Kansas Common Sense


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Completing a Visit to Every Hospital in the State of Kansas
As the Senate considers healthcare reform, the feedback and experiences hospital staff and administrators share with me during my visits to hospitals across the state are especially important. That is part of why I’ve made it a priority to visit every hospital in the state of Kansas. With this week’s tours, I have now visited all 127 hospitals in Kansas since joining the United States Senate. In addition to hospitals serving as healthcare providers, they are also employers providing health insurance to their staff.

Greeley County doctors, nurses and administrators shared their challenges in addressing the ever-rising cost of medical procedures, the importance of community pharmacies, crucial protections for critical access hospitals and the just-passed bond issued for hospital renovation. Thanks to CEO Burke Kline and Quality and Compliance Manager John Kennedy for the tour as well as Dr. Sheila Scheffe for taking time to talk with me.

During my visit to Hamilton County Hospital, medical staff shared with me some of the changes they have had to make to stay open in recent years. We also discussed the importance of the critical access hospital designation. My thanks to Dr. Richard Carter, of Carter Professional Care, P.C and CEO Robert Whitaker for coordinating my visit. 

Hosting a Townhall Meeting in Ellis County
During my townhall meeting on Saturday morning in Hays, nearly 60 local residents joined me for a discussion on topics ranging from healthcare reform to immigration, along with the importance of care and benefits for veterans, rural housing needs, making certain educational decisions are made at the state and local rather than federal level and necessary improvements to our infrastructure nationwide. We also discussed the importance of finding common ground as a Congress so that we can work together for the betterment of the country. My thanks to Ellis County Commissioners Marcy McClelland and Barbara Wasinger, County Clerk Donna Maskus, Ellis City Councilwomen Jolene Niernberger, Victoria Mayor Jerry Kanzenbach, and the Hays Medical staff and Dr. John Jeter for hosting.

Getting a Firsthand Look at Textron’s New Scorpion Jets

I visited Textron Aviation in Wichita, home to Beechcraft, Cessna, and Hawker brands, on Friday afternoon. I have long advocated for Textron to create a powerful yet efficient aircraft which would benefit our airmen by providing a lower-cost training platform, and the company has been hard at work building the new light attack Scorpion jet, a multi-role aircraft to fill the needs of the United States Air Force and other potential partners. In support of our armed forces, I look forward to helping maximize the important role the talented employees of Wichita's Textron Aviation can play in achieving our country's national security strategy. It was great to experience firsthand the impressive capabilities of the Textron Scorpion and see the hard work of so many Kansans resulting in a quality aircraft. Thanks to Textron President and CEO Scott Ernest for hosting my tour and Lyons, Kansas native Aaron Tobias, who piloted my live demonstration of the Scorpion. 

The B-21 Bomber: Jobs for Kansans

After my test flight at Textron, I joined SpiritAeroSystems and Northrop Grumman at a B-21 partner event to celebrate the efforts of Spirit employees who are hard at work in partnership with Northrop Grumman on the U.S. Air Force’s next generation bomber – the B-21 Raider. The B-21 will play a critical role in safeguarding our military’s superiority against potential adversaries who are rapidly advancing their own technologies. 

Kansas has played an important role in building essential resources for our military over the last century. In World War II, for example, Wichita companies built thousands of aircraft to support the war, including 2,766 B-29 Superfortress long-range bombers. Manufacturing thousands of aircraft to meet Department of Defense requirements necessitates a talented workforce, and during that time and the years since, thousands of Wichitans have contributed to the effort to sustain our air superiority in defense of our nation.

Congratulations to the many talented Spirit employees and the rest of the team led by Northrop Grumman for working tirelessly to deliver the world’s most advanced stealth bomber. Special thanks to Spirit AeroSystems Senior Vice President for Defense Programs Duane Hawkins, Northrop Grumman Vice President and Aerospace Systems President Janis Pamiljans, and U.S. Air Force Major General Paul Tibbets IV, Commander of the 509th Bomb Wing and incoming Vice Commander of Global Strike Command for participating in the event. 

Advocating for Global Development
In the coming decades, a rapidly expanding world population will increasingly strain the global food system. The vast majority of the population growth will occur in low- and middle-income countries, including many areas already facing food security challenges. However, with challenges also come opportunities. More mouths to feed means greater demand for the food grown by American farmers and ranchers, but only if people have the resources to buy it. The opportunity to combat world hunger, while also developing new export markets for U.S. agricultural products, is an investment that all Americans ought to get behind. Please click here to read more of my op-ed in Agri-Pulse about the importance of global agriculture development and the benefits those efforts provide to American farmers.

Visiting Kansas Civic Clubs
On Tuesday, I spent time in western Kansas where I had the opportunity to speak with members of the Colby Rotary Club during their meeting held at the Colby Community College Student Union. Our discussion centered around the value and importance of civic groups in rural America. I was pleased to hear about the recent service projects that the club has worked on. We discussed the impact trade has on our rural Kansas communities, support for small business and the vitality of rural health care providers. I appreciated the opportunity to hear from all who attended. Special thanks to former Senator Sheila Frahm, a Colby native, who attended.

Back in eastern Kansas, I joined members of the Leawood Rotary Club at their Thursday morning meeting where our discussion focused on local community projects, efforts to eliminate polio globally and their plans for their club’s involvement in Johnson County in the new year. Thanks to all who attended – great to see so many looking for ways to serve their fellow Kansans.

Touring GraceMed Helen Galloway Family Clinic
I visited GraceMed Health Clinic in Wichita on Friday morning and heard from administrators and healthcare providers about the importance of crafting healthcare reform that protects care for lower-income patients. GraceMed Helen Galloway Family Clinic is a Federally Qualified Health Center, which requires the clinic to meet specific standards that are administered by the Health Resources & Services Administration. The visit provided greater insight into the challenges that they face. I want to thank CEO David Sanford for hosting my visit and Associate Executive Officer Venus Lee for taking the time to speak with me.

Participating in the Junction City Brigade’s Season Opener
On Saturday, I was honored to introduce Brigadier General Pat Frank as he threw the first pitch at the opening game for Junction City Brigade Baseball. The Brigade is a summer collegiate team made up of college athletes from all over the country. It was a beautiful night in Junction City as the local Boy Scout troop provided the color guard. Special thanks to Brigade General Manager Cecil Aska for coordinating my visit.

Joining the Kansas City Royals for Batting Practice
Eric Skoglund’s remarkable pitching during Tuesday night’s Royals game won’t soon be forgotten – I was lucky to meet with him the following afternoon during batting practice and congratulate him on a job well done. Great to get advice from a guy who knows how to get things done. I also enjoyed chatting with Royals Manager Ned Yost.

Kansans in the Office

Capitol Tour
Travis Gray of Columbus
Amy Gray of Columbus
Macy Gray of Columbus
Luke Gray of Columbus
Halle Gray of Columbus
David Eddington of Columbus
Malinda Eddington of Columbus
Samuel Eddington of Columbus
William Eddington of Columbus
Jake Eddington of Columbus
Shannan Devlin of Wichita
Peter Austin of Wichita
Rebecca Austin of Wichita
Ryan Austin of Wichita
Sherrie Roach of Alton
Brad Harp of Augusta
Amber Harp of Augusta
Kaleb Hogan of Augusta
Phoenix Hogan of Augusta
Christian Hogan of Augusta
Kohl Hogan of Augusta
Braidyn Harp of Augusta
Charlotte Ehrmann of Augusta
Bruce Berglind of Derby
Kathy Berglind of Derby
Carly Berglind of Derby
Roxie Sjogren of Lindsborg
Kort Sjogren of Lindsborg
Daniel Thomson of Riley
Cindy Thomson of Riley
Kelly Thomson of Riley
Katelyn Thomson of Riley
Tory Thomson of Riley
Sarah Thomson of Riley
Jonathan Bichelmeyer of Lake Quivira
Stacy Bichelmeyer of Lake Quivira
John Bichelmeyer of Lake Quivira
Joshua Bichelmeyer of Lake Quivira
Jackson Bichelmeyer of Lake Quivira
Jung Sim Youk of Olathe
Chul Hee Woo of Olathe
Min Kyu Woo of Olathe
Hye In Woo of Olathe
Brian Davis of Wichita
Teresa Davis of Wichita
Matthew Davis of Wichita
Rachel Davis of Wichita
Angela Davis of Wichita
Penny Conrad of Hutchinson
Moritz Happerger of Topeka
Brendan Hughes of Overland Park
Roberta Vergara-Hughes of Overland Park
Gabe Hughes of Overland Park
Sofia Hughes of Overland Park
Robert Harrison of Topeka
Laura Harrison of Topeka
Jackson Reece of Topeka
Grace Reece of Topeka
Brooklyn Harrison of Topeka
Gabriel Harrison of Topeka
Zach Crawford of Andover
Margie Crawford of Andover

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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