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.

An Update on the Ongoing Situation Between Turkey and Syrian Kurds
Turkey’s invasion into Syria jeopardizes the lives of countless innocent civilians and puts at risk the gains made by the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS. That coalition includes the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), comprised primarily of Kurds, who have bravely battled ISIS at a cost of thousands of lives. While ISIS is significantly weakened, thousands of fighters remain in Syria and in prisons guarded by the SDF.

U.S. forces remain in eastern Syria providing support to our Kurdish partners. America has made good-faith efforts to address Turkey’s security concerns, but by rejecting those efforts, Turkey will undermine any progress made in the region since ISIS arose in 2014, including safety for Christians and other minorities. Turkey must suspend its military operations immediately and resume working with the United States to find solutions that promote stability in the region.

Hosting Federal Reserve Chairman in KC
Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System Jay Powell was in Kansas City as part of his “Fed Listens” tour this week. Following the Fed Listens event, I invited Chairman Powell and Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City President Esther George for a roundtable discussion with banking, civic and business leaders from the Kansas City region to discuss the importance of an independent Federal Reserve, the state of the economy in our country, and economic outlooks in the agriculture, manufacturing and construction.

Thank you to Chairman Powell for his time spent with us in Kansas City and to all those in attendance for their productive conversation.

Applauding President Trump for the US-Japan Trade Agreement
On Monday, President Trump signed a trade agreement with Japan that has been negotiated and agreed to over the course of the past few months. This trade agreement between the United States and Japan is a win for Kansas farmers and ranchers. Japan is the second largest export market for agricultural products from Kansas and this agreement will result in even greater market access for beef, wheat, sorghum and pork, and put American producers on a level playing field with our foreign competitors. It will also benefit Kansas dairy producers by expanding cheese exports, and will eliminate tariffs on certain types of ethanol. I commend President Trump, Ambassador Lighthizer, and Ambassador Doud for their leadership in securing this much-needed victory for our producers.

As farmers and ranchers continue to struggle with low commodity prices, we must continue to find new export opportunities for the food, fuel and fiber produced in Kansas. Click here to read more on this agreement from the High Plains Journal.

Progress on Kansas City Levees
On Tuesday, I joined community leaders and elected officials, as well as Army Corps of Engineers personnel to celebrate full federal resources to complete the Kansas City Levees project. This project improves the 60-mile levee system in the region that provides protection for over $20 billion in infrastructure investments, 94,000 workers and 20,000 residents. As we’ve seen over the last year, flood control projects are more important than ever for the future of our communities and economy.

After years of continued efforts and time spent overcoming significant challenges, we were able to get this project across the finish line without burdening local governments. This progress would not have been possible without the collaboration and diligence of local partners and fellow members of the Kansas and Missouri congressional delegations. A special thanks to the Missouri and Associated Rivers Coalition (MOARC), the Kansas City Industrial Council, the City of Kansas City, Missouri and the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas who have worked tirelessly to see this project to fruition. Click here to read more on this project.

Participating in the Fort Hays Homecoming Parade
It was good to be back home in Hays with Robba over the weekend to participate in the 2019 Fort Hays State University Homecoming Parade. I enjoyed getting to catch up with many lifelong friends and folks committed to the success of Hays and FHSU, including Hays City Commissioners Sandy Jacobs, Shawn Musil, Henry Schwaller and Ron Mellick. A special thank you to my friend Don Barton for driving us in the parade. Go Tigers!


Meeting with Students at Palco High School
On Friday, I spent time with student leaders of Palco High School where I received a tour of the school and heard updates on the new school year. During their tour, they highlighted a number of different areas of importance at the high school, including career and technical education and the work of faculty and staff to prepare students for a variety of opportunities after graduation. It was also evident from these students the appreciation and admiration they have for their teachers and all that they do to prepare them for life. Thanks to seniors Shaylee and Hayley for the tour and to Palco High School Principal Mandi Dobson for inviting me to visit.


Touring Rooks County Health Center
On Friday, I was in my hometown of Plainville to tour the Rooks County Health Center with CEO AJ Thomas. During our tour, I saw the new expansion on the hospital that will serve folks from across Rooks County with expanded physical therapy and rehabilitation services. During my time with AJ, we discussed the mounting challenges facing rural healthcare and how we can work together to mitigate these issues. Thanks to the many employees who took time to visit with me on Friday and to AJ for his productive conversation and informative tour.


Hosting 4 Kansas Listening Tour Stops
Clark County
On Thursday, I hosted a Kansas Listening Tour stop in Clark County. During the townhall we discussed the ongoing situation at the border between Turkey and Syria and its importance to our national security, the current ag economy, trade and the need to pass USMCA, veterans’ access to healthcare through the VA MISSION Act, and my work to make certain rural America can thrive for future generations of Kansans. Thank you to the Ashland Civics Club for their hospitality on Thursday and my friend Ashland Mayor Kendal Kay for attending.


Comanche County
On Thursday, I was in Comanche County for a Kansas Listening Tour stop in Protection. During this stop, I met with local business leaders, community officials and local residents to discuss a number of issues important to the area. This discussion included issues such as rural access to healthcare, the deployment of broadband across the rural portions of our state and country, economic development, the importance of the ag economy and trade. Thanks to all those who took time to visit with me on Thursday. 

Following my Comanche County townhall, I visited Comanche County Hospital where I joined hospital staff and leadership for a discussion on issues facing rural hospitals. 


Graham County
On Friday, I was in Nicodemus for a Graham County stop on my Kansas Listening Tour. During the townhall meeting, we discussed a number of issues including my work to increase veterans’ access to healthcare through the VA MISSION Act, the rural economy, agriculture, trade, gun violence in America, accessibility to mental health services, border security and our work to keep China at bay.

Following the townhall meeting, I participated in a groundbreaking ceremony for Nicodemus’ third tiny home, a project of the Nicodemus Historical Society to improve housing for the community. This project is funded in part by generous contributions from Home Depot.

Thank you the Nicodemus Historical Society for hosting my visit to town and to my State Representative Ken Rahjes, Graham County Commissioner Mark Fabricius, National Park Service Superintendent Enimini Ekong and my friend Jim Logback for attending.


Trego County
On Saturday, I hosted a Trego County stop on my Kansas Listening Tour in WaKeeney. During this townhall meeting, we discussed a number of issues including profitability in agriculture and the importance of a successful ag economy, the rural economy and access to technology, healthcare, rising drug costs, veterans’ access to healthcare, as well as election security and voter ID laws. Thank you to the WaKeeney American Legion for hosting my visit and to all those in attendance for their productive conversation.


Now Accepting Spring Internship Applications

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 working closely with my staff on behalf of Kansans.

Applications for internships in my Washington, D.C. and Kansas offices for the spring 2020 session are due October 25. 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 and to apply.

Kansans in the Office

American Society of for Engineering Education
Gary Brooking of Wichita

Capitol Tour
Susan Bonham of DeSoto
Norma Bredemeier of Olathe
Georgia Bulleigh of Wichita
Kellis Bulleigh of Wichita
Kellis Bulleigh Jr. of Wichita
Stacey Bulleigh of Wichita  
Lynn Cooper of Salina
Rex Cooper of Salina
Jordan Hall of Prairie Village
Kim Handley of Leawood
Mark Handley of Leawood
Carl Hill of Andover
Randi Hill of Andover
Melissa Jarvis of DeSoto
Chanie Mitchell of Overland Park
Tom Mitchell of Overland Park
Kelly Monroe of Leawood
Matt Monroe of Leawood
Ed Pratt of Hays
Paula Pratt of Lawrence
Joe Riedel of Shawnee
Joseph Riedel of Shawnee  
Kat Tinkham of Roeland Park
Christina Wightman of Olathe
Dustin Wightman of Olathe

Kansas Farm Bureau
Greg Doering of Manhattan
Molly Piha of Westmoreland

Thales ATM
Chris Giacoponello 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,


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