Kansas Common Sense
Dec 30 2019
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Phone Call with President Trump
Last week, I spoke with President Trump regarding the recent news that Boeing will suspend production of the 737 Max jetliner and what that means for our state. The President assured me he will work with his team at the White House to see if there are ways that he and the administration can be of help.
I will continue to stay engaged with President Trump, Spirit Aerosystems, Boeing and the FAA until this issue is resolved. I understand what the production of the 737 Max means to Spirit and the Wichita community, and I also recognize the problem extends to smaller suppliers and subcontractors in the area.
This is a serious issue, and I want the jetliner back into production as soon as it has been determined safe to fly. In addition, I will continue to work with the Department of Defense to get more military work for Wichita manufacturers. Read more in the Wichita Eagle about my call with President Trump here.
Touring the North American Pipe Corporation
On Monday afternoon, I stopped in McPherson for an informative tour of North American Pipe Corporation (NAPCO) which is owned by Westlake Chemical of Houston, Texas. With 130 local employees, NAPCO is an important driver of the McPherson area economy. NAPCO is a leading polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipe manufacturer in North America servicing multiple unique markets, including municipal water and sewer, residential plumbing, water well, agricultural irrigation, turf, electrical and mining.
I enjoyed meeting with employees who manufacture products that make a meaningful contribution to the economic growth of our state and nation. During my visit, we discussed several issues that Congress can address to help American businesses remain globally competitive including trade, workforce development and infrastructure needs. Thank you to plant manager Tim Covert for arranging my visit. Special thanks to McPherson Mayor Tom Brown, McPherson County Commission Chair Keith Becker, McPherson Chamber of Commerce Chair Alex Graber, McPherson Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Debbie Hawkinson, McPherson Industrial Development Corporation Chair Keith Birkhead, McPherson Industrial Development Corporation Executive Director Kasi Morales and McPherson Board of Public Utilities Assistant General Manager Josh Bedel for joining me.
Presenting the Ellis County BUILD Grant
On Friday, I joined Ellis County and state officials, including Kansas Department of Commerce Secretary David Toland, Sen. Rick Billinger, Rep. Troy Waymaster, Rep. Barb Wasinger, and Rep. Kent Thompson to formally present the $6.5 million U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) BUILD Grant for the Northwest Business Corridor. These federal dollars will be used to improve existing infrastructure, currently not designed for the volume or type of traffic it is being used for, allow for increased economic development in the region, helping existing businesses expand.
This project will benefit the region for future generations and I commend the Hays community for working together on this vision. Special thanks to Ellis County Commissioners Butch Schlyer, Dustin Roths and Dean Haselhorst, Public Works Director Bill Ring and Hays businessman Dan Hess for their efforts on this initiative. I look forward to continuing to work with Ellis County and the DOT on the Northwest Business Corridor. Read more about the project here in the Hays Daily News.
Meeting with Jason Williby of Fort Hays State University
While in Hays last week, I stopped by to visit with Fort Hays State University Foundation President Jason Williby. I enjoyed hearing more about the Journey fundraising campaign and the Foundation's commitment to further promote quality and affordable higher education in Kansas. Thank you Jason for taking the time to meet with me.
Traveling to Kansas Communities for Listening Tour Stops
Visiting Barber County
I started this week with a Kansas Listening Tour stop in Medicine Lodge on Monday. Thank you to the Barber County residents who took the time to share with me their thoughts on issues like the economy and impeachment. A large portion of the conversation also revolved around the viability of rural communities. The conversation turned to recent victories in Congress, like the passage of the VA MISSION Act, which will strengthen community hospitals while providing local veterans more options for care, and the need to pass USMCA now in the Senate, which will help provide market stability to our producers. Attendees at the town hall made clear to me that more work must be done by Washington to ensure that good things continue to happen in the places that we call home.
Among the attendees, I appreciated seeing Rusty Varnado, City Administrator for Kiowa, and Jeff Porter, City Administrator for Medicine Lodge. Additionally, I was pleased to see my nominee to the Senate Page Program, Seth, who is from Medicine Lodge. Seth will spend next semester working on the floor of the United States Senate as he takes part in an opportunity available to select high school students across the nation. My gratitude goes out to American Legion Post #69 for opening its doors to the public while hosting the town hall.
Visiting Ottawa County
On Thursday, I stopped in Minneapolis for Kansas Listening Tour Stop. I was able to discuss a wide-range of topics with folks, including the importance of preserving the rural lifestyle, impeachment and the need to get USMCA across the finish line. Thank you to everyone who took time out of their day to speak with me while I was in town.
Visiting Hodgeman County
On Friday, I hosted a Hodgeman County Kansas Listening Tour Stop at Hanston State Bank. I have represented this area for over 30 years and I understand the importance of carrying on the rural way of life for future generations of Kansans. During my visit, we discussed ways to support rural America, including the need to pass USMCA and provide certainty for our farmers and ranchers. We also discussed veterans' care and the MISSION Act, and the division we are seeing in our country and how it related to impeachment. Thank you to all the folks that attended and engaged with me, as well as Hanston State Bank for providing coffee and cookies.
Stopping by the Isabel Community Store
Keeping a grocery going is a challenge in small town Kansas, but in Isabel the store is owned by the community. On Monday, I stopped by on the way to my townhall and was able to talk with folks drinking their coffee and then stopped by again as folks were eating lunch together. One of the most precious aspects of rural life is the community. Thank you for the conversations and letting me be a part of yours this week.
Special thanks to store manager Kathy Balding and her brother Richard Becker for the warm welcome.
Visiting with Folks from Preston and Burdett
Also this week, I took time to visit Preston in Pratt County and Burdett in Pawnee County. In both Preston and Burdett I was able to talk with folks about local issues as well as what I can do to help them in Washington. Thank you to those who took time out of their busy days to talk with me about their ideas and how life is treating them in Kansas.
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 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.
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