Kansas Common Sense

Working to Award the Congressional Gold Medal to the Women of the 6888th Central Postal Battalion

At the intersection of Black History Month in February and Women’s History Month in March, this week I introduced legislation advocating for Congressional Gold Medals for the women of the 6888 – the only all-black, all-female battalion to serve overseas during World War II.

These women and their service to our country deserve to hold a special spot in history. Just last year, we were successful in passing a resolution in the Senate to recognize the contributions of these women, and now we continue our bipartisan work to honor their service and sacrifice.

 Celebrating the Life of Congressman Dick Nichols

Robba and I are saddened by the death of former Congressman Dick Nichols. In every role he took on – son, husband, father, grandfather, soldier, businessman, Congressman, community leader and friend – Dick put service to others above self. It’s been a privilege to call him a friend throughout his amazing life. Dick has always been a mentor to me and I will miss his steady counsel. Congressman Nichols of McPherson represented Kansas of the fifth congressional district from 1991 through 1993.

 In 2013, I paid tribute to Dick's career on the Senate floor and shortly thereafter, I presented this speech to him during his birthday celebration and McPherson Rotary Club meeting. I encourage you to keep Dick and his family in your thoughts and prayers.


 Senate Passes My Legislation to Promote Senator Bob Dole

On Tuesday, the Senate passed legislation that I introduced with Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) to authorize the honorary promotion of Bob Dole to the grade of colonel in the United States Army. I can think of no one more worthy of an honorary promotion than Senator Dole, who has for decades served our country with the utmost distinction. From his time in the military and in Congress, to his continued leadership on veterans, hunger and disability issues, he is a true model of public service for Kansans and all Americans. It is only fitting that Senator Dole be promoted for his exemplary service and sacrifice as an Army officer and I am pleased that the United States Senate unanimously agrees.


 Introducing Legislation to Allow Americans with Disabilities to Save for Their Future

On Tuesday, I joined Senator Bob Casey (D-Pa.) in introducing the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Age Adjustment Act. The savings plans created through the 2014 law I supported, the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act, have provided Americans with disabilities better options to plan for their future without burdensome barriers that often exist within federal entitlement programs. However, there is still more to be done.

 While this program has already seen great success, ABLE savings accounts are currently available only to those who acquire their disability prior to their 26th birthday, leaving out millions – including veterans – who would otherwise qualify. I am pleased to continue our bipartisan work with the ABLE Age Adjustment Act, which will expand the age of eligibility and help sustain this program on a long-term basis.

 Reiterating my Support for the United States Postal Service

On Thursday, I introduced legislation with Senator Gary Peters (D-Mich.) to reiterate our support for the United States Postal Service (USPS). USPS has a significant history in Kansas dating back to the Pony Express, and it continues to play a vital role in the American economy – especially in Kansas’ rural communities. In order to provide certainty for rural America and to protect taxpayers, Congress must continue to assert itself and push back on any proposals to privatize the USPS, which threaten its future and the well-being of the communities the Postal Service serves. I will continue working with my colleagues to fight for our rural communities and the future of the USPS.

 Visiting with Dr. Sheree Utash Before Her White House Workforce Advisory Board Meetings

On Wednesday, I met with Wichita State University Tech President Dr. Sheree Utash while she was in Washington, D.C. for the inaugural meeting of the White House American Workforce Policy Advisory Board. As a member of this board, assembled by the president and led by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and White House Senior Advisor Ivanka Trump, Dr. Utash will help to develop innovative ways to train Americans for a 21st Century workforce and to connect them with good-paying jobs.

 Dr. Utash has extensive experience in this work as it relates to education. When Dr. Utash first took the helm of WSU Tech, 3,389 students were enrolled. Now, in 2019, WSU Tech serves over 6,500 students. Enrollment has doubled, and it’s because of Dr. Utash’s forward-thinking, innovative leadership. I know these skills will serve Americans well during her time with this influential group of Fortune 50 CEOs, governors and education leaders, and I look forward to working with her to continue advancing the Kansas workforce.


 Hosting Defense and Military Leadership

On Wednesday, I welcomed senior leaders from the Department of Defense, stakeholders from the across the military, private industry and government leaders to discuss our legislative priorities and to share with one another how we can better work together to support our men and women in uniform.

 Thank you to Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer, Secretary of the Army Mark Esper and Undersecretary of the Air Force Matt Donovan for their participation. As co-chair of the Senate Aerospace Caucus and a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, I look forward to continuing to work with these leaders, especially in the coming weeks as they come before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee for Defense to discuss their resources needs.


 Meeting with the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs

On Wednesday, I met with Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert Wilkie to discuss the implementation of the VA MISSION Act, critical legislation that was signed into law last June to reform and modernize VA healthcare and remove barriers to accessing care for veterans. The VA is working to develop the regulations and processes for carrying out this law’s new community care program, and I will continue close oversight as the VA implements this landmark legislation to make certain that veterans have timely access to the high quality care they deserve. I appreciate Sec. Wilkie’s update on the VA’s implementation progress of this legislation.


 Meeting with Kansas Attendees of the United States Senate Youth Program

Congratulations are in order for two young Kansans: Eli Blaufuss of Newton High School and Benjamin Sawaya of Blue Valley Southwest High School, who were in our nation’s capital this week participating in the United States Youth Senate Program. The program, established in 1962, affords outstanding high school students interested in public service the opportunity to experience the federal government in action. I was impressed by both Eli’s and Benjamin’s accomplishments and their aspirations for the future. I encouraged them to keep, or return, their energy and talents to Kansas and I hope these students, and all students, consider building their careers in our state.


 Attending Michelle Bowman’s Federal Reserve Board of Governors Swearing In Ceremony

On Thursday, I joined Council Grove native Michelle ‘Miki’ Bowman as she was sworn in to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. A fifth generation community banker and proud graduate of the University of Kansas and Washburn University, Miki has an accomplished career in public service and the private sector. Her qualifications and experience make her an excellent choice for the Board of Governors where she will be a strong voice for rural America and the agricultural community. Congratulations, Miki!


 Meeting with the Kansas City Area Chamber of Commerce

On Wednesday, I hosted the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce in my Washington, D.C. office to discuss the issues facing businesses in the Kansas City area. I heard from Chamber members on the need to invest in our infrastructure and transportation, promote workforce development and stabilize our international trade agreements. Kansas City’s economic health and ability to create good-paying jobs, whether on the Kansas or Missouri side, strengthens the entire state of Kansas. We also discussed the vital investments we’ve made in infrastructure projects like the Turner Diagonal and transportation initiatives like the Prospect MAX.

 Additionally, I shared updates on my bipartisan jobs and innovation bill, the Startup Act. This legislation, designed to reduce barriers when starting new businesses and to promote workforce development, would enable entrepreneurs and business owners in the Kansas City-area and across our state to continue their growth. Thank you for the productive conversation and service to our region.


 Touring CIA Headquarters and Meeting with Director Haspel

On Monday, I met with CIA Director Gina Haspel and other CIA leaders at the Central Intelligence Agency. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee for Defense, which funds all 17 agencies comprising our nation’s Intelligence Community, I heard the priorities and challenges faced by our intelligence officers in collecting information overseas. I also received a briefing on the ongoing threats posed by North Korea and a firsthand look at the Science and Technology directorate. I left CIA encouraged by the direction Director Haspel and her team are taking the agency, and grateful for the patriots who serve our country as intelligence officers and work tirelessly to keep our nation safe and secure. 

 Celebrating 150 Years of Lindsborg

Last month, I introduced a resolution with Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) honoring the 150th anniversary of Lindsborg, Kansas and on Wednesday, the Senate unanimously passed this special recognition. As I’ve said before, Lindsborg is a town full of rich history, whose residents today still embody the perseverance of its settlers who first made Lindsborg home 150 years ago. I am always struck by the kindness of Lindsborg residents, and every time I visit, I leave thinking, ‘I could live here.’ I am pleased that the United States Senate passed our resolution honoring this impressive milestone in the town’s history and look forward to visiting Lindsborg again soon.


Earning the “True Blue” Award for Support of the American Family

I was recently honored with the Family Research Council’s “True Blue” award for supporting pro-life and religious freedom issues. The right to life and the freedom to live according to one’s own beliefs are fundamental rights that demand legal protection. In the face of government overreach in recent years, I have spoken on the Senate floor and cast my votes to safeguard the unborn and those who seek to live out their beliefs beyond houses of worship. I will remain committed to these principles and continue to advocate in their defense long into the future.

Meeting University of Kansas Students Interning in Washington, D.C.

On Thursday, I spent time with students from the University of Kansas who are spending the semester interning across Washington, D.C. During our meeting, I heard about their upbringing, education and their intern experiences thus far. We had a productive conversation on things happening in the Senate and around our nation and I was particularly struck by their commitment to civility and supporting one another, regardless of political ideology, religion, or race. I shared with them how my own internship in Congress inspired my career in public service, and they in turn shared their own plans for careers. Thank you to these students for their work this semester and for their productive conversation on Thursday.

Kansans in the Office

Peter Karman of Lawrence
Andy Schlapp of Wichita
Leanne Dickson of Lawrence
Loretta Thomas of Wichita
Alliance for International Exchange
Nichole Randall of Topeka
American Advertising Federation
Maria Rodriguez
American Institute of Architects
Lauren Fitzpatrick of Topeka
Terry Humphrey of Topeka
Allison Lee of Wichita
Malcom Watkins of Wichita
American Medical Association
Taylor Apley of Gypsum
Katie Phalen of Pittsburg
American Society of Agriculture, Crop Science of America, Soil Science Society of America
Trent Frye of Manhattan
American Society of Health and Physical Educators
Marlys Gwaltney of Wichita
Tirzah Scholten of Olathe
Wendy Scholten of Olathe
American Society of Hematology
Heather Male of Fairway
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Cole Campbell of Kansas City
Russell Johnston of Lawrence
American Urological Association
Launsa Ballen of Overland Park
David Duchene of Fairway
James Herbert Gilbaugh III of Wichita
James Kovarik III of Kansas City
Ajay Kumar Nangia of Kansas City
Priya Padmanabhan of Mission Hills
American Veterinary Medical Colleges
Elizabeth Davis of Manhattan
Bonnie Rush of Manhattan
American Wind Energy Association
Brandy Cyre of Ark City
Dan Cyre of Jamestown
Chris Montague of Delphos
Shane Wesley of Concordia
Craig Wolf of Concordia
Tracer Workman of Concordia
ASGR and K-State
Stephen Chapes of Manhattan
Thomas Foster of Olathe
Association of Equipment Manufacturers
Bob Crain of Wichita
John Lagemann of Kansas City
Boys and Girls Club of America
Juston White of Wichita
Capitol Tour
Calvin Cardador of Fairway
Christie Cardador of Fairway
Joe Cardador of FairwayKate Cardador of Fairway
Mikaela Cardador of Fairway
Truman Cardador of Fairway
Landry Duchene of Fairway
Wendy Duchene of Fairway
Craig Forge of Basehor
Charles A. Gonzales of Gardner
Kennedy J. Gonzales of Gardner
Gregg Hoover of Shawnee
Keith Hoover of Shawnee
Avery Legleiter of Manhattan
Gregory Legleiter of Manhattan
Madison Legleiter of Manhattan
Melissa Legleiter of Manhattan
Quinn Legleiter of Manhattan
Stephanie McGovern of Shawnee
Jamie Reece of Prairie Village
David Sartorius of Olathe
Eric Sartorius of Lawrence
Jonathan Sartorius of Lawrence
Virginia Thoppil of Olathe
Elizabeth Trimmer of Olathe
Renae Unruh of Canton
Central Plains Area Agency
Anette Graham of Wichita
Julie Govert Walter of Manhattan
Council for Agricultural Research Extension and Teaching (CARET)
Julie Voelker of Sycamore
Donnie Young of Ulysses
Educational Theater Association
Emily Martin of Olathe
Audrey Burgoon of Salina
Equipment Dealers Association
Jim Meinhardt of Wamego
Hays Academy of Hair Design
Chris Augustine of Olathe
Peggy Kelly of Paola
Len Melvin of Hays
Emily Stone of Wichita
Humanities Kansas
Julie Mulvihill of Topeka
Will Ramsey of Leawood
Tracy Quillin of Topeka
Integrative Health Policy Consortium
Bob Twillman of Lenexa
Johnson County Officials
Jim Allen of Shawnee
Michael Ashcraft of Olathe
Ed Eliert of Overland Park
Cindy Green of Roeland Park
Janee Hanzlick of Overland Park
Penny Postoak Ferguson of Lenexa
Maury Thompson of Olathe
Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Nutrition, and WIC Services
David Thomason of Topeka
Kansas Head Start Association
Chris Augustine of Olathe
Kayla Budd of Oakley
Peggy Kelly of Paola
Emily Knorp-Brown-Stone of Wichita
Dianne Whitney of Hutchinson
National Association of Chain Drug Stores
Amanda Applegate of Lenexa
Michael Halliwell of Overland Park
Ashley Kells of Wichita
National Council for Juvenile and Family Court Judges
District Judge Thomas Foster of Johnson County
National Kidney Foundation
Allison Abedini of Wichita
Ionut Vlad of Wichita
National Multiple Sclerosis Society
Frank Austin of Plainville
Courtney Eiterich of Lenexa
James Hebert of Topeka
Lola Meitler of Plainville
Kansas State Alliance of YMCA’s
Jennifer Bruning of Kansas City
BJ Murray of Elmdale
University of Kansas Interns
Alexandria Arthur of Derby
Katie Bernard of Overland Park
Kemper Bogle of Wichita
Karen Campbell of Lawrence
Nick Gottschamer of Lawrence
Ariel Khosravipour of Elbing
Ben Leeper of Leawood
Monica Maurer of Lawrence
Ethan McChesney of Overland Park
Joe Nichol of Overland Park
Francisco Salgado of Wichita
Nikki Seichepine of Lawrence
Adrianna Somerville of Winfield
Olivia Taylor-Puckett of McLouth
Natalie Turner of Overland Park
Ben Williams of Olathe
Fengxue Zhang of Hays
National Sunflower Association
Karl Esping of Lindsborg
National Treasury Employees Union
Jennifer Chapin of Mission Hills
Pew Charitable Trusts
A.J. Tarpoff of Manhattan

Spirit Aerosystems
Nick D’Annunzio of Wichita
Rob Hickman of Wichita
John McMahon of Olathe
Rachel Woods of Wichita

Tourette Association of America
Aubrianna Ehr of Emporia
Tamra Ehr of Emporia 

Towing and Recovery Association
Laura Martin of Roeland Park
Stephanie Unruh of Galva

The Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance
Amy Dublinske of Olathe

Veterans of Foreign Wars
Ken Allred of Spring Hill
Pat Briggs of Lyons
Beth Cox of McPherson
Lee Hursey of Wichita
Kerri Lindsay of Olathe
John Muckelbauer of Paola
Ken Romine of Lansing
Cheyne Worley 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 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,

Newsletter Sign-up Form

Note: Fields marked with an * are required.