Kern Gehle of Topeka
    Brian Jones of Pittsburg
    Steven LaRue of Lawrence
    Marsha McConnell of Hutchinson
    John McKenzie of Wichita
    Deborah McMullen of Lawrence
    Monica Miller of Paola
    Kathleen Minden of Paola
    Natalie Moyer of Wichita
    Steven Moyer of Overland Park
    Max Palmer of Prairie Village
    Margaret Pendleton of Manhattan
    Chris Rost of Salina
    Dan Sight of Leawood
    Patrick Vogelsberg of Topeka
    Henry Wertin of Lawrence
    Sydney West of Olathe
    Todd Woodburn of Wichita
    Christian Zarif of Overland Park

    Kansas Motor Carrier Association
    Kimberly Bonhart of Olathe
    Terry Budimlija of Lenexa
    Kay Hendrix of Topeka
    Mark Munds of Wichita
    Tony Whitaker of Topeka

    Kansas State Troopers Association
    Bryan Clark of Atchison
    Trooper Lindsey Murphy of Kansas City
    Capt. Michael Murphy of WaKeeney
    Lt. Travis Phillips of WaKeeney

    National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors
    Arthur Allen of Wichita
    Steven Elliot of Wichita

    National Ready Mixed Concrete Association
    Andrew Groth of Overland Park
    Dave Henderson of Ellis
    Mike Porter of Neodesha
    John Rathbun of Lawrence
    Amy St. Pierre of Overland Park

    National Turfgrass Federation
    Mark Johnson of Lawrence

    Nelson Poultry Farms
    Greg Nelson of Manhattan

    Promotional Products Association
    Brian Porter of Overland Park

    Sizewise Rentals
    Jody Scoby of Hays

    Truesdell Middle School TARC Team
    Terrell Davis of Wichita
    Kayden Eskins of Wichita
    TyErra Field of Wichita
    Chad Giovard of Wichita
    Steve Hamous of Wichita
    David Harwood of Leawood
    Reagan Harwood of Leawood
    Kalon Kirk of Wichita
    Jeff Lackey of Conway Springs
    Austin Leiker-Walter of Wichita
    Madeleine Leiker-Walter of Wichita
    Bill Lindsay of Wichita
    Leslie Love of Wichita
    Dean McDaniel of Council Grove
    Chris Rech of Emporia
    Ian Sweetwater of Wichita
    Michael White of Topeka

    USACE Kansas City District
    Jennifer Switzer of Overland Park

    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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