Kansas Common Sense
Welcome to “Kansas Common Sense.” Thank you for your continued interest in receiving my weekly newsletter. I spent this week traveling throughout our state, listening to Kansans and getting feedback on issues we face in Washington. I spent time this week visiting with folks in Reno, McPherson, Jewell, Republic, Crawford, Cherokee, Riley and Johnson Counties. You can read more about visits below. Please feel free to forward this newsletter on to your family and friends if it would interest them.
Promoting the Importance of Cancer Research
On Monday, I was honored to receive the 2012 Distinguished Public Service Award from the Association of American Cancer Institutes, an organization representing the United States’ premier academic and free-standing cancer research centers. Consistent, sustained support of research related to cancer and other diseases is essential to saving and improving lives, growing our economy, and maintaining America’s role as a global leader in medical innovation and technological advancement. Medical research can also lead to billions of dollars of savings in health care costs. Given the amount of progress made over the last century and the great potential current cancer research holds, now is not the time to waiver on America’s commitment to medical research. I am pleased to support research advances in our state, including the University of Kansas Cancer Center’s successful pursuit of National Cancer Institute designation earlier this year. I look forward to continuing to advocate for efforts to combat cancer and bring new hope to patients and their families. Click here to read more about my support for cancer research.
The Importance of the Technology Sector to the American Economy
One bright spot for the American economy during this difficult recession has been the technology sector. Not only is this sector responsible for a considerable amount of job creation in recent years, it is also the sector that drives innovation and efficiency in other sectors. While our nation has traditionally lead the world in technological innovation, the United States now faces increasing competitive pressure from other countries: there is fierce competition to attract the world’s best and brightest; theft of intellectual property remains an issue for many American companies, entrepreneurs and artists; and our country’s crippling debt remains a major challenge for the future. Amidst this increasing international competition, the last thing the American economy needs is one more barrier that makes the United States a less attractive place to start a business.
This week, I explained to Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz the importance of the technology sector to our economy and urged the Commission to fully consider the impact of any potential actions against technology companies. Companies have more options and choices online than ever before. Additionally, technological innovation offers entrepreneurs new tools to start new businesses, offer consumers new products and services, and ultimately put Americans back to work. To view the full text of the letter, click here.
Lions Clubs Commemorative Coin Act Becomes Law
The Lions Clubs International Century of Service Commemorative Coin Act, H.R. 2139, has been signed into law by the President. I joined the Hill City Lions Club 35 years ago and have been President of the Hays Lions Club in Kansas. I sponsored this legislation to authorize the U.S. Treasury to mint $1 silver coins in honor of the Lions Clubs International 100th Anniversary in 2017. The bill costs taxpayers no money, as the sale price includes the cost of designing and issuing the coins. The coins will be minted and available for purchase in 2017.
Lions Clubs International is the world’s largest service club organization with 1.35 million members in more than 45,000 clubs in 206 countries and geographic areas, including more than 270 clubs in Kansas. In addition to its efforts to conquer blindness, the organization has made a strong commitment to community service, disaster relief, and helping youth in Kansas and throughout the world.
“I want to thank Senator Moran – a fellow Lions club member – and all the members of Congress who helped pass the Lions Clubs International Century of Service Commemorative Coin Act,” President of Lions Clubs International Wayne A. Madden said. “This act will support Lions Clubs global mission to help those with visual impairments or disabilities, youth and those affected by disaster.”
We will soon celebrate the 100th Anniversary of an organization that truly lives up to its motto of ‘We Serve.’ Lions Clubs have empowered generations of Americans to serve their communities and meet humanitarian needs. The Lions Clubs International Century of Service Commemorative Coin Act is a fitting way to honor the great charitable work of millions of volunteers since the organization’s inception. Proceeds from the sale of commemorative coins will go toward Lions’ efforts to provide charitable services to the most vulnerable people throughout the world. Click here to read more.
Visiting the Community of Mankato
On Tuesday, I had the opportunity to spend some time in Jewell County and visit with residents. I made several stops in Mankato where I visited businesses including Bob's Inn, Mankato Lumber, and the State Exchange Bank. I also stopped by the Jewell County Farm Bureau, Jewell County government offices, and the USD 107 district offices. At Bob’s Inn, I had lunch and chatted with the café’s owner, Irene Ortman. A retired teacher, Irene began another important career on Jefferson Street in 2005. She told me about the high costs and other difficulties involved with owning a small business. Irene is hopeful hunting season will help the business. Thanks again to Irene Ortman for the good food and good service. Thanks to everyone in Mankato for the welcome and for chatting with me about the issues they care about.
Visiting Schools Throughout Kansas
As a member of the Senate Appropriations education subcommittee, which has authority over the budget of the U.S. Department of Education, I have the responsibility to review the Department’s initiatives to make sure they are effectively serving students in Kansas and across the country. Because parents and teachers best know the educational needs of their students, I am committed to working to improve federal education policies so states and local communities have the flexibility they need for teachers to tailor education plans to the unique needs of their students. Kansans understand that, in order to be successful, a school needs students who want to learn, dedicated teachers who are committed to helping each student reach their potential, administrators who are goal-oriented, and supportive parents and community members who reinforce the concepts and expectations taught at school. This week I had the opportunity to visit several educations institutions in Kansas and learn about the issues that are impacting them:
Visiting Pike Valley High School
On Tuesday afternoon, I visited Pike Valley High School in Scandia and answered questions in Mr. Richard Cox's Senior Government Class. The students discussed a variety of issues currently affecting our nation, including the rising costs of higher education and the economy. Congress has a lot of work to do when we return to Washington D.C. We also visited about the importance of young Kansans staying in our state to live and work after they graduate from school. I was impressed with the students’ questions and their interest in the future of our country. Thank you to Principal Chris Vignery and Mr. Richard Cox for hosting my visit. Click here to see a photo.
Visiting Hutchinson Community College
While in Reno County, I visited one of our state’s finest post-secondary educational institutions—Hutchinson Community College. I enjoyed taking questions from a thoughtful, motivated group of students in the college’s leadership class, which is taught by President Ed Berger and Vice President of Student Services Randy Meyers. Every decision we make in Washington, D.C., should help these students create a better tomorrow for themselves and our nation. Thanks to the instructors for helping develop the next generation of leaders in our Kansas communities.
While at Hutchinson Community College, I also toured the Richard E. Smith Science Center. Refurbished in 2010, the center is now a modern scientific facility that houses the college’s math and science programs, including updated labs and lecture rooms. I appreciate Dr. Tricia Paramore, chair of the math and science department, and her students for allowing me to interrupt their Biology I Lab. It was also great to hear from Dr. Chuck Buller, chemistry instructor, about how the center’s biotech lab is preparing students for a variety of medical careers, including further education at University of Kansas medical and pharmacy schools. Thanks to President Berger; Steve Porter, vice president of workforce development; and Dr. Cindy Hoss, vice president of academic affairs, for leading my campus visit and demonstrating that Hutchinson Community College continues to play a leading role in equipping Kansans with the skills needed to begin a new career or to continue their education. Click here to view a photo from my visit.
Touring Manhattan Area Technical College
On Friday, I had the opportunity to tour the Manhattan Area Technical College and visit with President Rob Edleston and College faculty. Manhattan Tech recently expanded programs so their graduates are better equipped to work in growing industries and meet emerging labor needs in rural areas. Caterpillar has a partnership with MATC in which welding students are hired by Caterpillar once the welding curriculum has been met. MATC is hoping to expand this partnership to include a training site in Wamego. In Belleville, high school students are able to take welding classes and receive credit at MATC. Technical education is a vital part of the American economy and I'm glad to see MATC's growth and success. Manhattan Area Technical College has truly made an important impact on our state and its workforce. Thanks to Dr. Edleston, Workforce Development Director Sally Vonada and Wes Chambers for facilitating my visit. Click here to see a photo from my visit.
Riverview Senior Residences Groundbreaking in South Hutchinson
On Wednesday afternoon I took part in the groundbreaking ceremony for the Riverview Senior Residences in South Hutchinson. The Riverview Senior Residences will be a 36-unit senior housing development that provides increased affordable housing options for senior residents in the Hutchinson community. The three-story complex will feature several sustainable and energy efficient design features aimed at reducing long-term operating costs. Construction of the residences, which will include local labor and materials, is expected to be completed in October of next year. The developers for the project are Builder’s Development Corporation (BDC), a Kansas City based non-profit, and Prairie Fire Development Group (PFDG). Both organizations focus on providing quality, affordable housing options for seniors and low-income families.
Availability of affordable, quality housing options and care for Kansas seniors are vital to the survival of our communities because these necessities determine whether Kansans can remain in the communities they call home. The public-private partnership between the City of South Hutchinson, BDC, PFDG, and the Hutchinson community will help address a housing shortage for seniors in the area. This project comes at a time when seniors, many of whom are on fixed incomes, face rising prices for food, transportation and health care in a challenging economy. Furthermore, this development project brings the benefit of additional jobs and economic activity to the Hutchinson community. I was glad to have the opportunity to take part in this groundbreaking. Thanks to South Hutchinson Mayor Weldon Cook, the South Hutchinson City Council, BDC Executive Director Michael Snodgrass, Kelley Hrabe and Rudy Manes with PFDG, Dennis Mesa of the Kansas Housing Resources Corporation, and State Senator Terry Bruce for joining me at this event.
Discussing Health Care at McPherson Hospital
On Thursday morning, I traveled to McPherson Hospital and visit with hospital administrators, doctors, nurses and other staff members about issues that impact the way the hospital delivers quality care to patients in Central Kansas. McPherson Hospital is a 41-bed facility serving thousands of Kansans annually from McPherson County and the surrounding area. During my tour, I was able to learn about medical simulator models recently donated to the hospital through the McPherson Healthcare Foundation which will be used by staff in the obstetrics and surgical departments to practice a variety of medical procedures, including catheterization and IV placement. I was glad to visit with Dr. Tyler Hughes, a surgeon at McPherson Hospital who was named the 2012 Rural Health Practitioner of the Year by the National Rural Health Association.
McPherson Hospital and other rural hospitals across the country deliver health care to more than 60 million Americans and are the health and economic backbone for communities across our nation. These facilities are often the sole source of comprehensive health care in their areas, and are typically the largest employer and an economic engine in the communities they serve. During my visit, we discussed how certain factors that may be beyond a hospital’s control, such as a facility’s rural location or the age and volume of patients treated, can significantly affect the costs of furnishing care. We also discussed how federal policies create uncertainty for rural hospitals that require them to frequently reevaluate how to best allocate their limited resources to serve the unique needs of their communities. It is important that members of Congress understand these challenges because access to the health care these hospitals provide determines whether Kansans can remain in their communities and whether their children can return home to raise families of their own. Thanks to Terri Gehring, Jill Wenger, George Hamala, and Cyril Russell for leading this tour. Click here to view photos from the visit.
Celebrating Pittsburg State Homecoming
On Saturday, I was in Pittsburg for Pittsburg State University’s (PSU) 2012 Homecoming. I got to participate in a great day of events, from the Homecoming Parade, to Gorilla Fest and the Homecoming Game against Missouri Western State University. Congratulations to the Pittsburg community for putting together another successful homecoming celebration. I enjoyed visiting with the many alumni and students during the festivities and having the opportunity to hear from folks across Southeast Kansas. Thanks to PSU President Dr. Steve Scott for the invitation to join him for the football game. I enjoyed getting an updated from President Scott and discussing the issues that face us in Washington D.C. And special thanks to Kelly and Connie Kays for driving Robba and me in the parade. Click here to view photos from the homecoming events.
Shared Threats Confront America and Israel
On Sunday, I joined Kansans who share an interest in what takes place in Israel at Congregation B’nai Jehudah in Overland Park to talk about current events in the Middle East. The United States and Israel are both threatened by Iran’s attempt to build nuclear weapons. While recent sanctions imposed by the United States and our European allies have decreased Iran’s oil output and caused a sharp decline in the value of Iran’s currency, Iran continues to enrich uranium. With enough low-enriched uranium to build at least five nuclear weapons as well as the expansion of an underground enrichment facility, time is running out to stop Iran. I spoke to Kansans about recent activity in Congress to increase pressure on Iran and to expand American security cooperation with Israel. Thanks to Kansas City Israel Action Forum Co-chairs Debbie Graham and Carol Katzman and all those who worked to make this event happen.
Accepting Internship Applications for Spring 2013
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 glad to be able to offer this same opportunity in my Senate office today. Applications are being accepted for internships in my Washington, D.C., Topeka, Wichita, Hays and Pittsburg offices for the spring 2013 term. Congressional internships are open to qualified undergraduate and graduate students, as well as recent graduates, who have an interest in public service and have achieved academic excellence.
Applications are due by November 2, 2012. The spring 2013 internship session will take place from the first week of January to May. To apply for an internship, students should complete and submit an application, cover letter, résumé, college transcript and two letters of reference. Students should apply online at my website (www.moran.senate.gov) under the “services” tab. Please submit additional materials to firstname.lastname@example.org, or mail them to the address listed below:
U.S. Senator Jerry Moran
Attention: Internship Coordinator
354 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Applicants can feel free to call (202) 224-6521 or email email@example.com to obtain more information.
In the Office
This week we had several visitors in the Washington, D.C., office, including the Kansans listed below:
Kansas Board of Nursing
Mary Blubaugh of Topeka
Many Kansans stopped by to take a tour of the US Capitol this week including:
Leonard & Stacy Boline, and children Benjamin & Andrew
Mike & Peggy King, and daughter Caitlin
Raymond & Yvonne Cote
It is an honor to serve you in Washington, D.C. Please let me know how I can be of assistance. To send me an email, click 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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