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.

As you may have seen, Senator John McCain was diagnosed with brain cancer this week. If anyone can beat this, it's John McCain. He's a true American hero whose bravery has shown he can overcome any obstacle. Robba and I will be praying with John, Cindy and their family every step of the way. I am anxious for his return to continue our work in support of our nation’s veterans and all those who serve our country as John has his entire life.

Marking Kansas Birthdays
True Kansas legend Senator Bob Dole celebrated a birthday on Saturday. I am honored to call Senator Dole a friend and mentor. After heroically serving in WWII, Bob Dole dedicated his life to public service and it’s hard to imagine anymore more deserving of the Congressional Gold Medal. He reminds us all that one person is capable of making positive changes with long-lasting effects for so many important causes from veterans to child education to food aid across the world. Here, we’re pictured with veterans from Kansas during a recent Honor Flight at the WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C.

The city of Wichita marked its 147th birthday on Friday – the city was formally incorporated on July 21, 1870. The city of Hays, Ellis County, and the Historic Fort Hays have also been celebrating their 150th birthdays this year, and this weekend brought a number of special events to the community with a Sesquicentennial Picnic and Proclamation by the City and Council Commissions on Saturday.

Update on Healthcare in the Senate
Last week I shared my opposition to the Better Care Reconciliation Act, the Senate healthcare bill that in my view, neither adequately repealed nor replaced Obamacare. I have said repeatedly that healthcare legislation should be crafted through the full legislative process with expert witnesses, public hearings, amendments and votes by all one hundred senators.

This topic is one that is too important to Kansans, our families, and future generations of Americans to get wrong. As I said last week, we should not put our stamp of approval on bad policy. I will continue working along with my colleagues to craft healthcare policy that will provide greater personal choice, protections for pre-existing conditions, increased access and lower overall costs for Kansans.

I shared my thoughts on healthcare with Fox & Friends this week – please click here to watch.

Introducing Ajit Pai to the Senate Commerce Committee
Parsons native Ajit Pai has been serving as the acting chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) since January. On Wednesday, I introduced Chairman Pai, a friend, during the Senate Commerce Committee’s hearing on his reappointment to the commission. He is only the second Kansan ever to serve on the FCC – the first was Bob Wells of Garden City, who served from 1969 to 1971. As a native of Parsons, Ajit brings a unique understanding of the challenges facing rural America at this vital time for the future of telecommunications policy. He understands the importance of quality access to broadband and wireless connectivity, and I believe his roots make him especially qualified to advocate for rural America. The Senate Commerce Committee considered the reappointment of Chairman Pai as well as Jessica Rosenworcel, of Connecticut, to be reappointed as a member of the FCC and Brendan Carr, of Virginia, to be a member of the FCC.

Supporting Priorities for Kansas Farmers and Ranchers
As a member of the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, I supported approving the FY2018 Agriculture Appropriations bill this week that oversees funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA). While reducing overall spending by $352 million compared to FY2017 levels, the legislation prioritizes funding to support Kansas agriculture producers and rural communities, including through investments in research, conservation and food safety initiatives. It protects crop insurance and strengthens risk management tools critical to our nation’s farmers and ranchers, particularly during times of low commodity prices. The bill strengthens our commitment to rural communities through investments in rural water systems and rural housing programs, and builds on my efforts to increase support for international food aid programs such as Food for Peace and McGovern-Dole Food for Education, which utilize Kansas-grown commodities to feed hungry and malnourished people around the globe.

The legislation includes provisions I have long championed to advance initiatives that help transitioning military veterans explore opportunities in production agriculture, such as the Servicemember Agricultural Vocation Education (SAVE) farm in Manhattan. Additionally, I offered an amendment which was adopted by the full Appropriations Committee to increase funding for research and extension at 1994 Land Grant Universities, which include Tribal Colleges and Universities such as Haskell Indian Nations University. I look forward to the legislation moving to the full Senate for consideration, along with other appropriations bills.  

Introducing Legislation to Reform Veterans' Educational Benefits
This week I joined a group of my Senate colleagues in introducing the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017, legislation that will improve veterans’ education benefits and enhance the post-9/11 G.I. Bill. This bill is named after Harry W. Colmery, a Kansan who wrote the first draft of the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, now known as the G.I. Bill, in the closing days of World War II. Colmery served in World War I and saw firsthand the struggles that veterans faced when returning from the war, which inspired him to draft a bill that would assist future generations of servicemembers. His work has made a significant difference in the lives of millions of American veterans who have earned this benefit through their sacrifice, and I am pleased to support this legislation to make certain that our nation’s heroes are able to utilize this benefit for years to come. As they transition back to civilian life, our veterans deserve to have the support and opportunities offered by the G.I. Bill so they can continue their contributions to our country long after completing their service. I am hopeful that the full Senate will swiftly pass this important legislation, which honors all veterans in their aspirations to live the American dream and pays tribute to a Kansan who has changed the lives of veterans past, present and future through his effort to better the lives of those who serve our nation.

Urging the Administration to Assist Cotton Farmers Facing Challenges
I sent a letter this week calling attention to the ongoing challenges faced by cotton farmers and the need for policies that provide an effective safety net during times of low commodity prices. Our state relies on a vibrant agriculture economy. When farmers and ranchers succeed, all Kansans are better off. Unfortunately, changes made in the last farm bill have made the safety net for cotton producers largely ineffective. The letter colleagues and I sent calls on the USDA to take action to help cotton producers withstand the current downturn in farm prices. As Congress crafts the next farm bill, I look forward to working with Kansas ag producers to be sure our policies give them the tools necessary to continue to successfully live and work in rural America.

Recognizing National Youth Sports Week
Millions of young people across the country benefit from participation in sports. This week I joined a few of my colleagues to introduce a Senate Resolution that recognizes “National Youth Sports Week” which highlights the importance of youth sports and the efforts of those who make them possible. In Kansas, just like in many other states, sports are a favorite pastime for many who are introduced at a young age, whether it be through little league baseball or soccer at the local YMCA. Participation in youth sports promotes a healthy lifestyle and teaches important social and life skills. Children who participate in sports at a young age have improved physical and psychological health, social skills and academic performance. Of equal importance to note is the sacrifice made by parents, volunteers, coaches and community organizations who contribute their time to providing our children with learning opportunities.  

“Made in America” Featuring Moundridge-Made Lawn Mowers
The White House this week celebrated “Made in America” week, featuring American-made goods from across the country. Grasshopper Mowers, which is manufactured in Moundridge, was featured as part of their events. National Park Service ground crews, which maintain the White House and other national parks, have been using equipment from Grasshopper Mowers for many years. I was pleased to see this Kansas-based company highlighted for their hard work and success.

Participating in the Four State Farm Show
This past weekend, my office had an information booth at the Four State Farm Show located south of Pittsburg. Despite the heat, crowds of agricultural producers and customers turned out for the 43rd annual event which featured hundreds of vendors. My staff was on hand to answer questions and gather input from show attendees. Many Kansans shared their concerns on issues facing Congress, such as the recent healthcare legislation and the need for an effective Farm Bill. Thanks to all who stopped by.

Kansans in the Office

Kansas Independent Oil & Gas Association
Ed Cross of Topeka

Nate Faflick of Manhattan
Daniel Greenhalgh of Manhattan

Garden City Community College
Herb Swender

Wheat State Telephone Company
Archie Macias of Udall
Abby Hoffman of Udall

United Nations Foundation
Ann Huff of Leawood
Meg Schwartz of Leawood

National Foundation of Ectodermal Dysplasias
DeAnne Huxman of Moundridge
Tyler Huxman of Moundridge
Ryan Huxman of Moundridge

Kansas Corn
Pat Ross of Lawrence
Randy Small of Neodesha
Brian Baalman of Menlo
Ken McCauley of White Cloud
Bob Timmons of Fredonia
Roger Pine of Lawrence
Greg Krissek of Manhattan
Sue Schulte of Garnett
Stacy Mayo of Manhattan

Alliance of Specialty Medicine
Michael Main of Leawood

Salina X-Cel Group
Elizabeth Humphreys of Salina
Frenchie Buclner-Flores of Salina
Christina Cook of Salina
Robert Cunningham of Salina
Sh’Kaiya Hutchens of Salina
Jaquan Allen of Salina
Danialle Strella of Salina
Dyeon Presley of Salina
Helen Houp of Salina
Joshua Franklin of Salina
Tasha Gleysteen of Salina
Jazmin Deleon of Salina
Rick Reed of McPherson

National Association of Landscape Professionals
Michael Lee of Lawrence

McDonald’s Restaurants
Hugh O’Reilly Jr. of Emporia and Ottawa
Tom and Marilyn Dobski of Lawrence
Ken and Cassandra Savage of Kansas City

Flint Hills Resources
Tony Sementelli of Wichita
Alan Hallock of Andover

KCK Board of Public Utilities
Paul Kalchbrenner of Kansas City
David Mehlhaff of Kansas City

Cerebral Palsy Research Foundation
Cassie Forsyth of Kansas City

American Public Power Association
Stan Luke of Burlington

National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization
Sandy Kuhlman of Athol
Sarah Barkemeyer of Topeka
Alayna Nigus of Topeka

Christians United for Israel
Marcy Robinson of Galena
Esthea Munganga of Topeka

National Alliance to End Homelessness
Eric Craig of Lenexa
Beverly Best of Kansas City

Dysautonomia International
Chloe Mangers of Wichita
Kari Rinker of Wichita

National Teachers Hall of Fame
Carol Strickland of Emporia

Falun Gong
Linda Kuang of Overland Park

International Thespian Society
Jennifer Morgan of Leavenworth
Ryan Pangracs of Leavenworth
Chad Nulik of Salina
David Hastings of Olathe

Capitol Tour
Hoa Alec Nguyen of Maize
Vu Vivien Nguyen of Maize
Helen Nguyen of Maize
Stephen Nguyen of Maize
Julia Nguyen of Maize
Kristen Nguyen of Maize
Allison Nguyen of Maize
Bill Swanson of Olathe
Vicky Swanson of Olathe
Nicholas Swanson of Olathe
Rachel Swanson of Olathe
David Sewell of Junction City
Sally Sewell of Junction City
Alyssa Sewell of Junction City
Eric Burks of Jewell
Deidra Burks of Jewell
Blaine Burks of Jewell
Hannah Burks of Jewell
Hayley Burks of Jewell
Kyler Burks of Jewell
Doug Daugherty of Beloit
Dee Daugherty of Beloit
Dr. Marc Wilson of Clearwater
Patricia Klausmeyer-Wilson of Clearwater
Alex Klausmeyer-Wilson of Clearwater
Jacob Klausmeyer-Wilson of Clearwater
Luke Klausmeyer-Wilson of Clearwater
David Dilley of Overland Park
Nancy Dilley of Overland Park
Michael Moore of Olathe
Kimberly Moore of Olathe
Noah Moore of Olathe
Sam Moore of Olathe
Rachel Schuster of Gardner
Eric Craig of Lenexa
Carl Heilman of Great Bend
Sheri Heilman of Great Bend
Scott Heilman of Great Bend
Max Heilman of Great Bend
Chad Nulik of Salina
Kristin Nulik of Salina
Kyra Nulik of Salina
Brett Sprowls of Wichita
Marilyn Sprowls of Wichita
Nicholas Sprowls of Wichita
Joshua Sprowls of Wichita
Emily Sprowls of Wichita
Eric Sexton of Derby
Kathy Sexton of Derby
Emily Ostmeyer of Derby
Russell Branden of Sublette
Judy Branden of Sublette
Kurt Stanfield of Plains
Jennifer Stanfield of Plains
Brandon Stanfield of Plains
Emma Stanfield of Plains
Jackson Stanfield of Plains
Craig Anderson of Leawood
Susie Anderson of Leawood

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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