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.
Labor Day reminds us all of the value of a hard day’s work and the importance of establishing policies that create more jobs, better paying jobs, and future opportunities for our kids and grandkids.
As I’ve traveled across our state this month, I’ve heard from many Kansans about the issues impacting their lives, such as healthcare, immigration and providing for our veterans. Another issue that has often come up is the need to reform our tax system. As Congress reconvenes this month, I look forward to working on legislation to fix our tax code to create more and better jobs, support American families and make our system fairer for all.
Prayers for Texas
I’m always moved – but never surprised – by the kindness and compassion Americans show the world in times of need. I continue to pray for Houstonians, first responders and volunteers who are working together to recover and rebuild from the damage of Hurricane Harvey, which has deposited many trillions of tons of rain on our nation’s fourth-largest city. Your courage and resilience is inspiring. Robba and I continue to keep all impacted in our thoughts.
Visiting Military Men and Women in Germany, Poland and Afghanistan
I met with military men and women along with Acting Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy overseas this week, where we visited Germany, Poland and Afghanistan and gained valuable insights from our dedicated army soldiers.
In Germany, we met with Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, who serves as commanding general of the U.S. Army in Europe. We met with soldiers of all ranks, including privates, sergeants who are maneuver training, and colonels commanding movements of our ground forces and the commander for all Army land forces in Europe. I expressed my appreciation to our soldiers for their service and dedication to defending America and our allies across the globe.
The very real threat posed by Russia has changed the nature of our forces’ posture in Europe. I learned a great deal about the strategic context of the mission, which is not only about deterrence but strengthening our alliance with our partners. We face three complex sets of geopolitical threats around the world. We have an unpredictable North Korean regime, an unstable Middle East, and European allies who are threatened by Russia's objective to create a polarizing and chaotic world. We must not take our eye off Russia and the strategic threat it poses from every angle to our national security. Deterring Russia from its objective is paramount to the economic well-being and national security of our country.
As chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, I will continue to look for ways to support our army in its strategic vision to defend our nation against these complex threats while making certain taxpayer dollars are being appropriately spent.
The President recently laid out a broad strategy for Afghanistan. After 16 years of engagement, we must find a path forward for success. Part of the mission for my trip was to get answers as to whether we belong in Afghanistan and, if so, whether we are on a path to success. This week, I spoke with the senior-most leader for all our forces in Afghanistan, who has spent more time in the country than any other army soldier and understands the challenges of this conflict and environment better than anyone. It was an honor to sit down with General John W. Nicholson to gain his insight regarding the enduring challenges with the longest war in our nation’s history.
It was evident from our discussions that our military will continue to make a difference by demonstrating our commitment and partnership with an Afghan military force that is dedicated to safeguarding their citizens and creating a better future for their country. There are 21 terrorist organizations concentrated in Afghanistan, and Al Qaeda and ISIS still want to kill Americans. Advising and assisting the Afghan military prevents terrorist organizations from establishing strongholds to plan and inspire attacks on Americans and our allies.
Our national security requires an effective and capable Afghan military – this administration's new strategy, led by Gen. Nicholson, outlines a strategic shift in Afghanistan to help them become an effective fighting force and take their country back. The General’s strong leadership, the dedication of our troops and diplomatic solutions will further enable an Afghan government that is fully committed to fight and to win. Getting to Gamberi Forward Operating Base and meeting our nation’s finest provided real world context of what we are doing here and gave me the impression that what we are doing is working. By advising and training Afghan forces, they are becoming more lethal, effective and efficient, which is fundamental to the future of the nation. I was honored to be among such selfless warriors and will work to make certain Congress provides the resources they need to live up to their honor.
It was also great to see firsthand King Air platforms built by Kansans in Wichita being put to use in Afghanistan, providing vital Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) in support of our special operators assisting Afghan-led military operations.
Kansans in the Office
Educational Networks of America
Gina Spade of Lawrence
KC Digital Drive
Aaron Deacon of Mission
Kevin Geller of Olathe
Jill Geller of Olathe
Tanner Lyle of Russell
Heather Lyle of Russell
James Warner-Maupin of Russell
Connie Pile of Wichita
Jerry Pile of Wichita
Eugene Holmes, Jr. of Overland Park
Ronnita Holmes of Overland Park
Michael Strick of Tonganoxie
Andrea Strick of Tonganoxie
Milam Strick of Tonganoxie
Malachi Strick of Tonganoxie
Madilynn Strick of Tonganoxie
Jerry Cunningham of Kansas City
Joyce Cunningham of Kansas City
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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