Kansas Common Sense


Welcome to “Kansas Common Sense.” Thanks for your continued interest in receiving my weekly newsletter.

Opening the Doors of Irwin Army Community Hospital
Since breaking ground in 2009, the Fort Riley community has eagerly awaited the opening of a new, state-of-the-art Irwin Army Community Hospital (IACH). The celebratory opening this week represents a significant U.S. Army investment in Fort Riley and the thousands who call the Big Red One home. Thanks to all who have worked to see the new IACH become reality. I look forward to seeing the hospital fulfill our sacred duty to care for those who serve our nation. Click here to read more about what this hospital means for Fort Riley soldiers and their families.

Hosting NIH Representatives in Kansas
I hosted Dr. Jon Lorsch, director of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Kansas on Thursday to learn more about promising medical research taking place in our state. We visited both the University of Kansas School of Pharmacy and the University of Kansas Medical Center where we met with talented professional and student investigators about their important work. We also met with educators and more than 50 students from Lawrence High School to discuss their interest in careers in science and research. Later, we met with IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) Directors representing Kansas State University, Emporia State University and Pittsburg State University. The INBRE program has been an important source of support for students in Kansas to get hands-on experience conducting biomedical research in professional settings.

Medical research saves and improves lives, reduces health care costs and is a significant driver of economic growth. One of my top priorities is to advance policies that increase the chances that students who are interested in careers science, technology, engineering and research have the opportunity to pursue those careers in Kansas. I'm proud to see that our nation's investment in biomedical research is having that effect here at home. My conversations with researchers and students today reaffirm the importance of these efforts. Bringing our state's bright researchers and the NIH together amplifies the great work done for the benefit of our state and nation.

Protecting Rural Communities from Unfair Post Office Closures
I sponsored legislation this week to protect post offices in Kansas from permanently closing without community notice or an opportunity to appeal. Since 2011, 650 postal facilities across the country, including 10 in Kansas, have been “temporarily” closed under emergency suspension without notice from the Postal Service about when – or if – those post offices might reopen. 511 of those 650 remain closed today. This legislation would prevent the Postal Service from using its emergency suspension process – meant to be temporary – to indefinitely close post offices without notice to the community, an opportunity to appeal, or a timeframe for either reopening or permanently closing the facility. The Postal Service plays an important role in the American economy, and opening or closing a post office can make a big difference to small towns and communities. Click here to learn more.

Commemorating President Eisenhower’s Birthday in Abilene
As both a general leading the Allies to victory against the gravest threat to freedom of the last century and as the commander-in-chief setting the foundation to keep the Cold War from turning hot, Dwight Eisenhower knew all too well the struggles of war and the necessity of peace through strength. Our country’s enemies and the threats they present have changed, but the principles that President Eisenhower believed in remain steadfast to this day – principles of freedom, justice, and prosperity that are the basis of the American Dream. On Saturday, I had the great honor to speak at the annual Eisenhower Pilgrimage that is held every October at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene. The event commemorates Eisenhower’s legacy as the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe and our 34th President of the United States. The Pilgrimage is a combined effort by Kansas American Legion, Sons of the American Legion, and the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Kansas. My gratitude goes to Paul Sanford for the invitation.

Touring General Election Aviation Plant in Winfield
I visited the General Electric Aviation Plant in Winfield on Monday. The Winfield plant is vital to our national defense as they work on the F110 jet engine that is used in Air Force fighter jets. GE employees are among the 32,000 Kansans who contribute more than $7 billion annually to our state’s economy. I appreciate Winfield Chamber of Commerce CEO Sarah Werner and Winfield Mayor Brenda Butters for joining the tour. Also, thank you to Michelle Sisson for coordinating my visit.

Speaking with the Arkansas City Rotary Club
I stopped by Cowley Community College in Ark City on Monday afternoon to attend Rotary Club. I shared with the club the work I have been doing in the Senate to improve the quality and timeliness of healthcare services provided to our nation's veterans, strengthen national security and balance the budget. We spoke about the club’s efforts in their community. Thanks to Club President Sarah Griggs for hosting me and to Rotary District Governor Dean Kennedy and CCCC President Dr. Dennis Rittle for attending.

Learning More About Rural Healthcare at Sumner County Hospital
I also visited Sumner County Hospital in Caldwell. While touring the facilities, we discussed federal policies that effect hospitals in Kansas which work to provide quality health services to Kansans. We discussed the importance of their designation as a Community Access Hospital has on their ability to receive the Medicare reimbursements needed to provide care for the rural community around them. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Health Subcommittee, visiting providers across our state provides me with information useful in my battle to keep healthcare available in communities across Kansas. Thanks to Hospital CEO Tom Henton for hosting me.

Making Stops in Southeast Kansas
Meeting Students at Coffeyville Community College’s Tech Campus
Career and technical education is essential to help Kansas students reach their full potential in their careers and lives, and each of CCC’s 15 technical programs helps students develop skillsets that allow them to obtain good, high-paying jobs. I stopped by on Tuesday to hear from CCC students, teachers and administrators about the importance of vocational training and the crucial role industry members play in making sure their students can meet licensing and certification requirements. Thanks to VP of Business and Innovation Dr. Marlon Thornberg, Senior Director of College Relations Yvonne Hull, VP of Academic Services Aron Potter, VP of Finance Jeff Morris, USD 445 Superintendent Dr. Craig Correll and others for hosting my tour and your efforts to build a stronger future in our state.

Visiting Cobalt Boats in Neodesha
For more than four decades Cobalt Boats has designed and manufactured premium inboard-engine speed boats in Neodesha, providing the sorts of good jobs for which CCC helps prepare Kansans. Thank you to founder Pack St. Clair and his team for the tour and the local officials who joined me for a tour on Tuesday.

Lunch with Independence Optimist Club Members
I stopped for lunch with members of the Independence Optimist Club at Uncle Jack's Bar & Grill before my visit to Cobalt Bolts. I recently sponsored legislation to benefit service organizations like Optimist International to help them continue their mission to improve communities. We discussed the importance of civil service and how to promote the growth of small businesses in Independence and across our nation. Thank you to Kathy Shepard for arranging my visit and the members for welcoming me to their meeting.

Meeting Students at Halstead and Hillsboro High Schools
My visits on Wednesday included two Central Kansas high schools – Halstead High School and Hillsboro High School. At Halstead, I gave remarks and answered questions as part of their Dragon Impact Lecture Series. Questions ranged from my role in Congress to what advice I would give my high school self. Thanks to Principal Joe Gerber the invitation to participate and to the students I met for an engaging discussion.

At Hillsboro, I toured business, science and technology classrooms and saw one of their robotics projects in action. Thanks to Nathan Hiebert, Scott O'Hare and Creigh Bell for letting me see their classrooms and to Superintendent Max Heinrichs for hosting me. Glad to see teachers and administrators working hard at high schools across the state to ensure our students have bright futures.

Celebrating Genzada Pharmaceuticals Groundbreaking
Friday morning I was in Sterling to help celebrate the groundbreaking for Genzada Pharmaceuticals, a developer of therapeutic medical treatments designed to eliminate diseases and reduce human suffering. Welcoming Genzada to Sterling is great news for Central Kansas. The company’s decision to expand their presence is expected to create 25 new jobs for Kansans who will have the joy of knowing they are working to improve the health of those around them and save lives. Special thanks to Gene Zaid, Genzada Chief Executive Officer, for his innovative leadership and for making another important investment in the future of Sterling. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Health Subcommittee as well as the Senate Cancer and National Institute for Health Caucuses, I look forward to working with Gene and his talented team on advancing medical research to develop treatments and cures for our most devastating diseases.

Honoring Kansas Ag Network’s Kelly Lenz
I congratulated Kelly Lenz over the weekend as he was inducted into the Kansas Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame. Kansas farmers and ranchers have been waking to Kelly’s voice each morning for decades, and his leadership and work reporting on agriculture throughout our state has earned him a number of accolades including National Association of Farm Broadcasting Regional Farm Broadcaster of the Year, the Kansas Farm Bureau Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award, and FFA’s Honorary State and National Farmer degrees. Congrats to Kelly and his team at the Kansas Ag Network! Click here to learn more.

Accepting Applications for Spring Internships
My own interest in public service was sparked by an internship for Kansas First District Congressman Keith Sebelius in 1974. As an intern, I had the chance to learn firsthand how a Congressional office operates and how the legislative process works. I am proud to be able to offer this same opportunity in my Senate office today where I have interns year-round who have a unique opportunity to work closely with my staff on behalf of Kansans. Applications are already being accepted for internships in my Washington, D.C., Manhattan, and Olathe, Kansas, offices for the spring 2017 term. The deadline for the spring is Friday, October 28. Congressional internships are open to qualified undergraduate and graduate students who have an interest in public service and have achieved academic excellence. Click here for more information.

Kansans in the Office
Kickapoo Nation in Kansas
Amelia Holmes of Tonganoxie
Fred Thomas of Horton
Jason F. Thomas of Horton
Russell Bradley of Horton
Lester Randall of Horton

Capitol Tour
Don Grisham of Mission
Marilyn Grisham of Mission
Bonnie Lyons of Overland Park
Grace Clifton of Overland Park
Carl Owczarzak of Lenexa
Chrysann Phipps of Manhattan
Jane Estabrook of Manhattan
Laci Heller of Manhattan
Ceceilia Mariani-McCurry of Topeka
Matthew McCurry of Topeka
Zakari Kroum of Olathe
Katherine Kroum of Olathe
Riley Kroum of Olathe
Emily Sweet of Lawrence
Bruce Sweet of Lawrence
Everly Sweet of Lawrence
Joshua Davis of Lawrence
Amanda Davis of Lawrence
Spencer Bauer of Wichita
Sara Schifferdecker of Girard
Bonnie Winter of Silver Lake
Larry Winter of Silver Lake
Susan Williams of Lawrence
John Williams of Lawrence
Ann Dorsey of Lenexa
James Ransburg of Lenexa
Kelley Robinson of Lenexa
Jeff Weiner of Leawood
Donna Weiner of Leawood

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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