Kansas Common Sense
Jan 24 2011
This Week in Congress
By U.S. Senator Jerry Moran
January 24, 2011
Welcome to “This Week in Congress.” The Senate has been out of session this past week, so I have been visiting with Kansans across our great state. Thank you for coming out to town hall meetings, giving me tours of your businesses, and allowing me to attend your classes and meetings. If our paths haven’t crossed yet and you would like to send me a message, please visit my website: https://www.moran.senate.gov. You can also click here if you would like to see a map of where in Kansas I traveled over the last two weeks.
Tomorrow, I will be back in Washington, D.C. as the Senate reconvenes and President Obama delivers his State of the Union address.
Honoring Martin Luther King Jr.’s Legacy
On Monday, I was privileged to attend the 18th annual community celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday in Topeka. The special program was held at the Highland Park United Methodist Church and featured the El Shaddai and Shawnee Heights High School choirs. Dr. Cheryl Brown Henderson was the guest speaker, and serves as Founder, President and CEO of the Brown Foundation for Educational Equity, Excellence and Research. Dr. Henderson is also the daughter of Oliver Brown, who was the plaintiff in the monumental case, Brown v. Board of Education, filed in 1951. Her speech highlighted the crucial role Kansans played in the civil rights movement, and how the youth of today have the power to shape our great state and country. Special thanks to Rev. Lynn Lamberty, pastor of Highland Park United Methodist Church, for his hospitality, and to Jim McCollough of the “Whose Dream Is It?” coalition for organizing the event.
Annual Listening Tour Continues
Jefferson County tour stop
I continued my statewide listening tour this week in Jefferson, Leavenworth and Atchison counties to meet with Kansans. On Tuesday morning, I was joined by Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins in Oskaloosa to visit with Jefferson County residents. I appreciated hearing the concerns of many Kansans about the recent health care law, current immigration policy, and the tax and regulatory burden upon businesses. I would also like to thank several local officials for joining me in Oskaloosa, including Jefferson County Commissioner Lynn Luck, Jefferson County Sherriff Jeff Herrig, Mayor Charles Stutesman of Valley Falls and Jefferson County Treasurer Mary Underwood.
Leavenworth County tour stop
In Leavenworth County, about 50 residents joined me at the Lansing Community Center on Tuesday afternoon. I appreciated hearing their thoughts on a variety of topics, including our country’s national security strategy, the ongoing struggle in Afghanistan, and our nation’s immigration policy. Many residents also had concerns about our federal government’s spending habits. I share their concerns and strongly believe we must reduce this out-of-control spending, which jeopardizes the prosperity of future generations who will have to pay for our irresponsibility. A special thanks to Mayor Ken Bernard of Lansing, Councilmember Jim Washington of Basehor and Leavenworth County Commissioner Janet Labbee-Holdeman for taking the time to join me in Lansing.
Atchison County tour stop
I also joined residents in Atchison on Tuesday at the historically restored Santa Fe Depot for my Atchison County tour stop. Atchison residents also voiced their concerns about the federal government’s spending habits and the need to rein in that spending. Special thanks to City Manager Trey Cocking and the Atchison Chamber for hosting me. Thanks also to Rick Berger and Jacque Pregont for helping with the arrangements for the visit.
Visiting Olathe Rotary Club
As a fellow Rotarian, I appreciated the opportunity to speak with members of the Olathe Rotary Club and thank them for the service they provide to their community, especially through their partnership with Heart to Heart International. Dr. Gary Morsch, a member of the Olathe Rotary Club, founded Heart to Heart with the goal of helping millions of people each year through humanitarian initiatives. This organization has helped communities all over the world, including the community of Greensburg in our state, which was devastated by a tornado in 2007. Thanks to several local officials for joining me at the meeting, including Johnson County Commissioners Calvin Hayden and Michael Ashcraft; Olathe City Councilmen Ron Ryckman and Larry Campbell, and Lenexa Mayor Mike Boehm. Thanks also to President Nichole Asquith for hosting me and to newly appointed Kansas Secretary of Labor Karin Brownlee for inviting me to attend.
Meeting with Kansas Legislators
Earlier this week I was in Topeka and had the chance to meet with members of the Kansas legislature at an event hosted by the Kansas Livestock Association. I was pleased to have the opportunity to visit with state representatives and senators from across the state. As a former state legislator, I enjoyed discussing a range of issues with them that affect all Kansans. Often, from both Kansans and state legislators, I hear how burdensome federal agencies and regulations can be for businesses trying to create jobs and economic opportunity for themselves and their communities. I heard the same message from the more than 60 state legislators in attendance, as well as Lt. Governor Jeff Colyer and State Treasurer Ron Estes. Thanks to the Kansas Livestock Association for hosting this event and providing me an opportunity to meet with members of our state legislature.
Meeting with Members of Kansas Association of Counties
On Tuesday evening, I was pleased to stop by and visit briefly with members of the Kansas Association of Counties (KAC) in Topeka. I particularly enjoyed hearing an update from State Senator Tim Owens, Chairman of the Judiciary Committee and representative of the Eight District in the Kansas Senate. I look forward to spending more time with the KAC members when they come to Washington, D.C. in a few months for their annual trip.
Visiting the Northwest Kansas Family Shelter in Hays
On Friday I had the opportunity to visit the Northwest Kansas Family Shelter in Hays. This facility is under the direction of Northwest Kansas Domestic and Sexual Violence Services (NKDSVS), a non-profit organization working to end the trauma of sexual or domestic violence in the 18 counties of Northwest Kansas and beyond. Thankfully, we have made progress in raising awareness of domestic violence and providing assistance to its victims. However, there is still much to be done. Too often we think an act of domestic violence does not occur on our street, in our hometown, or to people and families that we know – but no street, community or hometown is immune. Thank you to NKDSVS Executive Director Charlotte Lisner, Economic Justice Coordinator Judy Walker and Daniel Blake – youth advisory and outreach service director – for the invitation and tour. I truly appreciated the opportunity to visit with staff and residents, and see first-hand the great need NKDSVS works to fulfill in rural Kansas.
Watching the Jayhawks Host the Longhorns in Lawrence
On Saturday, I visited Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence to watch the KU men’s basketball team take on the University of Texas Longhorns. I enjoyed the opportunity to visit with Kansas fans and take in an exciting game in one of college basketball’s most exciting venues. While the outcome was disappointing, I commend the players and coach Bill Self for a hard-fought game. The Jayhawks are now 17-1 on the season and will host the Kansas State Wildcats on Saturday in Lawrence.
In the Office
Tom Bell and Fred Lucky with the Kansas Hospital Association were in to visit about Medicare regulations affecting Kansas hospitals. Several Kansans were also in with the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers to discuss the organization’s priorities for 2011 in regard to farm, trade and environmental policy. They included David Schemm of Sharon Springs, Gary Millershaski of Lakin, Paul Penner of Hillsboro and Dalton Henry of Manhattan.
Dr. Saeid Sajadi of Overland Park and Dr. Gary Morsch of Olathe were in to talk about the humanitarian situation at Camp Ashraf in Iraq. Cristina Seda-Hoelle, new Plant Leader of the GE Engine Services Strother facility, stopped in to update me on GE’s work in Winfield. YRC Worldwide’s Vice President of External Affairs Mike Kelley, and Vice President of Contract Administration Tom Ventura of Overland Park, also came in to talk about pension plans in the freight industry and pending pension reform legislation. Finally, Craig Stramel of Hays stopped by to discuss his experience serving in the Peace Corps in Ukraine.
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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