Kansas Common Sense
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Celebrating the Fourth of July and Pausing to Remember
Every year on the fourth of July, Americans gather together to enjoy backyard barbeques, parades and fireworks, and to celebrate our country’s independence. We gather to express pride in our nation, and we gather to remind our children and grandchildren of the sacrifices made by previous generations, so we could have the opportunity to live in the freest and greatest nation in the world.
America still stands as a land of opportunity today because of the enduring power of the ideals upon which our country was founded. As citizens, we have a duty to defend those freedoms that generations of Americans have given their lives to establish and protect.
On the fourth this year, many Kansans paused to remember two servicemen who made the ultimate sacrifice to defend the very freedoms our nation is built upon. Sgt. Michael J. Knapp, 28, of Overland Park was laid to rest on July 3rd in Arlington National Cemetery after being killed in Afghanistan on May 18th when enemy forces attacked his unit. Pfc. Cody O. Moosman, 24, of Preston, Idaho, but stationed at Ft. Riley, also died on July 3rd in Afghanistan from injuries sustained from small arms fire while on guard duty. I join Kansans in extending heartfelt sympathy and condolences to the families and friends of these brave soldiers.
We must always remember that our nation’s young men and women in uniform are risking their lives to protect our own and to defend the principles we hold most dear. The fourth of July is a fitting day to honor these brave men and women, and we express our gratitude for their courage, dedication to duty, and love of country.
Passage of the Highway Bill Conference Report
Last March, I supported the highway bill (S.1813) that passed the full Senate. I advocated that a long-term solution was needed so states can adequately prepare and coordinate highway construction projects. I support a highway bill that allows state governments and contractors to operate effectively without a cloud of uncertainty, while also protecting the investment of the taxpayer. The stability of a long-term solution allows states to award future bids on highways and puts Kansans back to work. Throughout my career in Congress, I have made a commitment on behalf of those who build bridges, tunnels and highways to serve Americans by investing in our nation’s highways, and I have consistently supported past reauthorizations of the highway bill.
The conference report to the highway bill (H.R. 4348) which was voted on last week, however, was not the same version I had supported. Instead, the measure passed on Friday was not the vital legislation to fund our nation’s highway system that I believe we need to accelerate economic growth and job creation for workers on America’s highways. The conference report added billions of dollars in spending for measures unrelated to highway maintenance and construction projects. I have visited with several contractors, construction companies, local government officials and other transportation stakeholders about the necessity of a long-term solution.
Emergency Grazing Approved For Seven Kansas Counties
This heat and drought continues to take its toll on Kansas farms and ranches. Over the past week, I was pleased to see the Kansas Farm Service Agency announce that emergency grazing of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acreage has been approved for 18 counties. Those approved are Ellis, Graham, Hamilton, Kearny, Lane, Morton, Norton, Osborne, Phillips, Rooks, Russell, Sheridan, Smith, Stanton, Thomas, Trego, Wallace and Wichita. The ability for farmers and ranchers to graze CRP during drought conditions is important in making sure livestock remain fed and that winter supplies of hay and feed are not used up too soon.
Emergency grazing will be allowed through September 30, 2012. Participants must leave at least 25 percent of each field or contiguous CRP fields ungrazed for wildlife, or graze at no more than 75 percent of the specified stocking rate. Participants must also accept a 25 percent reduction in the annual rental payment for the acres actually grazed. CRP participants in approved counties should contact their local Farm Service Agency county office to request an emergency grazing contract prior to use. Click here to learn more, and click here to see the drought monitor map.
University of Kansas to Make Announcement on July 12
In September 2011, the University of Kansas Cancer Center (KUCC) formally applied to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to become an NCI-Designated Cancer Center. NCI is a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and our nation’s principal agency for cancer research and training, focusing on turning laboratory discoveries into new treatments for cancer patients. There are currently 66 NCI-Designated Cancer Centers across the country and none in Kansas.
I am very optimistic about the announcement KU will be making on Thursday, July 12, and I know it will not only be great news for the university and Kansas City, but also a fantastic development for the entire state of Kansas and the region. Achieving NCI Designation would dramatically enhance KU Cancer Center’s ability to discover, develop and deliver innovative treatments to patients and enable the Center to recruit the best and brightest researchers to our state. It would also help Kansas’ development into a thriving medical research powerhouse and attract thousands of jobs and billions of dollars to our state’s economy. I am proud to have supported the Center’s pursuit of this designation from the early stages and look forward to the announcement on July 12.
Promoting Kansas Jobs in Aviation
Yesterday and today, I attended the Farnborough Airshow to visit with aerospace and aviation companies to promote the Kansas aviation industry and encourage companies to invest in Kansas. The Farnborough Airshow is a principal trade fair for the international aviation community that attracts roughly 150,000 visitors, includes 1400 exhibitors, and features demonstrations of civilian and military aircraft for potential customers, investors and governments alike.
I had the opportunity to meet with representatives from Bell/Textron, Airbus, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Spirit AeroSystems, Boeing, Hawker-Beechcraft and others. I also had the opportunity to meet with smaller Kansas companies Global Parts of Augusta, Tech Investments – with plants in Johnson County and Cottonwood Falls – and ICE Corporation out of Manhattan.
I visited with Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley and stressed the importance of basing tankers at McConnell Air Force Base. I also had the chance to meet with Air Force personnel and crew members who were there to operate various aircraft, such as the F-35, and thank M. Sgt. Dickey from Haysville for his Air Force Service. Finally, I met with Governor Brownback and Kansas Secretary of Commerce Pat George who were also at Farnborough to promote the state’s aviation industry.
The chance to meet with a range of individuals who care about aviation in Kansas, from industry leaders to operators in our Armed Services, was beneficial to efforts to promote Kansas’ reputation as the national leader in aviation manufacturing and job creation. Click here to see photos from my visit.
-Photo Caption: During my visit with Spirit AeroSystems, I was able to speak with CEO Jeff Turner about current and future efforts to enhance aerospace and aviation business in Kansas.
Lenexa Community Days Parade
Many communities across our state celebrate the fourth of July each year with parades and festivities. On Wednesday, I had the opportunity to join the Lenexa community in their annual Community Days Parade, and I was honored to celebrate our country's 234th birthday with the thousands of Kansans who lined the parade route. The parade was a great opportunity to catch up with old friends and make some new ones. I enjoyed meeting the Grand Marshal, Police Chief Ellen Hanson, who was being honored for her 37 years of service at the Lenexa Police Department. Police Chief Hanson will be retiring in October. Special thanks to Ted Halpin for driving me in the parade and to his daughter Mary Claire for riding along. Click here to see photos from the parade.
Clay Center 4th of July Block Party
It was a Norman Rockwell kind of evening in Clay Center on Monday, July 2nd, as more than 250 Kansans prepared to celebrate our nation’s birthday at the community’s annual Fourth of July Block Party. I've been joining neighbors, friends and community leaders to celebrate Independence Day on North 5th Street in Clay Center since 2002, and I enjoyed being a part of their largest crowd ever this year.
Monday night was a great opportunity to talk about our nation’s values and why it is important to preserve our liberties for our children and grandchildren, and to remind future generations of the sacrifices made so that we could have the opportunity to live in the freest and greatest nation in the world. Thanks to Representative Vern Swanson and his wife, Susie, for the warm welcome and thanks to Judge Ruth Browne for the invitation to attend this year's gathering.
Visiting Junction City Rotary
Spending time with the Junction City Rotary Club is always enjoyable, and I was glad to have the opportunity to deliver the keynote address at their luncheon on Tuesday. Junction City Rotarians have shown a tremendous commitment to both their community and to the men and women stationed at Fort Riley. Making those on the base feel welcome and treating them like part of the family has always been a priority.
Incoming Club President John Armstrong said a few words before the meeting about the Club’s goals for the year to come, and he closed the meeting with Rotary’s Four-Way Test – which has been translated into more than 100 languages. At the meeting I spoke to local business and community leaders about a range of issues, including America’s ominous debt situation. I also had the opportunity to meet three exchange students at the lunch including Nicolas Legrand of France, Hanna Taipalus of Finland, and Emily Hogan. Emily is American but lived in Romania. I enjoyed my conversations with local residents and commend the members on their efforts to strengthen and improve their community. Thanks for graciously hosting me this week. Click here to see photos from my visit.
Now Accepting Applications for Fall 2012 Internships
Congressional internships are a great way for Kansas students to learn about Congress and gain professional work experience. Having worked as a congressional intern myself, I know what a valuable experience it can be. 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. I encourage anyone with an interest in government and public service to apply.
My office is now accepting applications for this fall semester. Completed applications must include a resume, cover letter, academic transcript and two letters of recommendation, and all parts must be submitted for consideration by July 20, 2012. Please visit the interns page on my website to apply or email email@example.com if you have any questions.
In the Office
Many Kansans stopped by the Washington, D.C., office to take a tour of the U.S. Capitol this week including:
Richard Cloues III
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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