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.

Encouraging the Administration to Prioritize Veterans
On Tuesday, President Trump attended the Senate’s weekly policy meeting. We discussed a number of important issues, including our nation’s veterans and the Veterans Choice program. 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 solutions to provide our nation’s heroes with the quality care they have earned.

Following President Trump’s inauguration, I 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, I joined a number of my Senate colleagues to introduce legislation which was signed into law in April to extend the Veterans Choice Program.

Addressing the Opioid Crisis
Drug overdose is now the leading cause of injury death in the United States, outnumbering both traffic crashes and gun-related deaths. In 2016, more than two million Americans had an addiction to prescription or illicit opioids, and since 2000, over 300,000 Americans have died from overdoses involving opioids. Across America, opioid addiction is ripping families apart, and far too many Kansans have lost loved ones to overdose. I am encouraged by President Trump’s declaration of this public health emergency, and I remain committed to addressing the opioid epidemic head-on.

Congress has taken significant steps to help curb opioid addiction, including through critical funding increases over the last several years. We have also focused specifically on solutions for opioid addiction among our veterans community – as chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies, our FY 2018 appropriations bill includes funds to help address opioid addiction nationwide. I will continue to work with my colleagues and the Administration on an aggressive, thoughtful response to this epidemic.

Speaking with Members of the Science Coalition
As a co-founder of the Senate Competitiveness Caucus, I spoke with The Science Coalition and founders of companies created from federally-funded research, including HylaPharm President Andrew Hansen from Lawrence, to discuss the importance of commercializing federal funding at universities across the nation. HylaPharm invented cutting-edge treatment technology that is both safer and more effective for certain types of cancer. The company and their technology were the result of research at the University of Kansas, the same type of research the Science Coalition aims to promote. Sustained quality research has long been a priority of mine, and I look forward to giving this issue the continual attention it deserves. 

The Science Coalition is a non-profit, nonpartisan organization of the nation’s leading public and private research universities dedicated to sustaining strong federal funding of basic scientific research as a means to stimulate the economy, spur innovation and drive America’s global competitiveness.

Touring ValuNet in Emporia to Discuss Rural Broadband Access
Americans should have access to high-quality, reliable and affordable broadband, regardless of where they live. Rural and underserved communities often experience a gap in these types of services. Closing this gap has been priority for me during my time in the Senate.

On Monday I met with ValuNet President Rick Tidwell, Vice President Stormy Supiran and Chairman Steve Sauder in Emporia to discuss the challenges for broadband expansion in their community and potential solutions. Thank you Rick, Stormy and Steve for your commitment to delivering important network services to your community.

Commemorating the Latest Addition to KU Health System
I was pleased to speak at the grand opening of the newest addition to the University of Kansas Health System network, Cambridge Tower A. Cambridge Tower A provides increased access to care for Kansans in a state-of-the-art facility. Thanks to all those who have supported this new addition through fundraising efforts, and to the University of Kansas Health System for continuing to strive to provide more and better care to Kansans. 

Visiting Russell Regional Hospital’s New Physicians Clinic
The Russell community has been eagerly anticipating the opening of a brand-new physicians’ clinic as part of Russell Regional Hospital since they broke ground on the new facility in March. The new clinic, which is scheduled for completion on December 26, has been funded solely by private donations – a great display of support. We discussed the hospital’s current staff and recruitment efforts, the 340B program, its Critical Access Hospital status, as well as the struggles its patients face with unaffordable insurance programs. The hospital has four physicians and three mid-level providers. My thanks to Interim CEO and HR Director Sharon Collins for spending her time showing me the new clinic. 

Learning About Missile Defense Capabilities
On Saturday I had the opportunity to visit Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station in Colorado Springs. While at Cheyenne Mountain, I learned about the unique mission of the Airmen stationed there – primarily in missile detection and warning as part of the U.S. Air Force Space Command. Thanks to Major General Joseph Guastella for hosting the tour and discussing our missile defense capabilities with me.

Kansans in the Office

American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists
Mwenda Yasa of Newton
Richard Scheffer of Wichita

Opportunity Finance Network
John Wiechmann of Topeka

American Farm Bureau
Gimmie Jo Jansonius of Prairie Village

National Association of Trailer Manufacturers
Pam Trusdale of Topeka
Lane McNeil of Topeka
Savanna Morrison of Lawrence 

Children’s Mental Health Providers
Daniel Tseng of Manhattan

Procter and Gamble
John Shaver of Kansas City
Kristen Walters of Kansas City

Mercy Without Limits
Mohamed Hassan of Overland Park
Reem Sharaf of Overland Park

Bill Muir of Manhattan

Envelope Manufacturers Association
Dean Rodenbaugh of Kansas City
William Berkley of Kansas City
Bert Berkley of Mission Hills

Customized Logistics and Delivery Association
Ryan Pfeiffer of Prairie Village

Jim Bell of Shawnee

Kansas Farm Bureau
Debbie Bearden of Iola

Rhonda Goddard of Penokee
Brian Boisvert of Wilson
Stacy Simmer of Hiawatha 

Capitol Tour
Glenn Stramel of Hays
Rhonda Stramel of Hays
Terry Dreher of Hays
Eileen Dreher of Hays
Thomas McBride, Jr. of Overland Park
Tiffany McBride of Overland Park
Thomas McBride of Overland Park
Charles McBride of Overland Park
Ram Chettiar of Overland Park
Dagoberto Heredia of Lawrence
Maria Vega Heredia of Lawrence
Carl Ezyk of Overland Park
Marilyn Flagg of Fort Scott
Ruby Myers of Fort Scott
Paul Kirsch of Overland Park
Lani Kirsch of Overland Park
Jennifer Kirsch of Overland Park
Ruby Dobbins of Overland Park
Todd Richardson of Overland Park
Don Kirk of Columbus
Laura Kirk of Columbus
Luke Kirk of Columbus
Mack Kirk of Columbus
Matthew Maness of Paola
Elizabeth Maness of Olathe
Julie Stevens of Overland Park
Matthew Stevens of Overland Park
James Kelly of Lenexa
Lou Kelly of Lenexa
Robert Long of Stilwell
Jan Long of Stilwell
Jay Long of Stilwell
Jack Becker of Stilwell 

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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