Kansas Common Sense

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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.
 

Working to Provide Critical Assistance to Our Southern Border
The President and I agree that the humanitarian crisis on our southern border is dire and demands action. This week, I voted to advance the Appropriation Committee’s $4.6 billion border supplemental package to provide much-needed resources to our southern border. The package protects our border and ports of entry by supporting our Customs and Border Protection personnel. This funding also improves existing border facilities and creates more space to process the influx of migrants in an orderly and humane manner. The full Senate and House must vote on this package before sending to the President’s desk for his signature.   

Celebrating the Life and Work of Congresswoman Jan Meyers
This week, we learned of the passing of former Congresswoman Jan Meyers. Congresswoman Jan Meyers was a true public servant and a role model for so many, as the first Republican woman elected to Congress in Kansas and one of the first women to chair a House Committee.

I first met Jan in 1978 when she was meeting Kansans door to door in Hays. To me, Jan was more than a public servant — she was also a friend. Jan never forgot who she worked for and always had time for the folks back home. The manner in which she met difficult circumstances with a smile gave me comfort, and I valued her kindness and gentle spirit. Our nation needs more public servants like Jan — people who put service above self.

Robba and I are saddened by her passing and are praying for the Meyers family. Click here to read more on the life and work of Jan in an article from the Kansas City Star.

Recognizing the 75th Anniversary of the G.I. Bill and Working to Honor Its Author, Kansan Harry Colmery
On Saturday, the nation recognized 75 years of the G.I. Bill and the countless veterans who have benefitted from the educational opportunities this law provides them. This week, I joined Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) in introducing S. Con. Res. 20, legislation to award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to WWI veteran, Kansas native and G.I. Bill author Harry Colmery. Additionally, Sen. Roberts and I led members of the Kansas congressional delegation in sending a letter to President Trump urging him to award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Mr. Colmery and honor his work for veterans.

As the father of the original G.I. Bill, Harry Colmery has helped facilitate the education and training of more than 20 million veterans. Mr. Colmery’s transformational work has ensured the success of our nation’s heroes, and their families, as they transition back into civilian life. I’m proud of our collective efforts over the years to honor Mr. Colmery, and I encourage my colleagues and the president to support these actions to codify Mr. Colmery’s place in history. To read more on the life and work of Harry Colmery, click here.

 

Supporting Our Veterans Battling Mental Illness
Brian Kavanagh was a Pittsburg, Kansas native who bravely served our nation as a U.S. Army Major. As a result of this service and his time in combat, Brian struggled with PTS and TBI and was unable to receive the care that he and his family needed from the VA in a timely manner. Despite efforts to recover from his invisible wounds of war, in 2016, Brian lost this battle, leaving behind his wife and two young daughters.

On Wednesday, I was honored to have Brian’s wife, VetLinks.org Founder and President Jess Kavanagh, testify before the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs regarding their journey that inspired VetLinks.org – nonprofit based in Pittsburg, Kansas that works to connect veterans and their families to the care they need by leveraging community resources. To watch Jess’ powerful testimony and read more on her work, click here.

 

Working to Increase America's Energy Independence
On Monday, I reintroduced bipartisan legislation, the Financing Our Energy Future Act, with SenatorChris Coons (D-Del.). This bill would 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 United States has the largest and most efficient capital markets in the world, yet our renewable energy companies rarely have access to those markets. In order to grow our economy and increase our energy security, sound economic tools, like MLPs, should be expanded to include additional domestic energy sources. The Financing Our Energy Future 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.

Voting To Retain Congressional Oversight
This week, the Senate voted to disapprove arms sales to Saudi Arabia and other countries, which were moving forward despite objections from Congressional leaders. Congress has an important role in the oversight and approval of arms sales to foreign countries, providing the only check on the Executive branch’s authority. This sale of arms circumvented Congressional review and oversight without sufficient justification. I joined Senators Mike Lee (R-Utah), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and others in this vote in order to retain Congressional power and to make certain countries who receive American weapons are partners who will respect our nation’s interests.

Applauding President Trump’s Approval of Kansas Disaster Declaration
This week, the president approved the Major Disaster Declaration for 53 counties in Kansas. I am pleased the president swiftly approved this disaster declaration that will assist counties and local governments in their efforts to rebuild and recover from persistent severe weather that has hurt many Kansans, especially our farmers and ranchers. I will continue to work with local, state and federal officials so that the remaining 10 counties that requested a disaster declaration get approved and have the resources necessary to recover from this widespread damage. To read more on this announcement, click here.

Supporting Kansas’ Export Markets Through the USMCA Agreement
This week, Mexico formally approved the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), an encouraging step toward promoting our state’s critical export markets. In Kansas, we are dependent on selling the goods we grow and manufacture around the world in order to make a living. The USMCA agreement is an important measure to encourage partnership with Canada and Mexico, two top export markets for Kansas. Mexico is the first country to pass this agreement, meaning it is critical that the United States follow suit. The House of Representatives must vote on the USMCA agreement first, before it can proceed to the Senate. I will continue to work closely with President Trump and administration officials on encouraging the enactment of this important legislation, and urging my House colleagues to pass the agreement.

Protecting Consumers from Unreasonable Injury Risks
On Thursday, I chaired a hearing of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Manufacturing, Trade, and Consumer Protection, focused on oversight of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The CPSC is tasked with protecting consumers from unreasonable risks of injuries associated with more than 15,000 consumer products, including household products, toys, sporting goods, and much more.

I questioned the Commissioners on the CPSC’s response to recent unauthorized disclosure of information from its National Injury Information Clearinghouse, as well as other topics, including fireworks. As Chairman of the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, I will continue to maintain appropriate oversight of the CPSC and all other agencies under my jurisdiction. To view my opening statement to this hearing, click here.

Kansans in the Office

American Cancer Society
Jannelle Williamson of Lawrence

American Nurses Association
Angella Herrman of Olathe
Janet Kemmerer of Jewell
Carla Lee of Wichita
Debbie Luper of Andover
Kelly Sommers of Wichita

American Society of Plastic Surgeons
Dr. Sterling Braun of Kansas City
Dr. Zachary Clary of Merriam
Dr. Richard Korentager of Mission Hills

Capitol Tour
Jay Alloway of Edna
Shawn Alloway of Edna
Tracy Alloway of Edna
Margarita Alvarez of Americus
Delores Bryant of Wichita 
Larry Bryant of Wichita
Linda Crosthwait of Olathe
Mike Crosthwait of Olathe
Vicki Denton of Wichita
Lesley Draper of Emporia
Dianne Fink of Herkimer
Helena Fink of Olathe
Kristen Fink of Olathe
Lydia Fink of Olathe
Michael Fink of Olathe
Beau Finley of Shawnee
Lance Finley of Shawnee
Lucy Finley of Shawnee
Megan Finley of Shawnee
Kiana Florez of Emporia
Coni Fries of Overland Park
Katie Fries of Overland Park
Brooklyn Golden of Hutchinson
Curtis Golden of Hutchinson
Karen Golden of Hutchinson
Spencer Golden of Hutchinson
Carol Harris Gordon of Pratt
Virgil Gordon of Pratt 
Adam Hawn of Leawood
Alex Hawn of Leawood
Audrey Hawn of Leawood
Stephanie Hawn of Leawood
Steve Hawn of Leawood
Jennie Hearne of Wichita  
April Hill of Merriam
Carl Hill of Merriam
Brenden Hill of Merriam
Barbara Hurt of Pittsburg
Kalia Keo of Emporia 
Bryson Koch of Cottonwood Falls
Laura Koch of Cottonwood Falls
Luke Koch of Cottonwood Falls
Susan Koch of Cottonwood Falls
Tanner Koch of Cottonwood Falls
Karen Kohlmeyer of Sabetha
Marvin Kohlmeyer of Sabetha
Kathryn Lackey of Emporia
Scott McAdams of Kansas City
Camden McDonald of Pittsburg
Cynthia Miller of Wichita  
Gary Miller of Wichita
Clarice Ohlde of Palmer
Royce Ohlde of Palmer 
Heather Spaur of Pittsburg
Madison Spaur of Pittsburg
Erin Stucky of Kansas City
Ally Tafolla of Emporia
Geralynn Tafolla of Emporia 
Pam Tuller of Garden City
Calli Villanueva of Garden City
Andrea West of Wichita  
Maria Zuniga of Emporia

Coalition for Juvenile Justice
Beth Esrey of Mission Hills
Brock Landwher of Lawrence
Max Mendoza of Kansas City

Immune Deficiency Foundation
Cristina Pels of Olathe
Christine Symes of Leawood

Kansas Music Educators Association
Gretchen Bixler of Wichita
Mark Gard of Coffeyville
Margaret Hempleman of Shawnee 
Kelly Knedler of Dodge City
Gae Phillips of Columbus
John Taylor of Wichita

Kansas 4-H
Gage Amerin of Clifton
Taelur Barnes of Auburn
MacKenzie Bartlett of Concordia
Isaac Fox of LeRoy
Frances Gaskill of Hugoton
Ashley Gehlen of Prairie Village
Valeria Gonzales of Lakin
Ansley Grothusen of Scott City
Aundrea Haberer of Luray
Aiden Hamilton of Olathe
Haley Hollon of Clyde
Ethan Horton of Kendall
Jonathan Huehl of Sylvan Grove
Jaden Jones of Healy
Anna Koch of Rose Hill
Eric Lehman of LeRoy
Roman Merck of Rose Hill
Keath Meyer of Clay Center
Sophia New of Overland Park 
Josh Ochs of Jetmore
Garrett Randel of Seneca
Katlin Rhondenbaugh of Oswego
Camila Rodriguez of Scott City
Kodi Rogers of Scott City
Claire Rumford of Scott City
Avery Schill of Clearwater 
Faith Schintler of Belleville
Sawyer Stevens of Scott City
Alyssa Storm of Scott City
Gillian Swindler of Pratt
Landon Trout of Scott City
Stephen Van Slyke  of Iuka
Cora-Renae Welch of Lakin
Madelyn Woodard of Spring Hill 

MidAmerica Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages 
Elizabeth Ault of Topeka

National Council on Aging
BreAnna Monk of Derby

National Organization of Social Security Claimants
James Pavisian of Lawrence

University of Kansas Medical Center
Dr. Erin Young of Overland Park

US Global Leadership Coalition
Hophine Bwosinde of Lenexa
Brenda Dietrich of Topeka 
Angela Smith of Salina
Michael Symanski of Overland Park
Joan Wagnon of Topeka

Veterinarian Fellow  
Fred Lehman 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,

Jerry

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