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.

I hope you and your loved ones are enjoying the holiday season across our great state. I spent Christmas Day in Hays with family and have been glad to see so many Kansans getting into the holiday spirit – including the Chase County Courthouse, which I noticed had decked the halls to commemorate the occasion when I stopped in Cottonwood Falls last week. For those celebrating Hanukkah, may your joyous celebration continue. The new year brings us many new opportunities, and I’m looking forward to serving Kansans in 2017.

Wishing Veterans Merry Christmas at Colmery-O’Neil VA Medical Center
It was heartwarming to be with veterans in Topeka on Friday at the Colmery-O’Neil VA Medical Center. On behalf of a grateful nation, I thanked them for their service and expressed my gratitude to their families for their sacrifice. I wished all those who served and those who care for them a very Merry Christmas.

We learned this week that Colmery-O’Neil’s outpatient psychiatrist has taken another position and veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) will be treated by VA psychologists and nurses or through the Choice Program, which allows veterans to see non-VA doctors instead of waiting for a VA appointment. I was encouraged to learn the Military Veteran Project’s Melissa Jarboe has been working to find mental health care providers in the area to treat veterans and help affected veterans navigate the change. I’d encourage anyone with questions to contact my Olathe office at (913) 393-0711.

President Obama Playing Politics with our National Security
As our nation faces threats of terrorism around the globe from those who wish to do us harm, President Obama is transferring more than a dozen terrorist detainees out of Guantanamo Bay (GITMO) prior to Inauguration Day. This is an obvious attempt to put fulfilling a campaign promise ahead of safety for the American people. It is also a slap in the face to the incoming administration, which will take on the critical task of combating ‎threats at home and abroad.

This administration has released a large number of terrorist detainees into the same region — many of whom, statistics have shown, will return to terrorism. The last thing we need to do is release more terrorist detainees into a destabilized and uncertain world. Last week, this administration failed to defend our greatest ally in the Middle East. These actions at the end of the president's term are deeply misguided and must be reversed.

Nortonville Community Visit
En route to the Kansas City area on Monday, I stopped by the post office and Kendall State Bank in Nortonville. Pictured with me here are Jami Miller, Sara Lassiter and Kennedy Weishaar (or maybe it’s Kris Kringle!).

Visiting the Boys and Girls Club of Atchison
Through experiences in organizations like Boys and Girls Clubs of America, our state and country’s next generation of leaders are being equipped with the skills and values necessary to reach their full potential and find success. Our local clubs in Kansas help make this possible and I saw that again Monday during my visit to the Boys and Girls Club of Atchison. They serve school-aged children in the Atchison area and offer programs and activities that promote academic success, good character and healthy lifestyles. Thanks to Director Joel Hardy for hosting my visit.

Sharp Manufacturing
I visited Sharp Manufacturing in Blue Rapids on Thursday, which has been in business for 13 years. Owned by Rob and Karen Swearingen, they produce more than 20 sizes and models of trailers for Kansas businesses and families. It was also great to meet their son, Dan Swearingen, and daughter, Heather Anderson, who help run the family business — what every family and small community wants. We had a discussion of what needs to be done to help businesses like Sharp succeed and thus increase their ability to hire more Kansans.

Remembering Two Great Wichitans
I join the Wichita community in mourning the loss of two individuals who spent much of their lives focused on growing local businesses and improving our state’s quality of life.

Bill Simon, co-founder of Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers, and Linda Brantner, who for many years headed up Delta Dental, passed away recently. Bill’s work throughout his life strengthened the Wichita community. He’s best known for co-founding Freddy’s,and helping expand it across the country from its first store in Wichita 14 years ago to 228 locations across the country today. He also dedicated his time to numerous local charities and to the Wichita State University Center for Entrepreneurship.

As a longtime Wichita resident and Wichita State University grad, Linda was dedicated to the success of all the people and businesses in the city. Delta Dental, where she served as CEO for a number of years, has provided health insurance for millions of Kansans and brought jobs to the area. Please join me in keeping Bill and Linda’s families and friends in your thoughts.

Kansans in the Office
Tammy Baker of Chanute
Harold Storck of Chanute
Janet Storck of Chanute
Gerald Johnson of Hesston
Leigh Johnson of Hesston
Lynnea Johnson of Hesston

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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