Kansas Common Sense

Update on Quivira National Wildlife Refuge
While making visits to communities across Kansas, I continue to hear concerns about the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge. Last week, I spoke with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Director, Martha Williams to discuss concerns about her agency’s Request to Secure Water with the Kansas Depart of Agriculture-Division of Water Resources related to senior water rights of the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge in south-central Kansas. 

If FWS moves ahead to secure water rights, their action could retire critical junior water rights in the Rattlesnake Basin. This means nearly 800 water rights may be shut off by FWS’s action, impacting not just irrigation and livestock water but municipal and industrial water as well. Some stakeholders estimate that the state may lose $300 to $500 million in annual agricultural activity and as much as $1 billion in annual economic activity. 

During our conversation, I reiterated the concerns and potential devastation this could bring to rural Kansas communities and the agricultural economy. I will continue working with local stakeholders and state leaders to find a solution that works for everyone.

Read more here in the Topeka Capital Journal.

Pure Imagination moves to K-State Salina
On Tuesday I joined community leaders and elected officials to celebrate and announce a partnership between Kansas State University Salina Aerospace and Technology Campus, Pure Imagination Studios, Salina Airport Authority, and the State of Kansas. Together, the Kansas Advanced Immersive Research and Emerging Systems Center (K-AIRES) will be established to teach and train the next generation with immersive technology in a new state of the art facility.

It was also great to receive an update on the General Atomics innovation ramp also on K-State Salina’s campus, which will be a teaching and research facility dedicated to advanced air mobility. This project is funded in part thanks to General Atomics generous donation to K-State Salina. This partnership with General Atomics is another example of the many businesses that are choosing to invest and build in Kansas.

Federal Investment for Hugoton Police Department
On Thursday, I announced new federal resources for the Hugoton Police Department. As the lead Republican on the Appropriations Subcommittee that funds the Department of Justice, I worked to help secure these resources for Hugoton and  other rural police departments across Kansas. This federal investment allocates funds to the Hugoton Police Department to purchase patrol vehicles. 

I appreciated being able to meet and speak with members of the Hugoton Police Department about the importance of supporting law enforcement. Thank you to Police Chief Courtney Leslie, Mayor Jack Rowden, City Clerk Carrie L. Baeza, Ardith Dunn and Steve Morris for joining me for this announcement.

Touring Prairie Food Wednesday
On Wednesday, I was invited to tour PrairieFood Pratt County distribution plant. Prairiefood manufactures a soil additive which restores soil health and fertility using organic waste which would otherwise be discarded. I appreciated the opportunity to learn about a Kansas business helping farmers to raise crop yields and maintain rich ground. With their technical expertise and entrepreneurial spirit, PrairieFood helps keep Kansas on the cutting-edge in sustainable agriculture. Thank you to Jason and his team for their time and contribution to Kansas’ agricultural heritage.