Kansas Common Sense

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Last week, grief struck our hearts as Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Deputy Robert Kunze was fatally shot while on duty. On Friday, I attended the funeral honoring this dedicated, brave public servant, who saved the lives of at least two innocent bystanders.

Sheriff’s Deupty Kunze had been part of law enforcement for 18 years – six with the Shawnee County Sheriff’s Office, and the last 12 years in south central Kansas. Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter shared that Officer Kunze will be remembered for “his smile, his contagious laugh and his ability to engage anyone and everyone in a conversation.” Robba and I ask Kansans to join us in praying for Robert’s wife and daughter. May God comfort them in their time of grief and be a source of strength for them, and may He protect those who put their life on the line every day to keep our communities safe. 

Following the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) announcement in August that it would move the Economic Research Service (ERS) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) away from Washington, D.C. and closer to stakeholders and qualified staff; this week, I further explained to Ag Secretary Sonny Purdue why Kansas would make an excellent home for both organizations and the men and women who comprise them.

Kansas is home to a highly-skilled workforce as a result of the state’s premier universities, research institutions, agricultural companies and industry producer groups. The animal health corridor, stretching from Manhattan, Kan. to Columbia, Mo., has the largest concentration of animal health companies in the world. As of 2014, 56 percent of worldwide animal health, diagnostics and pet food sales were located within the corridor.

The concentration of animal health companies and esteemed research institutions will not only complement the research capabilities of NIFA and ERS, but have also fostered a talented workforce that will help meet the personnel needs of USDA. Click here to read more.

On Thursday, I led a group of my Senate colleagues in encouraging U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to include Congress in any blueprint discussions regarding a national data privacy framework. It is essential to protect Americans from data misuse while also establishing certainty for businesses to create jobs, innovate and compete domestically and internationally. The only way to accomplish this goal is to create a national data privacy framework.

Any proposal that satisfies both the needs of the American consumers and the internet economy should include the input of Congress, as it would require Congressional action to create an enforceable standard nationwide. As chairman of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security, I am ready to work with the Department of Commerce and my colleagues in Congress to provide Americans with data protections that promote privacy, competition and innovation. Click here for more information and to read the letter.

On Tuesday in my Washington office, I met with Assistant Secretary of the Army Jordan Gillis, Brigadier General Joy Curriera and other Army leaders to discuss environmental safety at both Fort Riley and Fort Leavenworth and the ongoing remediation of the former Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant site in Johnson County. I had previously questioned Army Secretary Mark Esper regarding the long-term clean-up efforts of the Sunflower site and this meeting was a productive discussion to help make certain progress remains on schedule for future land development. In addition to the Sunflower site, I also sought assurances that the Army is taking the necessary steps to protect the health and well-being of military families and children assigned to installations in Kansas.

Last week, in observance of Yom Kippur, the Senate suspended its mid-week business, allowing me extra time to return home to Kansas. To all those who recently participated in Yom Kippur, it is my hope that you had a peaceful fast and meaningful reflection.

Spending Time at the Boys and Girls Club of Lawrence
I visited with the Boys and Girls Club of Lawrence and toured their new facility, the Don and Beverly Gardner Center for Great Futures, which opened to club members earlier this month. During my visit with staff and board members, we discussed their efforts to serve area youth by promoting academic success, good character, citizenship and healthy lifestyles. We also discussed the organization’s close partnership with the Lawrence school district, and their advantageous co-location with the Peaslee Technical Training Center and the district’s Lawrence College and Career Center. Through experiences in organizations like the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, our state’s and country’s next generation of leaders are being equipped with the skills and values necessary to reach their full potential and find success. Thanks to CEO Colby Wilson and staff member Megan Hill for hosting me. A special thanks to Boys and Girls Club member, Eddieona, for leading my tour.

Addressing the Beloit Lions Club
I visited the Beloit Lions Club for its meeting at North Central Technical College. I appreciate the Beloit Lions Club for allowing me to meet with the group and helping me make up one of my many Lions Club meeting absences from my home club in Hays. Our local communities are well-served by the support of Lions Club members. During my remarks, I reiterated my commitment to preserving communities like Beloit and Mitchell County for the next generation, and updated the group on work I’m doing on Kansans’ behalf in Washington. I appreciate the many questions that were raised and value the comments and suggestions offered by Lions Club members and their guests.

Discussing Healthcare at Kansas Hospitals
Newton Medical Center
In Newton, I toured Newton Medical Center, a 103-bed facility that serves the residents of Harvey County and the surrounding area. On our tour, I visited with a number of healthcare providers to talk about current issues in healthcare and the challenges they face every day in caring for Kansans. I appreciate being able to visit these professionals in their facilities, where I can see the impact that a number of decisions we make in Washington have on their work. On the tour, I was pleased to visit different areas of the facility – including the emergency department, the wound and hyperbaric center and the lab. In the emergency department, visited the new satellite office for the Newton Police Department. This innovative office helps improve the link between healthcare professionals and police officers to mitigate violence and conflict in the hospital. Thank you to Newton Medical Center CEO Vallerie Gleason for leading the tour and to Kansas Hospital Association CEO Tom Bell, Newton Police Chief Eric Murphy and Newton City Manager Bob Myers for joining my visit. Click here to read more about my visit in The Newton Kansan.


Smith County Memorial Hospital
I visited Smith County Memorial Hospital, just over a month after the grand opening of its new facility. I enjoyed touring the new, state-of the art hospital and hearing from healthcare providers, hospital leadership and community stakeholders. Rural healthcare facilities face many challenges as they work to provide care for those in our state. I appreciated hearing firsthand from these individuals about how I can assist them as they continue to serve Kansans in a way that benefits both patients and providers. Thank you to Smith County Memorial Hospital CEO Allen Van Driel for leading our tour and to various hospital and community leaders for joining us, including; Smith Center Economic Development Director Stacy Schulte, Smith County Commissioner Art Befort, Smith Center Chamber of Commerce Member Lori Bortz, Smith County Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees Member Bret Strine, QUALICB Board Member & GPHA Board Member John Terrill, and Smith Center Economic Development Board Member Kaden Roush.


Continuing my Kansas Listening Tour
After this week’s townhall meetings, I have now held 101 townhalls this Congress and 1,308 total since I was first elected to Congress. I look forward to visiting with many Kansans in the coming weeks during the next leg of my Kanas Listening Tour.

Kingman County
Thanks to the many Kingman County residents who took time to visit with me in Norwich, and to Brian Lichlier for opening up the Alamo community meeting building, where attendees came to discuss national security, healthcare and health insurance, trade and tariffs, immigration, the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran deal, education and student debt.

Thanks to Norwich Mayor Jerry Power for his introduction and welcome. It was nice to see the Norwich High School senior government class at the townhall, as well.

Harper County
I visited Anthony in Harper County as part of my Kansas Listening Tour, where I had the chance to visit with local residents about current issues and the work I’m doing in the Senate, including immigration, the need for vocational education, the lack of bipartisanship in Congress and the need for decorum, and water conservation efforts.

Thank you to the Anthony Kiwanis Club for opening up their meeting to allow the public join in on the townhall and to Mayor Greg Cleveland for attending.

Barber County
Next, I visited Medicine Lodge, where I visited with community members, business owners, and local and county leaders. Thanks to the many individuals who took time to visit with me, including those at the County Clerk’s Office, the County Treasurer’s Office, the Register of Deeds, the People’s Bank, Hibbard’s Health Mart, Lincoln Library, USD 254 and the USDA Service Center.

Pratt County
I appreciate the many folks in Pratt County who attended my townhall meeting to talk about current issues important to Kansas and our nation. Our discussion included a number of topics, particularly on the importance of supporting vocational and technical education. Additionally, we spoke about protecting agriculture and the rural way of life, I heard concerns about water conservation and groundwater management, as well as ongoing trade disputes, tariffs, and the need for broadband in rural Kansas.  Thanks to Pratt Community College (PCC) for hosting my visit and to PCC President Dr. Michael Calvert for sharing an update on current activity at PCC and for attending my townhall meeting.

Marion County
I concluded this series of townhalls in Marion on Saturday, where I had the chance to visit with local residents about a number of items including access to rural broadband, education and folks’ desire to keep important decision-making on the local and state level. We also discussed challenges facing our farmers and ranchers, especially that of mental health and suicide, veterans healthcare and the VA MISSION Act, military preparedness, the Kavanaugh nomination and issues in healthcare. Individuals were interested in discussing the ongoing trade and tariff issues and echoed the negative affects it is having on our agricultural and manufacturing industries. I appreciate the many residents who took time to attend my townhall meeting and I also thank Marion Mayor Todd Heitschmidt, former Hillsboro Mayor Delores Dalke and former State Representative Bob Brookens for attending my meeting.

Touring Farrar Corporation Foundry in Norwich
Following my townhall meeting in Norwich, I visited Farrar Corporation's Foundry. Farrar is a family-owned business that is currently in its third generation of ownership. Over the years, Farrar has become nationally recognized for providing specialized finish machined products, as well as ductile iron castings and assemblies, and the company supports numerous Kansas jobs through its operations in both Norwich and Manhattan. Special thanks to CEO Joe Farrar for my tour and to various employees for hosting me on Thursday. Thanks also to Norwich Mayor Jerry Power for joining our tour.

Hosting the Service Academy Interview and Selection Day
On Saturday hosted his annual U.S. Service Academy Interview Day in Abilene. Throughout the day, prospective candidates interviewed with Sen. Moran’s Service Academy Selection Board, who will submit recommendations to Sen. Moran on who he should nominate to the United States Service Academies. These include the U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Air Force Academy and U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.

Service Academy Interview Day has consistently been one of my favorites, and the responsibility of nominating young men and women to our nation’s service academies is a task I take very seriously. The individuals we interview represent some of the best, brightest and most dedicated young people our state has to offer. Their willingness and desire to serve our country and attend such rigorous institutions is inspiring and makes me optimistic for the future of our country.

If nominated by Sen. Moran, applicants must then meet the individual admission requirements of each academy. The academies will make the final decision on who will receive an appointment of admission in early 2019. Those selected will enter the academies in June 2019. 

Now Accepting Spring Internship Applications
My own interest in public service was sparked by an internship for Kansas First District Congressman Keith Sebelius in 1974. As an intern, I had the chance to learn firsthand how a Congressional office operates and how the legislative process works. I am proud to be able to offer this same opportunity in my Senate office today, where I have interns year-round working closely with my staff on behalf of Kansans.

Applications for internships in my Washington, D.C. and Kansas offices for Spring 2018 are due Friday, October 19. Congressional internships are open to qualified undergraduate and graduate students who have an interest in public service and have achieved academic excellence. Click here for more information.

Kansans in the Office

Health Resources and Services Administration
Dr. Jodie Wing Lee of Kansas City

Jarrod Bartlett of Wichita
Patrick Newhold of Wichita

National Society of Professional Engineers
Tom Roberts of Manhattan
Karen Roberts of Manhattan

Captain Neuhold of Pratt      

Torrey & Associates
Barbara Patterson of Wamego
Mike Torrey of Wamego

Capitol Tour
Garry Denny of Newton
Tammy Denny of Newton
Jeffrey Tibbitts of Goddard
Audie Vicars of Newton
Kevin Vicars of Newton
Tina Vicars of Newton
Tony Paolucci of Wichita
Jeremy Wilson of Manhattan
Mandy Wilson of Manhattan
Parker Wilson of Manhattan

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.

Very truly yours,

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