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WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) – chairman of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance and Data Security – today questioned current and former executives from Equifax, Inc. and Yahoo!, Inc. about their cybersecurity practices in the wake of major data breaches during a Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee hearing entitled, “Protecting Consumers in the Era of Major Data Breaches.”

“Businesses entrusted with consumers’ sensitive personal and financial information have an obligation to do all that they can to protect it, no matter the cost,” said Sen. Moran. “Today’s hearing provided an opportunity to address how these breaches occurred and the actions these businesses have vowed to take to prevent a breach of this scope from happening again. As cyber criminals becomes more advanced, companies, too, must adapt to protect American consumers.”

Witnesses included Equifax Interim Chief Executive Officer Paulino do Rego Barros, Jr., Former Equifax Chief Executive Officer Richard Smith, Former Yahoo! Chief Executive Officer Marissa Mayer, Verizon (parent company of Yahoo! since June 2017) Deputy General Counsel and Chief Privacy Officer Karen Zacharia and Entrust Datacard Corp. President and Chief Executive Officer Todd Wilkinson.

Background:

  • Yahoo! suffered data breaches in 2013 and 2014 and announced just last month that these breaches affected all three billion of its user accounts – the largest breaches in history.
  • Equifax suffered a data breach earlier this year that affected approximately 145 million individuals, including private personal and financial information.

Click here to watch today’s hearing.

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) – member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee – today questioned panelists during a Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation and the Internet hearing entitled, “Advancing the Internet of Things in Rural America.” The hearing was convened to examine the current usage of the Internet of Things (IoT) in rural America, to assess the economic and societal benefits of IoT in rural communities and to explore potential infrastructure needs.

“Making certain that more of our rural communities can utilize technologies related to the Internet of Things in their homes, classrooms and businesses is crucial to closing the digital divide,” said Sen. Moran. “I look forward to continuing this discussion next week during my subcommittee hearing on data usage practices for farms to improve interconnection among members of our rural agricultural community.”

Sen. Moran will convene a hearing next Tuesday, November 14 in his Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance and Data Security entitled, “Technology in Agriculture: Data-Driven Farming.”

Click here to watch today’s hearing.


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WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) – member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee – today questioned panelists during a Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation and the Internet hearing entitled, “Advancing the Internet of Things in Rural America.” The hearing was convened to examine the current usage of the Internet of Things (IoT) in rural America, to assess the economic and societal benefits of IoT in rural communities and to explore potential infrastructure needs.

“Making certain that more of our rural communities can utilize technologies related to the Internet of Things in their homes, classrooms and businesses is crucial to closing the digital divide,” said Sen. Moran. “I look forward to continuing this discussion next week during my subcommittee hearing on data usage practices for farms to improve interconnection among members of our rural agricultural community.”

Sen. Moran will convene a hearing next Tuesday, November 14 in his Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance and Data Security entitled, “Technology in Agriculture: Data-Driven Farming.”

Click here to watch today’s hearing.


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WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) today issued the following statement regarding former Leavenworth VA Physician Assistant Mark Wisner’s sentencing for sexual crimes against his veteran patients:

“Wisner's sentencing brings a measure of justice to the veterans who endured pain and suffering at the hands of an individual that never should have been allowed to treat them,” said Sen. Moran. “Though nothing can erase the harm Mr. Wisner has done, his sentencing is a start. Since learning of Wisner’s crimes, we have been successful in changing the law to make certain that those who violate the sacred trust of our veterans in such an egregious manner can never again be rewarded with unjustly guaranteed benefits at taxpayer expense. No one should ever look the other way, and never should this abuse of veterans be tolerated.”

Following multiple allegations of sexual abuse in the VA Eastern Kansas Health Care System against former Physician Assistant Mark Wisner, Sen. Moran repeatedly pressed the VA for answers as to how his egregious actions against veterans could occur and how, after the allegations were confirmed by Mr. Wisner himself, he could have been allowed to retire from the VA, retaining his pension and benefits.

In a September 2016 letter, Sen. Moran wrote to then-VA Secretary Bob McDonald to question the VA’s processes for hiring staff who apply at the VA and have previous criminal records like Mr. Wisner. Later that month, Sen. Moran introduced legislation, the Accountability to Safeguard Veterans from Violent Crimes Act of 2016, to reduce pensions earned by certain VA health care employees who are convicted of a crime of violence against a veteran. This bipartisan legislation, which passed the full Senate in December of 2016, would hold accountable those individuals who exploit their position in patient care to abuse veterans. Sen. Moran re-introduced legislation this Congress to make certain that senior VA executives and health care employees convicted of a felony related to their position at the VA would not receive the same benefits as those who honorably serve our nation’s veterans. Sen. Moran’s provisions were expanded to all VA employees and included in the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act, which passed the Senate on June 7 and was signed into law on June 23.

Mr. Wisner was charged with aggravated sexual battery, aggravated criminal sodomy and misdemeanor sexual battery and faced numerous federal lawsuits stemming from his actions as an employee of the VA.

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Sen. Moran, Rep. Marshall Introduce Legislation to Aide Farmers and Ranchers Impacted by Natural Disasters

Legislation inspired by experiences of Clark County, Kan., and surrounding communities after March wildfires

Nov 02 2017

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and U.S. Representative Roger Marshall (KS-01) today introduced legislation to improve and reform livestock disaster programs Kansas farmers and ranchers rely on in times of natural disaster. The legislation includes four bills to make changes to the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency’s (FSA) Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) and Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) based on Kansas farmers’ and ranchers’ feedback following southwest Kansas wildfires earlier this year, the Anderson Creek fire and many other recent natural disasters.

“This spring, Kansas was devastated by fires and tornadoes that swept across the plains,” said Sen. Moran. “I was not surprised that Kansans worked together as friends and neighbors to overcome many of the challenges they faced. However, over the months that followed, I spoke with a number of farmers and ranchers regarding the difficulties they faced at the federal level following devastating fires. This legislation, based on feedback from Kansans, will provide greater financial assistance and ease the burden on farmers and ranchers who feed the nation, even during disastrous times. The changes to the LIP and ECP programs in this legislation will make certain that the FSA resources get to agriculture producers in need quickly and efficiently. I’m pleased to work with Rep. Marshall on this vital legislation for our farmers and ranchers to help them to recover and rebuild during devastating times.”

"After several visits to survey the fire damage in southwest Kansas, I came away inspired by the resilience of the folks who were impacted,” said Rep. Marshall. “I also left frustrated by the way red tape and outdated regulations can interfere with a recovery. Through the experience of two wildfires in two years, we have found several areas where adjustments to programs would improve their delivery. These four bills represent a much-needed step toward making disaster programs more responsive to producers.”

“The ranching community appreciates the support of Senator Moran and Representative Marshall throughout the response and recovery from the spring wildfires,” said Kansas Livestock Association President David Clawson, a rancher from Englewood. “This legislation represents a common-sense approach to disaster program shortcomings reported by cattle producers and landowners. These changes will provide more effective assistance to those affected by future disasters.”

The first of the four bills, S. 2050, would allow for LIP partial payments. The second, S. 2053, would double the LIP payment limit. The third, S. 2054, would create an ECP fencing option to allow for upfront payments. The fourth bill, S. 2049, would raise the ECP payment limit.

S. 2050 would allow producers to receive a partial payment through the LIP program in the event livestock were severely injured, but still salvageable. Producers would be able to receive disaster payments for the difference between what a producer would receive at a processing facility versus the LIP payment for the same animal.

S. 2053 would double the LIP payment limit in an effort to make certain that ranchers who lose hundreds of their cattle in one disaster can have a chance at recovery. The current LIP payment limit covers about 70 cow-calf pairs. Several individual operations in Kansas lost over 500 head of cattle during the southwest Kansas fires this year. The increased payment limit would also apply to the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) and Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-raised Fish Program (ELAP).

A significant portion of ECP payments issued to farmers and ranchers following disasters go toward repairing and replacing damaged or destroyed fences. Construction requires large upfront costs for material and labor, but the current design of the ECP slows down the payment process. During the Anderson Creek fire, for example, it took more than a year in most cases for landowners to receive ECP payments. S. 2054 would give the USDA the authority to offer landowners the option to be paid upfront the fair market value of the portion of the fence that the USDA approves to be built or repaired under ECP requirements.

S. 2049 would raise the ECP payment limits to better accommodate the costs of rebuilding fences. Natural disasters like fires can damage hundreds of miles of fence at a time, as they did during the Clark County fires. This bill would match the ECP payment limit to the Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP). As fences cost approximately $10,000 per mile to rebuild, the current ECP limit covers approximately 26 miles of fence at 75 percent cost-share, creating a significant gap between the fence covered by the ECP and the fence needed. This legislation would narrow that gap.

In March, Sen. Moran met with USDA then-Acting Secretary Michael Young to request urgent FSA payments through the LIP and ECP programs, among others, and inquire about program payment limits legal entity definition. He continues to urge USDA to use its existing authority to administer ECP with maximum flexibility, specifically in regard to NRCS fencing specifications. He also addressed the impact of the Clark County fires in a speech on the Senate floor.

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) today introduced S. 2038, the Fairness for Korean DMZ Veterans Act of 2017, bipartisan legislation to expand presumption for veterans who served in the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). The bill would change the presumptive dates to cover the period of Sept. 1, 1967-Aug. 31, 1971 in order to provide additional access to critical healthcare benefits for veterans exposed to toxic substances. The Fairness for Korean DMZ Veterans Act of 2017 was cosponsored by Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Richard Blumenthal (D-NY) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). Companion legislation was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.).

“Many veterans who served in the Korean DMZ during the Vietnam War are suffering from significant health conditions associated with exposure to toxic herbicides, and some of these veterans are still excluded from qualifying for the healthcare benefits they need,” said Sen. Moran. “The Fairness for Korean DMZ Veterans Act would help more Korean DMZ veterans have access to critical healthcare benefits they have been previously denied. I am grateful to again work with Sen. Tester on this vital issue and encourage my colleagues to support this legislation so we can finally resolve this issue and Korean DMZ veterans can begin receiving the benefits they deserve.”

“When service members deploy to harm’s way and are exposed to toxic chemicals, our country has a responsibility to meet their health care needs,” said Sen. Tester. “This bipartisan bill recognizes the sacrifice of Korean DMZ veterans and ensures they have access to the services they have earned.”

“This bill honors our country’s commitment to providing veterans with the quality care they need and deserve for their service,” said Sen. Wyden. “I’m proud to join my colleagues to keep fighting for Korean DMZ veterans suffering decades later from their exposure to damaging chemicals.”

“I’m grateful that Senator Moran is introducing The Fairness for Korean DMZ Veterans Act in the Senate,” said Rep. MacArthur. “As the son of a Korean War veteran and Representative of more than 50,000 veterans, I originally introduced this bill in the House because I believe we have a moral obligation to provide quality care for our veterans. This bill will ensure hundreds of veterans who served at the Korean DMZ that are suffering from Agent Orange and other herbicide-related conditions finally receive the care they deserve.”

“The VFW is proud to stand with Senator Moran in support of veterans who served on the Korean DMZ prior to April of 1968 and now suffer from adverse health conditioned associated with exposure to Agent Orange. Those veterans, from several Army units, supported our Korean allies and their service has caused health problems which cannot be ignored,” said VFW National Legislative Service Director Carlos Fuentes. “This legislation would properly recognize the earlier time period that Agent Orange was used and, in turn, clear the hurdles that veterans have faced when securing their earned benefits from VA.”

Declassified Department of Defense (DoD) documents indicate that the testing period occurred before the current presumptive dates. Currently, presumption for Korean DMZ veterans only covers the time period of April 1, 1968-Aug. 31, 1971. The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) estimates the approximate number of Korean DMZ veterans the Fairness for Korean DMZ Veterans Act of 2017 could benefit is between 1,000-1,500. 

Items to Note:

  • In March 2016, several Senators wrote to then-Secretary McDonald urging him to use his authority to extend the presumption of Agent Orange Exposure for the entirety of the testing period, as well as the spraying period in light of this new evidence and successful appeals.
  • In March 2017, Sens. Moran and Tester introduced legislation, S. 726, to allow veterans who have been exposed to toxic substances in classified incidents to access their military records as they apply for disability benefits and VA health care. In September, this legislation was included in passage of this year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

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Bipartisan Group of Senators Urge FCC to Ensure Access to Affordable Broadband in Rural Communities

39 Senators press FCC to address USF budget shortfall

Nov 01 2017

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran, (R-Kan.), member of the Senate Commerce Committee, along with Senators Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), today led a bipartisan group of senators in a letter urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to ensure its commitment to affordable and reliable broadband for consumers in the hardest to reach communities across rural America.

The senators write, “A lack of resources to meet our [shared national broadband] goals is undermining investment and consumer access to affordable broadband across much of rural America. For this reason, we write to encourage the FCC to take the much-needed step of addressing the High-Cost Universal Service Fund (USF) budget shortfall.”

“Many of the providers that serve rural consumers and businesses in our states have already begun to feel the pain of an arbitrary budget cap on High-Cost USF support. We urge the FCC to take action as quickly as possible to ensure the High-Cost USF program provides sufficient and predictable support to help deliver affordable, high-quality broadband to rural consumers.”

The effort has the support of key industry associations.

Shirley Bloomfield, NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association CEO, said, “We are grateful to Sens. Moran, Roberts and Klobuchar for their leadership on rural broadband issues by urging the FCC to address the USF budget shortfall that is hampering the availability and affordability of broadband in rural America. They, and the other members of Congress that signed this letter, understand the critical role of a sufficiently funded high-cost USF program in promoting broadband investment and adoption. “This bipartisan letter, sent at a time where the FCC is evaluating how to address the insufficiency of the current USF budget, highlights the continued dedication of Congress in making sure the USF mechanisms work as intended to prioritize consumers and close the digital divide for rural communities.

Derrick Owens, Vice President for Government Affairs of the Western Telecommunications Alliance (WTA) said, “WTA and its more than 340 small, rural-based telecommunications providers are grateful for the attention that this bipartisan group of Senators have brought to the important issue of rural broadband. The Universal Service Fund has been effective in bringing telecommunications and now broadband service to rural America, but if that is to continue funding must be sufficient and predictable for further broadband buildout and deployment. FCC Chairman Pai recently committed to address the sufficiency of USF and WTA looks forward to working with him and Congress on this matter."

In addition to Roberts, Moran, and Klobuchar, the letter was signed by: Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Angus King (I-Maine), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), James Risch (R-Idaho), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Luther Strange (R-Ala.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.).

The full letter is as follows:

Honorable Ajit Pai, Michael O’Rielly, Mignon Clyburn, Jessica Rosenworcel, Brendan Carr
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street SW
Washington, DC 20554

Dear Commissioners:

We applaud the efforts of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to streamline and strengthen the federal High-Cost Universal Service Fund (USF). This program is critical to achieving our shared national broadband goals and closing the digital divide. 

Yet, as we and many others have noted consistently in recent years, a lack of resources to meet these national goals is undermining investment and consumer access to affordable broadband across much of rural America. For this reason, we write to encourage the FCC to take the much-needed step of addressing this USF budget shortfall.

Earlier this year, approximately 160 members of Congress raised similar concerns in letters to the FCC. Since these letters were sent, many providers have continued to experience a significant reduction in support. In the ensuing months, many of us have continued to press the FCC to resolve these concerns. We believe that the FCC is best positioned to identify a solution to the budget shortfall that is limiting access to reliable and affordable broadband in rural communities. 

While we recognize that a thoughtful long-term solution to the budget shortfall will take time and effort to identify and assess, many of the small providers that serve rural consumers and businesses in our states have already begun to feel the pain of an arbitrary budget cap on High-Cost USF support. We urge the FCC to take action as quickly as possible to ensure the High-Cost USF program provides sufficient and predictable support to help deliver affordable, high-quality broadband to rural consumers. At a minimum, we ask that you ensure that there is no reduction in funds allocated to or collected for the High-Cost program until you have reached a comprehensive solution to High-Cost funding.

Thank you for your commitment to this important program and the millions of rural consumers who benefit from it. We look forward to both quick action and a comprehensive plan that effectively responds to this crisis.

Sincerely, 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Chris Coons (D-DE), and Representatives Ted Poe (R-TX-02) and Mike Thompson (D-CA-05) re-introduced bipartisan legislation to level the energy playing field by giving investors in a range of clean energy projects access to a decades-old corporate structure whose tax advantage is currently available only to investors in fossil fuel-based energy projects. The Master Limited Partnerships Parity Act is a straightforward, powerful modification of the federal tax code that could unleash significant private capital by helping an emerging class of energy-generation and renewable fuel companies to form master limited partnerships, which combine the funding advantages of corporations and the tax advantages of partnerships. 

“The United States has the largest and most efficient capital markets in the world, yet our renewable energy companies rarely have access to those markets,” said Senator Moran. “In order to grow our economy and increase our energy security, sound economic tools like master limited partnerships (MLPs) should be expanded to include additional domestic energy sources. The MLP Parity Act will allow the renewable energy sector to utilize the MLP structure for project development making it accessible to a broader and deeper investment pool that can drastically reduce the time and cost associated with deploying new energy technologies.”

“Clean energy technologies have made tremendous progress in the last several decades, and they deserve the same shot at success in the market as traditional energy projects have experienced through the federal tax code,” said Senator Coons. “By updating the code, the bipartisan Master Limited Partnerships Parity Act levels the playing field for a broad range of domestic energy sources -- clean and traditional alike -- to support the all-of-the-above energy strategy we need to power our country for generations to come. This practical, market-driven solution will unleash private capital and create jobs, and that’s why it has earned broad support from Republicans and Democrats in Congress as well as think tanks, business leaders, and investors.  Updating the tax code in this way will help increase parity and ensure that these energy technologies can permanently benefit from the incentives that traditional energy sources have depended on to build infrastructure for more than 30 years.”

“For years, the United States has allowed our energy security to be subject to turmoil and mayhem in the Middle East,” said Representative Poe. “It is in our best interest to pursue a comprehensive energy strategy that encourages the domestic production of all energy. This common-sense tax credit will help the United States do just that.”

“This bipartisan bill will make it easier and more appealing for private capital to be invested in renewable energy,” said Representative Thompson. “We need to take a comprehensive approach to America’s energy future. By leveling the playing field and treating renewable energy the same way we do oil and gas, we can create jobs, diversify our energy infrastructure, and allow for the creation of more renewable energy sources and technology."

A master limited partnership (MLP) is a business structure that is taxed as a partnership, but whose ownership interests are traded like corporate stock on a market. By statute, MLPs are currently only available to investors in energy portfolios for oil, natural gas, coal extraction, and pipeline projects.

These projects get access to capital at a lower cost and are more liquid than traditional financing approaches to energy projects, making them highly effective at attracting private investment. Investors in clean energy projects, however, have been explicitly prevented from forming MLPs, starving a fast growing portion of America’s domestic energy sector of the capital it needs to build and grow.

Newly eligible energy resources would include solar, wind, marine and hydrokinetic, fuel cells, energy storage, combined heat and power, biomass, waste heat to power, renewable fuels, biorefineries, energy efficient buildings, carbon capture utilization and storage.

In the Senate, the MLP Parity Act was cosponsored by Senators Chris Coons (D-DE), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Angus King (I-ME), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Martin Heinrich (D-NM).

In the House, the MLP Parity Act was cosponsored by Representatives Ted Poe (R-TX-02), Mike Thompson (D-CA-05), Mark Amodei (R-NV-02), Peter Welch (D-VT-AL), Jerry McNerney (D-CA-09), Paul Gosar (R-AZ-04), and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-03). 

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WASHINGTON – During today’s policy meeting with President Donald Trump, U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) – chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies and member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee – encouraged President Trump to continue prioritizing our nation’s veterans. After the meeting, Sen. Moran released the following statement:

“We discussed a number of important issues, including our nation’s veterans and the Veterans Choice program in today’s policy meeting with the President. I encouraged President Trump to continue to prioritize healthcare reform at the VA and to work with the Veterans’ Affairs Committee on proposed legislation. The President conveyed his support, and I look forward to continuing to work with the Administration and my Senate colleagues to put forward commonsense and simple solutions to provide our nation’s heroes with the quality care they have earned.” 

Following President Trump’s inauguration, Sen. Moran also sent a letter to the President to seek his support and work with the Senate to improve the VA. To view the letter, click here. This spring, Sen. Moran and a number of his Senate colleagues introduced legislation which was signed into law in April to extend the Veterans Choice Program. 

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WASHINGTON – To promote the significant strategic and economic benefits of locating Amazon’s second corporate headquarters in the Kansas City area, members of the Kansas and Missouri congressional delegations today sent a letter to Amazon’s Office of Economic Development in support of the proposal submitted by the Kansas City Area Development Council. This bipartisan letter was led by U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) and signed by U.S. Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) and U.S. Representatives Lynn Jenkins (KS-02), Kevin Yoder (KS-03), Sam Graves (MO-6), Emanuel Cleaver, II (MO-5) and Vicky Hartzler (MO-4).

“As Amazon’s Office of Economic Development considers potential sites for a second corporate headquarters, we write in support of the proposal submitted by the Kansas City Area Development Council on behalf of the entire Kansas City region, including Kansas and Missouri,” the members wrote. “The diversity of exemplary educational institutions in the area will naturally serve as an abundant source of skilled labor to Amazon as it has for existing employers in the region, and access to the top quality public and private educational opportunities in the country continue to draw families to the Kansas City area.”

“As a bipartisan, bi-state coalition of United States Senators and Representatives, we strongly support the qualified proposal submitted by the Kansas City Area Development Council,” the members continued. “Thank you for your full and fair consideration.”

Full text of the letter can be found below and attached:

October 19, 2017

Amazon
Office of Economic Development
c/o Site Manager Golden
2121 7th Avenue
Seattle, Washington 98121

To Whom It May Concern,

As Amazon’s Office of Economic Development considers potential sites for a second corporate headquarters, we write in support of the proposal submitted by the Kansas City Area Development Council on behalf of the entire Kansas City region, including Kansas and Missouri.

The Greater Kansas City region has a rich history of innovative technology companies like Sprint Corporation, Garmin International, and Cerner Corporation as well as a thriving startup community occupied by collaborative entrepreneurial partnerships like the Kansas City Startup Village and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

Thanks to Google Fiber and followed by other ISPs, Kansas City is the nation’s first bistate gigabit Internet region. Amazon employees will be able to access this network at their homes throughout the region and this infrastructure allows tremendous opportunities for business resilience programming as well as distance working opportunities.

The diversity of exemplary educational institutions in the area will naturally serve as an abundant source of skilled labor to Amazon as it has for existing employers in the region, and access to the top quality public and private educational opportunities in the country continue to draw families to the Kansas City area.

Amazon recognizes the strategic location of the Kansas City metropolitan area with a number of Amazon facilities, including the selection of Edgerton, and Kansas City, Kansas for two state-of-the-art fulfillment centers. These distribution centers benefit from well-established and advanced transportation infrastructure, including connecting interstate highways and rail lines along with numerous regional airports and KC’s international airport for the efficient and effective transportation of products and people. With local economic development partners like KC SmartPort, international trade continues to expand in the region. In addition, the RideKC program and MAX Bus Rapid Transit services offer accessible, expedient, and safe commutes for employees and their families.

In the last decade, Kansas City has revitalized its downtown area, including the vibrant Power & Light District, an eight-block development which offers an exciting urban lifestyle filled with easily accessible shopping, dining and entertainment. The 20,000 seat indoor arena, Sprint Center, is host to numerous headlining concerts and the Big 12 Men's Basketball Tournament in 2008 and every year since 2010. These developments, along with the new Kansas City Streetcar, have prompted more than $2 billion in downtown economic investments, with an explosion in the number of downtown residents. In addition, Kansas City is also recognized as a great place to raise a family with an abundance of quality housing options – from urban to suburban - and recent economic development investments.

Locals enjoy a wide-range of dynamic entertainment and cultural landmarks like the U.S. Open Cup Champion Sporting Kansas City MLS team, the 2015 World Series Champion Kansas City Royals, the city’s vibrant arts community at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art or the Grammy-winning Kansas City Symphony, or exciting NASCAR events at the Kansas Speedway. The area also maintains some of the best parks and recreational destinations in the nation according to the National Park and Recreation Association. Kansas City remains an epicenter supporting small business owners who find a creative community that welcomes their independent shops and entrepreneurial dreams.

As a bipartisan, bistate coalition of United States Senators and Representatives, we strongly support the qualified proposal submitted by the Kansas City Area Development Council. Thank you for your full and fair consideration.

Sincerely,

Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS)
Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS)
Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins (KS-02)
Congressman Kevin Yoder (KS-03)
Congressman Sam Graves (MO-6)
Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II (MO-5)
Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (MO-4) 

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