Kansas Common Sense
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Hosting Kansans at Agriculture Appropriations Hearing on Rural Development in the 21st Century
It was a pleasure to host Sunflower Electric Power Corporation CEO Stuart Lowry of Hays and Wilson Communications General Manager Brian Boisvert of Wilson in Washington to testify at a Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on rural development in the 21st century. As chairman of the subcommittee, it is important to hear directly from Kansans on the issues affecting our state.
USDA Rural Development is largely tasked with maintaining and improving the quality of life in rural areas, in turn making rural areas an attractive place for young people to return to live, work and raise a family. I invited Mr. Lowry and Mr. Boisvert to testify at the hearing because of their experience and knowledge in making certain USDA Rural Development programs are working for rural Kansas, including providing access to the latest in telecommunications, keeping water and electricity rates affordable, and providing opportunities to keep Main Street businesses alive in rural communities. The witness panel also highlighted the impact overregulation by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other federal government agencies is having on the ability of borrowers participating in USDA Rural Development programs to pay back their loans.
Thanks to Mr. Lowry and Mr. Boisvert for travelling to Washington to share with us their knowledge and expertise on rural development issues. In leading the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, I will continue highlighting issues important to Kansas and to the people living in rural communities. Click here to watch the webcast.
Visiting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with KU Hospital Chief Norman
I visited our nation’s health protection agency – the Centers For Disease Control (CDC) – this week to learn more about how they safeguard the United States from health, safety and security threats. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Health Subcommittee, which has funding jurisdiction over CDC, it is important to understand how the agency allocates its scientific expertise, tools and resources to promote health, prevent disease, and prepare for new health threats.
Joining me on the visit was The University of Kansas Hospital Chief Medical Officer Dr. Lee Norman. He also serves as a U.S. Army officer in the National Guard, and is an advisor to Homeland Security and regional disaster preparedness agencies. During the visit, we met with two of the CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Officers, including a graduate of Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. EIS Officers are on the scene when disease outbreaks or other threats emerge, as well as support more than 100 public health investigations each year in the United States and across the globe. Our discussion focused on CDC’s response to disease outbreaks, specifically Ebola. Many thanks to CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden for hosting us.
Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act
This week I sponsored the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act (S. 2123) – introduced by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and sponsored by U.S. Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah). A fair and effective criminal justice system is critical to protecting our communities and upholding core American values. I join the American Bar Association, FreedomWorks, NAACP and many religious organizations in supporting these criminal justice reforms. These improved criminal justice policies combine to reduce recidivism, reduce violent crime and reconsider the judicial treatment of non-violent offenders. Additionally, reports from the U.S. Sentencing Commission estimate that these reforms would alleviate prison overcrowding and substantially reduce federal incarceration costs. The Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act is derived in part from the Smarter Sentencing Act, which I cosponsored earlier this year. I look forward to working with my Senate colleagues to pass this important legislation. Click here to learn more.
VA Delay with Claims Processing System
We learned from the Kansas Commission on Veterans’ Affairs this week that the VA had chosen to interrupt access to their claims processing system for Veteran Service Organizations in Kansas such as the Kansas Commission, VFW and the American Legion who assist veterans in submitting claims and navigating VA bureaucracy. The VA should be going out of their way to provide supportive paths for these organizations instead of making things more difficult for veterans in an already troublesome system.
I brought this issue to the VA’s attention in an effort encourage conversation to solve the problem. As of our last update from the Kanas Commission on Veterans Affairs, access has been partially restored and they are working towards a complete solution with the VA. Making certain veterans have access to health care is one of my top priorities, and I will continue to monitor this situation closely. Click here to learn more.
President Obama’s Decision to Veto Defense Bill
This week, the president vetoed our nation’s defense authorization bill. Our greatest constitutional responsibility is protecting our nation, and we must make certain our men and women in uniform are trained, ready and able to defend our nation from the ever-changing threats we face – especially in the rapidly deteriorating Middle East. By rejecting the bipartisan work of Congress, the president is putting the safety of those who serve our country at risk. The bill passed with broad support from senators who recognized the importance of putting the defense of the country ahead of engaging in a show of partisan politics. Funding for the military in fiscal year 2016 will remain in question pending a congressional override of the president’s veto.
Leadership Kansas and Kansas Farm Bureau Leadership Group
In Washington this week were two organization that are helping to shape leaders in our state — Leadership Kansas and the Kansas Farm Bureau Leadership Group. Leadership Kansas is a statewide program designed to enhance and motivate future leaders from various Kansas communities. It was great to see fellow alumni and hear from this year's class. Thanks to John Federico for the invitation to attend. Click here to learn more.
The Kansas Farm Bureau (KFB) Leadership Group is a group of producers who were selected on a competitive basis to participate in a year-long leadership course organized by KFB. A few key issues we discussed include expanding opportunities for farmers and ranchers, economic development initiatives that help keep Main Street businesses alive, and access to hospitals and quality health care in rural areas.
Cloud County Kansas Listening Tour Stop
My Listening Tour stop continued this week in Cloud County where I held a town hall meeting at the Senior Citizens Center in Clyde. The 35 folks in attendance were interested in discussing a range of topics including Obamacare and the problems it causes for Kansans, the Older Americans Act, veterans’ affairs, and how we can promote economic growth in rural America. Thanks again to all who came out to share their thoughts and concerns with me.
K-State Ag Policy Class
I made a surprise visit to Dr. Barry Flinchbaugh’s agriculture policy class at Kansas State University on Friday. This is my fifth surprise visit since my time as a U.S. Senator. Dr. Flinchbaugh has served on numerous national boards and commissions and is a leading authority in agriculture policy. He has assisted in the development of every farm bill since 1968, working closely with policy makers on Capitol Hill. I appreciated the opportunity to speak with his students about my role as chairman of the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee.
Manhattan Lions Club Pancake Feed
It was great to see Manhattanites and fellow Lions Club members at the annual pancake feed over the weekend. Here, I'm pictured with Lions Past District Governor Jim Tubach. Jim is 89 years old and a WWII Veteran. Thanks to the local Lions Clubs members for hosting a great event.
Now Accepting Spring 2016 Internship Applications
I am now accepting applications for paid congressional internships in my Washington, D.C., and Kansas offices for spring 2016. An internship in my office – either legislative or communications – provides a unique opportunity to work closely with Senate staff on behalf of the state of Kansas. Legislative interns will gain a better understanding of the legislative process in the U.S. Congress, and develop knowledge and professional skills valuable to future career pursuits. Communications internships offer an intern the chance to learn about how political communications and the legislative process intersect, and gain practical knowledge about the inner workings of a fast-paced press office.
The application deadline for spring 2016 is October 30, 2015. Applications may be obtained and completed under the “Services” section of my website at www.moran.senate.gov. Applicants should submit a completed application form, resume, academic transcript, two letters of recommendation, and a cover letter explaining their interest in public service and addressing a policy issue of personal importance and a suggested recommendation to resolve that issue. Please submit required materials to: email@example.com.
Chad Kern of Overland Park
Karla Kern of Overland Park
Brayden Kern of Overland Park
Caleb Kern of Overland Park
Stephanie Satrape of Wichita
Jack Satrape of Wichita
Robert Knight of Shawnee
Angela Knight of Shawnee
Tess Knight of Shawnee
Audrey Knight of Shawnee
William Knight of Shawnee
Blake Knight of Shawnee
Alan Smarsh of Goddard
Virginia Smarsh of Goddard
David Buchholz of Wichita
Ruth Buchholz of Wichita
Daniel Consolver of Lawrence
Ronda Consolver of Lawrence
Jerry Shreve of Stilwell
Carol Shreve of Stilwell
John Shreve II of Shawnee
Thomas Sloan of Lawrence
Taylor Fagan of Topeka
Will Allen of Lawrence
Cassie Allen of Lawrence
American Psychological Association
Jennifer Bonds-Raacke of Hays
Brian Boisvert of Wilson
KC District US Army Corps of Engineers
Col. Andrew Sexton of Kansas City
Jennifer Switzer of Overland Park
Steve Iverson of Shawnee Mission
American College of Cardiology
Christina Salazar of Lawrence
American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries
Cory Barash of Overland Park
Debra Singer of Olathe
Paula Manweiler of Hoisington
Karla Bomgardner of Hutchinson
Sunflower Electric Power Corporation
Stuart Lowry of Hays
Bob Severance of Beloit
Alex Severance of Lenexa
Josh Ney of Topeka
Nathan Weinert of Winfield
Kansas Credit Union
Mike Augustine of Olathe
John Davis of Wichita
Jane Hammil of Wichita
Vickie Hurt of Topeka
Sarah Meehan of Wichita
Marla Marsh of Topeka
James Nastars of Wichita
Shirley Rogers of Wichita
Raymond Stroud of Dodge City
Jamie Taulbee of Wichita
Mike Welli of Wichita
Eric Haar of Topeka
Adventists Health Policy Association
Ken Bacon of Shawnee Mission
Kansas Farm Bureau Leadership Group
Jenny Burgess of Sterling
Carrie Edmonds of Wamego
Alexis Goyer of Winfield
Beth Holle of Oberlin
Kelsey Pagel of Wemore
Stephanie Symns of Atchison
Tiya Tonn-Oppold of El Dorado
Cammie Vaupel of St. John
Jill Casten of Manhattan
Terry Holdren of Manhattan
Ryan Flickner of Manhattan
American Bakers Association
Abby Ceule of Olathe
Martin Pedersen of Kechi
Christian Coalition of Young Conservatives for Energy Reform
Brandon Kenig of Shawnee
Gavin Kreidler of Topeka
Alex Orel of Topeka
Neil Melton of Prairie Village
Daniel Fry of Overland Park
Kelly Arnold of Wichita
American Association of Justice
Stephen Dickerson of Olathe
Todd Schultz of Olathe
Douglas Mann of Overland Park
John Parola of Overland Park
Procter & Gamble
John Shaver of Kansas City
Kristen Walters of Kansas City
National Pork Producers Council
Scott Bokelman of Washington
VA Office of Inspector General
Larry Reinkemper 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 form of letter, a Facebook comment or a phone call, who wish to make their voice heard.
Very truly yours,
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