Kansas Common Sense
Welcome to “Kansas Common Sense.” This week, Congress returned to Washington, D.C. and the Senate confirmed John Fowlkes of Tennessee to be a U.S. District Judge for the Western District of Tennessee by a vote of 94-2. The Senate also considered S.2237, Majority Leader Reid’s Small Business Jobs and Tax Relief Act – although there was not an agreement reached to move forward on the bill. Next week, the Senate will be considering S.3369, the DISCLOSE Act.
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KU Cancer Center Achieves National Cancer Institute Designation
On Thursday, I had the honor of being in Kansas City to join the Chancellor of the University of Kansas, Bernadette Gray-Little; former Chancellor, Robert Hemenway; KU Medical Center Acting Executive Vice Chancellor, Steven Stites; former KU Medical Center Executive Vice Chancellor and Executive Dean of KU School of Medicine, Barbara Atkinson; President and CEO of KU Hospital, Bob Page; Director of The University of Kansas Cancer Center (KUCC) Roy Jensen; and many others to help announce tremendous news for our state – that KUCC has been selected for National Cancer Institute (NCI) designation. With this exclusive designation, KUCC patients will now have access to the latest clinical trials and the most advanced cancer treatments close to home. Because NCI designation is the highest recognition for an academic cancer center, KUCC will also be better positioned to recruit the brightest researchers and scientists to develop cutting-edge treatments and cures here in Kansas. Kansas students wishing to conduct the most advanced research to attack cancer and other diseases will no longer have to leave our state to do so. Additionally, this extraordinary accomplishment will have a transformative effect on our state’s economy, enabling Kansas to continue developing into a research powerhouse for medical, pharmaceutical, and technological advancement. NCI is a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and our nation’s principal agency for cancer research and training, focusing on turning laboratory discoveries into new treatments for cancer patients. Until this week, there were 66 NCI-Designated Cancer Centers across the country, but none in Kansas.
I congratulate the teams at KUCC, KU Medical Center, KU Hospital, and other partners for their successful pursuit of this exclusive designation that will have a life-changing impact on Kansans for generations to come – offering hope to thousands of patients. KUCC’s pursuit of NCI designation began more than a decade ago and was made possible by the strong support from the local community in Kansas City, the state of Kansas, and the entire region. By prioritizing medical research, we are investing in the future of our state. I am proud to have supported the KUCC’s pursuit of this designation from the early stages and look forward to continuing to partner together to ensure KUCC remains at the front lines in our nation’s efforts to combat cancer.
Please click here to view my remarks from Thursday’s announcement. Click here to read an editorial I wrote for The Wichita Eagle explaining the importance of this achievement for Kansas. And, click here to read more about my efforts to prioritize medical research for our state and nation. Click here to view a photo from the event.
Urging DHS to Start Construction of National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF)
Kansas has the potential to become a thriving research powerhouse for medical, pharmaceutical and biological advancement. In addition to KUCC’s NCI designation, our state received more good news when this week when the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) released a report titled An Analysis of the Requirements and Alternatives for Foreign Animal and Zoonotic Disease Research and Diagnostic Laboratory Capabilities. The NAS findings are crystal clear: without the capabilities NBAF provides, our country is at risk from foreign animal disease threats. The current NBAF design meets the nation’s needs and Americans must have countermeasures and a facility to research and mitigate biological and zoonotic threats. It is imperative that the United States have its own facility and that should be NBAF in Manhattan, KS.
This assessment was requested by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and is the last action to be taken in reviewing the viability of the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility or NBAF in Manhattan, KS. I will continue to urge the Department of Homeland Security to start with construction of the central utility plant and make NBAF a reality for Kansans, all Americans and our national security. Click here to read more.
Continuing Fight Against Cancer
On Tuesday afternoon, I visited with representatives of One Voice Against Cancer (OVAC) about the importance of our country’s investment in cancer research. OVAC is a coalition of health care stakeholder groups representing millions of cancer researchers, patients, survivors and their families throughout the nation.
Given the incredible progress made in cancer research over the last several decades and the remarkable promise that current cancer research holds, we cannot afford to waiver on America’s commitment to advancing new treatments and hopefully one day, a cure. Adequate and sustained support of medical research is critical to saving and improving lives, growing our economy, and preserving America’s position as a global leader in medical innovation. This commitment will improve the quality of life for Kansans and Americans for generations to come, and give hope to millions of patients and their families.
During the meeting, Kansas representatives of OVAC presented me with the 2012 Congressional Cancer Champion Award. I consider it a tremendous honor to be recognized by a group of Kansas volunteers who are champions in the fight against cancer. Their tireless and passionate support of medical research is essential to advancing more successful treatments and hopefully one day, a cure to this terrible disease. Click here to view a photo from our meeting.
Celebrating Kanopolis’ 125th Anniversary
On Saturday, I had the pleasure of joining local residents of Kanopolis to celebrate their community’s 125th anniversary. On November 11, 1866, Fort Ellsworth became Fort Harker, which later became the town of Kanopolis. The community was given the name of Kanopolis because it was envisioned as the “Central Metropolis” of Kansas and in due time was to be its capitol. The city was officially incorporated January 6, 1887. A special thanks to Mayor Cherie Sauers for inviting me to participate in the parade. Click here to view a photo from the celebration.
Kansas Army National Guard Deployment Ceremony
On Sunday, I traveled to Salina to attend the deployment ceremony for a Kansas Army National Guard Black Hawk helicopter unit. The unit will soon embark on a 12 month mission to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. This detachment is commanded by Capt. Ryan Bernard and will be joining an Iowa National Guard unit. Their mission is to provide aeromedical evacuation support; rapid movement of patients, medical personnel and supplies and other support, as needed.
Kansas National Guardsmen have a long and proud history of contributing to our nation’s critical missions both at home and abroad. I take pride and comfort in knowing that as Kansans and Americans we can count on this professional group of citizen soldiers, our friends and neighbors, to answer our country’s call to service. We owe our thanks to the men and women of the this Black Hawk helicopter unit and all of the Kansas National Guardsmen who voluntarily put their lives on hold to ensure that we can live in the safest and freest country in the world. Thanks to Major General Lee Tafanelli, Adjutant General of Kansas, for allowing me to join him in this deployment ceremony. Click here to view photos from the event.
Calling on CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler to Resign
On Thursday I called for the Chairman of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to resign. While his name may not be a household name, CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler is the chief regulator responsible for the protection of the futures market, a market whose integrity and transparency is critically important for farmers and ranchers in Kansas. In just the past nine months, Mr. Gensler has overseen two unprecedented failures in MF Global and at Peregrine Financial Group. Customers have lost hundreds of millions of dollars yet the CFTC under Chairman Gensler’s leadership has been more concerned about accumulating power and growing the bureaucracy at the expense of commonsense supervisory guidance and accountability. He has had ample opportunity to right the ship and restore confidence in our markets but he has failed to do so and for that reason, I called for Chairman Gensler to step down from office.
In the Office
This week we had several visitors in the Washington, D.C., office, including the Kansans listed below. Click here to view photos of some of the visits:
Randy Hattesohl of Hays
Mike Shilling of Manhattan
Hermis Boulden of Overland Park
Steve Sloan of Pittsburg
Jake Klaver of Kingman
Kip Spray of Great Bend
Mary Lou Reece of Wichita
Woody Moses of Topeka
Wendy Haims of Topeka
Valerie Harms of Topeka
Vern Hopkins of Salina
Bruce Hans of Andover
Diane Gaede of Manhattan
NC Extension Leadership Development
Cindy Evans of Topeka
David Kay of Seneca
One Voice Against Cancer
Pamela Howe of Kansas City
Michael Harper of Olathe
Michelle Derusseau of Lawrence
Lessa Gabel of Olathe
Peggy Johnson of Wichita
Molley Johnson of Wichita
Kansas Soybean Association
Terry Reschke of Hiawatha
Dwight Meyer of Hiawatha
Kenlon Johannes of Topeka
Dennis Hupe of Topeka
Cecilia Meitzner of Wichita
Max Meitzner of Wichita
Kansas Health Care Association/Kansas Center for Assisted Living
Cindy Luxem of Topeka
Kevin Crowley of Wichita
Cindy Rush of Topeka
Cindy Cothern of Mound Valley
Fred Benjamin of Coffeyville
Kelsey Cherland of Lawrence
Salina Regional Health Center
Tom Bell of Salina
Mike Terry of Salina
Joel Phelps of Salina
U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas
Judge John Lungstrum of Kansas City
Haskill Indian Nations University
Tylord Worldturner of Lawrence
Leonard Lowery III of Lawrence
Melody Griffin of Overland Park
Carol Tao of Overland Park
Sarah Woelhof of Overland Park
American Pharmacists Association
Wesley Kosko of Lawrence
Coffeyville Community College
Jill Kosloskly of Coffeyville
Crystal Eaton of Gridley
Many Kansans stopped by to take a tour of the U.S. Capitol this week including:
Leonard Lowery III
Lacey Rose Greenfield
Mary Anna Jones
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,
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