Kansas Common Sense
Sep 12 2011
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We Will Never Forget
No one will ever forget that September morning when they heard the news: America is under attack. On that fateful day, four passenger jets slammed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and an open field in Pennsylvania – taking nearly 3,000 innocent lives in the worst attack on our country since Pearl Harbor.
Ten years have passed since that September morning – and on this year’s anniversary, two memorials were dedicated to honor the thousands who were killed. In Pennsylvania, the first phase of a National Memorial has been completed, with the names of the 40 passengers and crew of United Airlines Flight 93 inscribed on the wall of the Memorial Plaza – built along the flight path of the plane. In New York, the National September 11 Memorial & Museum stands on the site of the former World Trade Center complex and features two waterfalls and reflecting pools – each about an acre in size. Bronze walls border the reflecting pools and bear the names of those who were killed in the terrorist attack on February 26, 1993 at the World Trade Center and the names of all the men, women and children who were killed in the attacks on September 11, 2001.
I spent the morning of the anniversary attending a church service at Cross Points Church in Shawnee. Special thanks to Sr. Pastor, Don Lewis for welcoming me. After the service I headed to Leavenworth where I had the opportunity to speak at the 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony at VFW Park. It joined representatives from fire departments, police departments, our Armed Forces and other community organizations as we gathered to remember the events of September 11th, those who lost their lives that day, and those who have since given their lives in defense of our country. Thank you to VFW Post 56 for inviting me to share the day with them and to County Commissioner Clyde Graeber, and Garrison Commander Col. Wayne Green of Ft. Leavenworth for joining me at the event.
Ten years bring us no farther from the loss that was felt in America that day, and we will forever hold our promise to never forget. We remain grateful for our service men and women in the armed forces who continue to watch and protect our country to keep our freedom within our reach. Click here to read my column marking the significance of this anniversary.
Putting Americans Back to Work
Congress returned to Washington this week and once again has the opportunity to work to change America’s pattern of unemployment. With 14 million Americans looking for work, I am very hopeful President Obama will work with Congress in the coming weeks on a new plan to get our economy back on sound footing – rather than focusing on the same stimulus proposals from the last two and a half years.
History demonstrates that the private sector is the true engine of job creation in our country, and Washington has the responsibility to create an environment where businesses can once again grow and hire workers. In the weeks ahead, I will redouble my efforts and work with my colleagues and the President to pursue a number of policies that will truly grow the economy, so we can make certain those Americans who are looking for work, can find work.
Kansas State Fair Begins in Hutchinson
The Kansas State Fair began Friday and will last through Sunday, September 18th. Each year, I travel to Hutchinson to attend the fair and visit with some of the 350,000 people who attend. The fair is the largest single event in our state and has been showcasing some of the best of Kansas for more than 95 years.
I began my day at the fair Saturday by attending the Kansas Farm Bureau Ag Leaders Briefing. I visited with Farm Bureau members and agricultural leaders from across the state about the importance of farming and ranching to our state’s economy and way of life. As budget decisions are made in Washington, it’s vital that we make certain agriculture remains profitable so there is a next generation of farmers and ranchers in Kansas. Thanks to President Steve Baccus and all of the members of the Farm Bureau for their warm hospitality.
Following the breakfast, I took part in the Kansas State Fair Agriculture Forum. Kelly Lenz of WIBW moderated the forum where state agriculture, livestock and commodity groups had the opportunity to ask me, Senator Roberts and Congressman Huelskamp questions about agriculture policy. I also had the opportunity to speak with many Kansans as I visited different booths and enjoyed the exhibits on Friday night and Saturday afternoon. These conversations are always helpful as they give me direction for what to focus on in Washington, D.C.
This is the 15th consecutive year that I have a booth at the fair in the Pride of Kansas Building. Members of my staff will be available each day of the fair to answer questions and provide information. I will be back at the fair next weekend, and I hope to see you and your family there! Click here to view photos from the fair.
Questioning the Postmaster General
On Tuesday, I had the opportunity to question Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe about the future of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) as he testified before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. The USPS faces financial challenges, and has proposed closing nearly 3,700 post offices across the country, including 134 post offices in Kansas.
The USPS has a distinguished history of providing timely mail service to customers. And while this service is important to communities across our country, it is extremely important for rural residents and to senior citizens who depend on the local post office to get their mail. Making certain rural America is not forgotten during the decision making process in our nation’s capital is a top priority.
During the hearing I pressed the Postmaster General to ensure accountability in the process while so many of our communities are having studies conducted on their hometown post office. I also asked him to clarify the criteria that the USPS will use to select specific post offices for closure. Finally, I asked the Postmaster General to make sure the community of Reading, Kansas, is being given fair treatment. Reading’s post office was not on the list of 134 Kansas offices to be studied for closure, but following the May 22nd tornado that damaged the building that housed the post office, the Postal Service has held a community meeting to discuss the future of the post office. Click here to view my exchange with Postmaster General Donahoe.
Providing Flood Insurance Relief to Kansans
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) was established in 1968 to provide a means for home and business owners to financially protect themselves from flood waters. In response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, FEMA began updating the digital maps used to determine an area's risk of flooding and the corresponding insurance premium property owners in the area would be required to pay. Many Kansas communities contain a levee system or flood mitigation structure that must meet certain criteria in order to be certified, and the certification process is often a long and expensive one. Unfortunately, FEMA's remapping formula fails to consider the level of protection still being provided by a levee even if it is not fully certified. This could cost Kansans in affected communities hundreds of dollars each year.
This week I successfully offered an amendment to the NFIP reauthorization bill that would allow communities with decertified levees to qualify for lower rate insurance policies if a community’s levee has made adequate progress toward certification. With fewer dollars flowing from Washington D.C., levee upkeep has become very much a local effort, and communities are digging deep to find the resources necessary to rehabilitate their aging flood protection systems. My amendment recognizes those communities who are making significant progress toward improving their levees and lowers the insurance rates for citizens living within that flood plain accordingly. In order to qualify for financial relief, a community must have secured the majority of the funding for the levee, have more than 50 percent of the flood protection system complete, and have a reconstruction schedule of no more than five years.
Passage of the NFIP reauthorization would result in hundreds of dollars in savings for home and business owners in Kansas and across the country. As the Senate continues to consider this legislation, I will continue to work to reduce the economic burden this program places on Kansans. Click here to watch a clip of me discussing my amendment before the Senate Banking Committee this week.
Now Accepting 2012 Service Academy Applications
I am now accepting applications for nominations to the United States Service Academies. The academies include the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York; the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland; the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado; and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New York. Those selected will enter the academies in June 2012.
If nominated, applicants must then meet the individual admission requirements of each academy. The academies will make the final decision on who receives an appointment of admission. Interested applicants should visit my website or contact my Olathe office for more information. Applications are due to my Olathe office by October 1, 2011. Applicants will be required to interview with my Service Academy Selection Board on Saturday, November 19th at the K-State Student Union in Manhattan.
In the Office
This week we had several visitors in the Washington, D.C., office from across the state, including the Kansans listed below. Click here to view photos of some of the visits.
Kansas City Orthopaedic Institute
Paul Kerens of Leawood
National Assn. of Electrical Distributors
Tom Isenberg of Kansas City
Employee Owned S Corporations of America
Ryan Van Winkle of Overland Park
Cheryl Floyd of Overland Park
Bill McDermott of Overland Park
Paul Faletti of Overland Park
Stephanie Chrisensen of Kansas City
Tony Kempf of Kansas City
Kansas Hospital Association
Tom Bell of Topeka
Fred Lucky of Topeka
Many Kansans stopped by this week for a tour of the United States Capitol including: Dr. Scott and Dr. Patricia Bledsoe of Wichita, and their children, Nicole and David; Thomas and Janel Dvorak of Newton; Michael and Carleen Dvorak of Emporia; Gary and Doris Unruh of Wichita; and Greg and Kathy Close of Clay Center.
It is an honor to serve you in Washington, D.C. Please let me know how I can be of assistance. To send me an email, click here. You can also click here to contact me through one of my Kansas offices or my Washington, D.C., office.
Very truly yours,
My email address is only equipped to send messages. I encourage you to send me a message through my website: https://www.moran.senate.gov
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