Kansas Common Sense


Welcome to “Kansas Common Sense.” Thanks for your continued interest in receiving my weekly newsletter. Please feel free to forward it on to your family and friends if it would interest them.

Robba and I hope you and your family had a wonderful Thanksgiving this week. We visited and dined with soldiers and their families at Ft. Riley, as well as Major General Martin and Sergeant Major Cornelison, and thanked them for their service on behalf of all Kansans. I had a little work to do before dining. My responsibilities: sweet potatoes, rice and dressing.

Our family had our traditional Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday and were all together in church on Sunday. We are thankful for the sacrifices and service of those enlisted in our armed forces, in Kansas and across the nation.

Visiting Leavenworth High School and the Leavenworth Kiwanis Club
I spent time in Leavenworth on Tuesday afternoon where I toured the high school and joined a Kiwanis Club meeting. My tour of Leavenworth High School was led by student leaders Chase Broeker and Madeline Murphy along with LHS Principal Christina Lentz. The students described their daily schedule and what their school offers, then showed me around the athletic facilities along with the theater, choir and band rooms. We visited the ROTC program, which has the distinct honor of being the oldest in the nation – first established in 1916. I also viewed Auto One class, which is held in partnership with Highland Community college, to see what the students were up to. Auto One students work on cars, learning mechanical skills and design. I was pleased to hear that LHS offers avenues to tech and vocational schools as well as four-year colleges.

Following my visit to LHS, the Salvation Army of Leavenworth County shared the Leavenworth Kiwanis Club program with me during their meeting at the Heritage Center. One of the many things I am thankful for is the good work of service organizations like the Kiwanis Club who provide for so many not only during the holiday season but year-round, getting Kansans young and old involved in serving one another. The Salvation Army is hard at work encouraging Red Kettle donations, which support year-round services such as homeless, emergency and disaster assistance, feeding programs and more. Our conversation during the meeting also touched on our healthcare system and the importance of providing our veterans with the care they have earned.

Hosting Kansas Listening Tour Stops in Marshall and Clay Counties
On Wednesday, I visited Frankfort as part of my Kansas Listening Tour and had a productive discussion with more than 90 Kansans about some of the concerns they have with legislation on the local and federal levels. We discussed veterans, the Choice program, my concerns regarding a NAFTA withdrawal, tax reform, healthcare and the importance of reauthorizing the Perkins Loan Program. Thank you to all who attended for sharing your thoughts with me and to the Frankfort Education Center for hosting our meeting.

My second listening tour stop of the week took place on Saturday in Clay County. I was pleased to visit with local residents about tax reform, NAFTA, CHIP reauthorization, health care, FCC regulations and the agriculture economy. I expressed my goal to keep jobs and business in places such as Clay Center for generations to come.

Thank you so the Tasty Pastry and Clay County locals for welcoming me and many others into their community.

Touring the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
As a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee that determines funding for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), I visited the CDC with Director Brenda Fitzgerald, accompanied by University of Kansas Health Systems Chief Medical Officer Dr. Wild, to discuss the CDC’s critical work to defend our nation by responding to international disease outbreaks and natural disasters – an important role in homeland security that often goes unheralded. I toured the Emergency Operations Center, where the CDC is actively responding to health crises in Puerto Rico in the wake of the extensive damage caused by Hurricane Maria. The CDC’s actions go beyond providing the basic necessities like water, common medicine and medical care and involve tasks such as restoring common vaccinations that were destroyed on the island.

The CDC is also continuously conducting research to be able to better identify markers of diseases so that in the case of an outbreak, the cause and care needed can be quickly identified and then provided. The CDC partners with state health agencies and labs across the country to respond to health concerns quickly and effectively.

I am grateful for Director Fitzgerald’s guidance of the agency and for her taking the time to update me on their important efforts, which protect the United States and improve lives across the world/.

Sending a Letter to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on NAFTA
I sent a bipartisan letter to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross this week asking the administration to conduct a robust economic analysis to evaluate how any changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) would affect our crop and livestock sectors. As the world’s top exporter of food and agricultural products, farmers in Kansas and across the country depend on access to international markets in which to sell their products. With the fifth round of NAFTA renegotiations underway, any changes to U.S. trade policy must be positive for agriculture, especially in a time of low commodity prices and decreasing farm income. Kansas farmers and ranchers can’t afford to lose access to Mexico and Canada, our state’s top two export markets.

See the full text of the letter here.

Attending the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Banquet Reception
I joined more than 1900 attendees at the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce’s 130th Annual Banquet Reception on Tuesday evening. The event was hosted at the Kansas City Convention Center. During the reception, I visited with numerous Kansas City area business, religious and civic leaders.

I was pleased to see that the Chamber announced a new partnership with Google to help in the development of an integrated transit system for the Kansas City area. Congratulations also to Roy Jenson for being named Kansas Citian of the Year. Jensen is the Director of the University of Kansas Cancer Center and under his leadership, the center has become one of 69 National Cancer Institutes. My thanks for all the Kansas City community leaders who I was able to spend time with at the reception.

Announcing 2017 United States Service Academy Nominations
Having the chance to nominate some of Kansas’ best and brightest young people to our United States Service Academies is a distinct honor for me each year. This year I have nominated 42 Kansans to enter the Service Academies as part of the class of 2018. I am proud of each and every one of these students, who have demonstrated a commitment to service, the drive to succeed and tremendous dedication to our state and our nation. To view a full list of the students nominated, please click here.

The interviews for these nominations took place at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene in October. My Service Academy Selection Board considered more than 60 young Kansans interested in attending the U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Air Force Academy or the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy before making their recommendations for me to review.

These nominees must now meet the individual admission requirements of each academy. The academies will make the final decision of who will receive an appointment of admission in early 2018. Those selected will enter the academies in June 2018.

Click here for more information and a video from Service Academy Selection Day.

Kansans in the Office

Capitol Tour
Rick Tague of Topeka
Kathy Tague of Topeka
Joe Hishmeh of Topeka
Cheryl Hishmeh of Topeka
Sandy Law of Tipton
Phyllis Schmitt of Tipton
Don Montgomery of Tipton
Virginia Montgomery of Tipton
Jon Bartholomew of Derby
Shari Bartholomew of Derby
Chad Lucas of Leawood
Angie Lucas of Leawood
Grant Lucas of Leawood
Hudson Lucas of Leawood
Payton Lucas of Leawood
Gregory Liby of Andale
Melissa Liby of Andale
Canyon Liby of Andale
Aspen Liby of Andale
Thomas Scanlan of Gypsum
Judy Scanlan of Gypsum
Tim Sturm of Wichita
Beth Sturm of Wichita
Edward Sturm of Wichita
Claire Sturm of Wichita
William Call of Farlington
Christine Call of Farlington
Madison Call of Farlington
Emma Call of Farlington
Austin Call of Farlington
Christopher Edenfield of Overland Park
Julia Terenjuk 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 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,

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