Kansas Common Sense

Hello,

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.

Robba and I had the opportunity to celebrate the Christmas season at the White House this week for the annual White House congressional ball. I hope you all are looking forward to spending the holidays ahead with friends and family.



Pushing to Protect NAFTA for Kansas Farmers, Ranchers and Manufacturers
I met with Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross this week, along with my colleagues on the Senate Commerce Committee, regarding the ongoing negotiations with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and its vital importance to farmers, ranchers and manufacturers in Kansas. Our state’s economy is dependent on our ability to export what we grow and manufacture to consumers around the world. In 2016, Kansas exported more than $4.5 billion worth of agricultural products, which supported more than 36,000 jobs and generated more than $5.7 billion in economic activity.



I support the administration’s effort to modernize and improve NAFTA, but I am concerned that withdrawing from the agreement with Kansas’ two largest trade partners will harm our farmers and ranchers and cost us jobs, and will especially damage manufacturing jobs. To illustrate this point, I showed Secretary Ross a picture of grain piles waiting on the ground in Kensington, Kansas as a direct example of why NAFTA is needed in our state to sell goods and feed the world. I appreciate the Secretary’s willingness to engage in this issue and hear our concerns. Secretary Ross understands I will continue to follow the negotiation process closely and I will not hesitate to bring up further concerns as I hear from farmers and ranchers on this issue.



Banking Committee Progress on the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act
This week, the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs marked up and voted out of committee S. 2155, the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act, which I am pleased to have cosponsored. This bipartisan legislation right-sizes regulation for smaller financial institutions and includes important consumer protections for veterans, senior citizens and victims of fraud. It will also improve our nation’s financial regulatory framework, encouraging economic growth in communities across Kansas.

I have been proud to work with my colleagues in a bipartisan fashion to strike a sensible agreement on ways to improve local financial services and to strengthen protections for veterans, senior citizens and victims of fraud. By modifying obsolete and overly cumbersome regulations, this bill encourages economic growth in our local communities and helps Kansans access and protect their credit. Please read more about the legislation here.

Calling for Delayed Implementation of Electronic Logging Devices for Livestock Haulers
Nineteen of my colleagues joined me in sending a bipartisan letter that I led to Senate leadership this week calling for delayed implementation of electronic logging devices (ELDs) for commercial motor vehicles transporting livestock. Our letter supports a provision in the U.S. House-passed Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) appropriations bill delaying implementation of ELDs for livestock haulers, providing the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA) time to make the necessary adjustments to hours of service (HOS) rules to address animal welfare concerns.

Our state’s agricultural economy and rural jobs rely on the ability to transport livestock, particularly cattle, from across the country to Kansas. Requiring ELDs without providing additional flexibility to the hours of services rules for livestock haulers has the potential to harm not only the industry, but also the welfare of the animals they carry. Delaying the ELD mandate for livestock haulers will make certain they are able to continue to ensure motorist safety while delivering livestock in a timely and humane manner. Please read our letter here.

Touring Council Grove High School
An impressive group of student leaders showed me around their high school today, sharing their future plans, thoughts about the quality of education they’ve received and favorite classes. My thanks to all the teachers and administrators working hard to help these students and many others across our state succeed. I’m grateful to Council Grove High School Principal Kelly McDiffett for hosting me on campus. Pictured below with me are Principal McDiffett and students Matt Goeckel, Melissa Filkin, Dominic Stover, Nichole Patry, Treyse King, Madison Bolen, Beau Peterson, Morgan Poole and Maria Ochoa.



Dedicating the Shari Flaming Center for the Arts at Tabor College, Hillsboro

I had the privilege of visiting Tabor College in Hillsboro this morning to speak at the Shari Flaming Center for the Arts building dedication.

The building involved many years of planning and hard work from college administration, alumni and the local community, and was built debt-free. I’m certain this new building will help Tabor College continue to provide top tier Christian college education in central Kansas.

Thank you to everyone who helped make this remarkable goal a reality and to President Jules Glanzer for inviting me to speak at the dedication.



Kansans in the Office
Pam Armor of Wichita
Patti Yetter of Wichita
Jena Simms of Wichita
Laura Reed of Wichita

Kansas Department of Labor
Lana Gordon of Topeka
Justin McFarland of Topeka

National Marrow Donor Program
Diana Carlin of Lawrence

Ducks Unlimited
David Paul of Leawood

Tradewind
Geoff A. Coventry of Overland Park

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City
Coni Fries of Overland Park

Sunflower Community Action
Janeth Vazquez of Liberal
Ernestor De La Rosa of Dodge City
Guadalupe Magdaleno of Wichita
Thea Perry of Lawrence
Sarah Aguilera of Liberal
Ruben Rodriguez Rangel of Wichita

ThermoFisher
Marc Casper of Lenexa
Tim Fenton of Lenexa

Transgender American Veterans Association
Suzanne Wheeler of Shawnee 

Delta Air
Heather Wingate of Lawrence

Topeka Police Department
Mike Cross of Topeka

National Sorghum Producers
Dan Atkisson of Stockton

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,
Jerry

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