Kansas Common Sense

Visiting with Kansans

Visiting with Kansans
This past week, the Senate was adjourned to recognize President's Day, providing me the opportunity to meet with Kansans across the state. I was able to visit schools, businesses, organizations and medical facilities to listen to the needs of local communities and hear first-hand from Kansans about the challenges they are facing and how I can be helpful.

Midwest Transplant Network
On Tuesday morning, I Joined the staff of the Midwest Transplant Network’s Organ and Recovery Suite and Donor Care Unit in Westwood for a tour. Since 1973, they have worked with hospital partners in the region to be an important part of the organ donation chain in the Midwest and throughout the United States.

We also had a chance to talk about ways to help streamline the organ donation process, as well as my bill, the Securing the Organ Procurement and Transplant Network (OPTN) Act, which breaks up the monopoly contract currently held by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS).

Thank you to Midwest Transplant Network CEO Jan Finn and the network staff for meeting with me.


I joined Overland Park Mayor Curt Skoog on a visit to Netsmart to learn more about their mission and commitment to coordinating health care in the United States. We were able to follow up on Netsmart’s visit to Washington, D.C. and discuss the Ensuring Excellence in Mental Health Act, which will permanently authorize Certified Community Behavioral Health Centers (CCBHC) under Medicaid. There are 21 CCBHCs in Kansas that offer crucial crisis care and 24/7 services for those who need behavioral health services. 

Netsmart is using data from Overland Park and surrounding cities to bolster Johnson County Mental Health’s Co-responder programs to increase preparedness in the region. Additionally, Netsmart is advocating for an increase of tele-health services for rural areas so that people across the state have access to life-saving health care.

Thank you to Netsmart COO Tom Herzog, Senior Vice President Scott Green and Mayor Skoog for giving me a tour of the facility.


Osawatomie City and Economic Developers
This week, I met with Osawatomie city and economic development officials to learn about growing opportunities in the region. Various city officials, business owners and local development leaders highlighted challenges the region faces and ways to promote growth in the area. The city recently made investments in the community to help promote tourism growth. 

We also discussed Osawatomie's John Brown Memorial Park and Museum State Historical Site, which memorializes the Battle of Osawatomie, and efforts being made to include it in the National Historical Park system. 

Thank you to the City of Osawatomie for hosting me and to all those who joined me for this discussion.


Neosho County Community College
This week, I toured Neosho County Community College’s Mitchell Career and Technology Center. President Dr. Brian Inbody led me on a tour of the facility which opened in 2022 and provides space for programs, including aero structures, industrial maintenance technology, construction technology and welding. These programs allow students to gain both the skills they need and hands-on experience that will set them up for success in competitive industries across the state and country.

While on my tour, I visited representatives from KansasWorks and the TRIO program. These programs help connect students with career opportunities and with identifying federal grant options as well as free trainings to further explain career options. Thank you to Dr. Brian Inbody, Chamber Director Amy Jensen and Chanute City Manager Todd Newman for joining me on the tour.


Southeast Kansas Inc.
On Wednesday, I visited with board members of Southeast Kansas, Inc. (SEK Inc.)- a regional alliance of business leaders representing 12 counties in Southeast Kansas. SEK Inc. hosts manufacturer forums and regional conferences to address issues affecting communities, such as affordable housing and childcare. These forums allow space for community leaders to collaborate and promote economic growth in the area.

Thank you to Executive Director Patty Ann Sanborn and President Sam Budreau for allowing me to join them in Humboldt and to Southeast Kansas Inc. for all the work you do to make Kansas a great place to call home.


Allen Community College
Later on Wednesday, I toured Allen Community College (ACC) and met with their new president, Dr. Bruce Moses, who showed me around campus and shared information on several of their programs, including ACC’s early childhood education certificates. At ACC, students who complete an associate degree in early childhood education automatically meet Head Start and Early Head Start teaching requirements, a helpful step in addressing a shortage in the childcare workforce across the region.

ACC is also working on offering various new programs, including machine tool specialties, medical assistant and Emergency Medical Services training. The leadership at ACC understands the need for emergency services and childcare professionals around the nation, and I appreciate their dedication to providing Kansans the educational opportunities to help meet that workforce need.

Thank you to Dr. Moses, his staff, Board of Trustees Chair Becky Nilges and Iola Chamber Director Robin Schallie for the tour and for taking the time to visit with me.


Bishop Ward High School
This week, I stopped by Bishop Ward High School. It was great to see some of the students who were recently in my Washington D.C. office for the March for Life. During the tour, I met with various staff and faculty members to learn about the different classes and experiences Bishop Ward has to offer.

Thank you to Emily Jimenez, Nieves Vazquez, Daniel Sandoval, Rafael Zamora, Ezekiel Hernandez, Jessica Serrano, Raul Gonzalez Jr. and Father Tim Skoch for giving me a tour of your school.


Calling on Biden to Delete TikTok
On February 11, President Biden’s campaign made its first post on TikTok, the Chinese-owned social media platform that U.S. national security officials have highlighted as a threat to Americans’ sensitive personal data. President Biden using this platform, despite the warnings his administration has issued to Americans, sends a mixed message about the threats posed by TikTok. This week, I joined my colleagues in sending President Biden a letter urging him to close his account and reaffirm that TikTok is a national security threat. I will continue to work with my colleagues to protect U.S. data from being collected by foreign adversaries.

You can read more about my letter here.


Capitol Tour
Brett Dempewolf of Colby

Nichole Dempewolf of Colby

Megan Emerson of Topeka

Patrick Heim of Hoxie

Stacey Heim of Hoxie

Katelyn Huffman of Kansas City

Zachary Michaelis of Oakley

Claire Ohlde of Auburn

Christopher Schiltz of Oakley

Katlyn Selk of Kansas City

Larry Ummel of Colby

Sherry Ummel of Colby

Everett Weisgerber of Tecumseh

Landon Weisgerber of Tecumseh

Melissa Weisgerber of Tecumseh

Paul Weisgerber of Tecumseh

American Psychological Association
Jason Malousek of Overland Park

Midwest Transplant Network
Anna Weinstein of Westwood

David Soffer of Overland Park

Wichita State University
Neal Allen of Wichita

Paul Maguire of Wichita

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