Kansas Common Sense
Independence Day is a time to come together as Americans to commemorate our nation’s founding by renewing our commitment to fulfilling the responsibilities of citizenship. As you gathered to celebrate with your families and friends, I hope you took a moment to remember the sacrifices our veterans and servicemembers have made that allow you and me to continue living in the land of the free. Happy Fourth of July!
On Saturday, I joined the Kansas Hospital Association to meet with rural hospital administrators from hospitals across Kansas including Abilene, Council Grove, Clay Center, Washington, Marysville, Wamego, Onaga, Seneca and Holton. During this meeting, we discussed the unique issues facing rural hospitals including reimbursement rates, physician recruitment, telehealth needs and much more. Healthcare is the backbone of our Kansas communities, and we must work together to protect access to the vital services our rural hospitals provide. Thanks to these hospital administrators for the work they do to increase access to healthcare in their respective communities, and to Chad Austin of the Kansas Hospital Association for arranging our meeting.
Thank you to the more than 60 Geary County residents who joined me for a conversation Monday evening in Junction City. With Fort Riley just down the street, we discussed the recently-passed National Defense Authorization Act, which will provide our troops with their largest pay raise in a decade. We also discussed implementation of the VA MISSION Act and ways I am working in Congress to better connect our nation’s veterans with health and mental health resources.
Several other important topics were raised including trade with China, the need for Congress to expeditiously approve the USMCA, flooding in Kansas, Congress’ bipartisan work to drive down drug prices and last week’s Congressional approval of emergency resources to help address the humanitarian crisis at our border. Thank you also to the several local and state leaders who attended and shared their thoughts.
Thank you to the many Gove County residents who joined me on Tuesday morning in Quinter. We discussed issues such as healthcare, infrastructure, agriculture and making certain that students in rural communities have equal educational opportunities as their urban counterparts. We also discussed implementation of the VA MISSION Act, and the improved quality of care this legislation will offer our nation’s veterans.
I also provided an update on Congress’s bipartisan approval of emergency funds to protect our southern border and to address the humanitarian crisis in an orderly and humane manner. Thank you to all who attended and participated in this important discussion on the critical issues facing our state and nation.
Thank you to the many Kansans from Sheridan County who joined me in Hoxie on Tuesday afternoon. We discussed agriculture and the need for Congress to quickly ratify the USMCA, trade and the importance of economic development for our state.
I also provided an update on USDA’s recently-announced decision to move two of its critical research agencies to the Kansas City area – which will bring hundreds of good-paying jobs to the area and will get government closer to the people it serves. Thank you to everyone who attended to share their thoughts with me.
On Wednesday, I continued my Kansas Listening Tour in Sedgwick County. Thank you to the over 70 area residents who shared their feedback and ideas with me in Mulvane at American Legion Post #136, “Birthplace of the Patriot Guard.”
We discussed a number of topics including the recently-passed National Defense Authorization Act, which will provide our troops with their largest pay-raise in a decade. We also discussed veterans’ issues, the VA MISSION Act, trade, the need to quickly ratify USMCA, the emerging threat of Iran, the opioid epidemic and the recent approval of emergency funds to address the humanitarian crisis at our border.
Thank you to Commander Steve Coberly for opening Post #136 for the townhall. Thanks also to former American Legion National Vice Commander Paul Sandord, Wichita City Council member Becky Tuttle, Sedgwick County Commissioner Jim Howell, and Sedgwick County Commission Chair David Dennis for attending.
On Saturday, I hosted a Kansas Listening Tour stop in Pottawatomie County where we discussed issues relating to veterans’ healthcare, the VA MISSION Act and the need to prioritize veteran and community mental health resources. We also talked about rural broadband and my work to make certain communities across Kansas have access to this technology to compete in the global economy. Additionally, I stressed the importance of passing the USMCA trade agreement to increase market access for farmers, and the Senate’s recent action to provide humanitarian support for our southern border. Thanks to Wamego Telephone Company for hosting this townhall meeting and to State Representatives Ron Highland and Francis Awerkamp for attending.
In Alma, I joined folks at the Wabaunsee County Courthouse for a Listening Tour stop where we also discussed veterans’ healthcare, rural broadband and trade. Kansans know that farmers across our state are in the middle of wheat harvest. After a tough year of low commodity prices and flooding – some of which has delayed, or even halted, harvest – Kansas farmers are continuing their tireless work to feed a hungry world. During this discussion, we expressed our gratitude to Kansas farmers and I stressed the need for Congress to increase market access for our producers by passing the USMCA.
Participating in the Big Ditch Mitch Signing Ceremony
On Wednesday morning, I was in Wichita to celebrate the official dedication of the M.S. ‘Mitch’ Mitchell Floodway in honor of the longtime local flood control administrator. 50 years ago Mitch supervised one of the largest flood control projects in the nation which spans 18 miles with fifty miles of connecting channel, 100 miles of levees and 150 control structures. Scornfully nicknamed the “Big Ditch” in early years, the joint federal and local project cost $20 million to construct, but has yielded approximately $250 million in flood damage savings to Wichita and Sedgwick County.
I was joined by Congressman Ron Estes in passing legislation through Congress to rename this floodway in honor of Mitch. I was glad to see Congressman Estes as well as Sedgwick County Commission Chair David Dennis and Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell at Wednesday’s ceremony.
On Tuesday evening, I stopped by the Hays Area Chamber of Commerce (HACC) to attend a meet-and-greet reception for their new President and CEO Sarah Wasinger. Sarah was hired in May, replacing outgoing President and CEO Tammy Wellbrock who resigned earlier this year to pursue plans to launch her own professional training business. Sarah previously served as the board clerk and assistant to the superintendent for USD 489. Hays is fortunate to have a person with her skills, experience and passion to serve the community. I also had the opportunity to thank Tammy for her eight years of dedicated service to the HACC. During her tenure, Tammy led efforts to build community and economic prosperity in Hays. Her vision and leadership helped grow the Chamber’s presence and position the city for future success. Best wishes to Sarah and Tammy as they begin these new endeavors.
Prior to my Sedgwick County Listening Tour stop on Thursday, I joined folks from across Mulvane for the Carson Bank Hotdog Feed. Nearly 30 years ago, this event started as a way for Carson Bank to thank its customers and has since grown into a community-wide affair that draws several hundred attendees every year. Thank you to the Carson family for being such strong supporters of the Mulvane community and for welcoming me to their annual gathering.
Kansans in the Office
Cameron Beveridge of Lenexa
Jill Beveridge of Lenexa
Joe Beveridge of Lenexa
Julia Beveridge of Lenexa
Lainey Beveridge of Lenexa
Bennett Calvert of Overland Park
Grant Calvert of Overland Park
Melodi Calvert of Overland Park
Timothy Calvert of Overland Park
Toni Castellan of Harper
John DeMoss of Merriam
Desiree Ehm of Manhattan
Gary Ehm of Manhattan
Leah Ehm of Manhattan
Tanja Ehm of Manhattan
Alicia Goheen of Junction City
Hailey Gonzalez of Wichita
Alexis Hobbs of Parsons
Elizabeth Holland of Olathe
Harper Holland of Olathe
MacAllister Holland of Olathe
Sawyer Holland of Olathe
Tom Holland of Olathe
Bob Hottman of Harper
Kylie Jenkins of Parsons
Jamie Manning of Harper
Candiss McClatchey of Junction City
EmmaRae McDonald of Council Grove
Brynnan Mudd of Olathe
John Mudd of Olathe
Jonathan Mudd of Olathe
Melissa Mudd of Olathe
Kevinh Nguyen of Topeka
Emma Niederklein of Pittsburg
Dr. Jesse Niederklein of Pittsburg
Leah Niederklein of Pittsburg
Linda Niederklein of Pittsburg
Noah Niederklein of Pittsburg
Makenna Schneidwind of Junction City
Raelyn Scott of Council Grove
Isaac Stine of Wichita
Julie Stine of Wichita
Kerry Stine of Wichita
Lauren Textor of Kansas City
Tam Vu of Topeka
Julia Wright of Coffeyville
Tianzheng Yang of Manhattan
Xinhua Zhao of Manhattan
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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