Kansas Common Sense
Welcome to “Kansas Common Sense.” Thank you 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.
Voting to End Gridlock in Washington
Last week, I voted in favor of the Senate plan to end gridlock in Washington. I share Kansans’ frustration with Washington’s habit of crisis-to-crisis governing. This latest standoff offered a rare opportunity for Congress and the President to change course, make real reductions in spending, lower federal deficits, and address the unfunded liabilities that threaten U.S. solvency. Unfortunately, none of that happened.
The American government should never default on its debt obligations, but unless we find the courage to restrain our country’s out-of-control spending, that’s exactly what will happen.
This deal calms fear of default for now, but we must take advantage of the next 90 days to finally get our spending under control. Without action to begin addressing our staggering debt and deficits, our country will inevitably default in the future because we will no longer have the ability to pay our bills.
It’s a sad day in America when Washington must choose between economic catastrophe now and economic catastrophe later. A better way does exist, and I pray Washington will muster the discipline to pursue it.
U.N. Arms Trade Treaty Update
Last month, the Obama Administration signed the United States on to the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). This action was a direct dismissal of the bipartisan Senate opposition that has vocally disapproved of this dangerous treaty for years. As I shared with you in KCS a few weeks back, a bipartisan coalition of 50 Senators joined me in sending a message to President Obama and Secretary Kerry to again warn them of the irresponsible nature of this treaty. Our letter also served as a reminder of the ATT’s impossible prospects for ratification by the U.S. Senate. I will continue to work to make certain this treaty is never implemented or allowed to threaten our constitutional freedoms or American sovereignty. Click here to read the letter in its entirety.
Will Swenson Medal of Honor
On Tuesday, former Army Captain Will Swenson received our nation’s highest honor, the Medal of Honor. On Sept. 8, 2009, in Ganjgal, Afghanistan, Capt. Swenson saved numerous lives after his team was ambushed by insurgents in an attack killing and wounding a number of U.S. servicemen and Afghan soldiers. At the time of his selfless acts, Will was deployed from Fort Riley and wore the 1st ID badge as a member of a Military Transition Team working with Afghan soldiers. For almost two years, I asked about Will’s nomination with the Department of the Army and the White House to make certain he was justly recognized for his honorable acts. Much time has passed, but I’m happy to see that Will’s nomination has finally received Presidential attention and he is getting the recognition he deserves. Will is the sixth living service member to receive the nation’s top valor award for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan — he is truly an American hero. Click here to learn more about Will’s story.
Allen County Regional Hospital Opening
It’s great to be back in Kansas, and Friday I helped the Allen County Regional Hospital (ACRH) celebrate its grand opening. The new, 60,000 square foot facility replaces the aging downtown hospital which was constructed in 1951. ACRH is a 25-bed Critical Access Hospital and in addition to a variety of services offered, it provides improved access as a one-story building featuring a helipad for air-ambulance service.
The completion of ACRH is promising for the future of Iola and Allen County. Thanks to Karen Gilpin and David Wright for giving me a tour of the new facility, and congratulations to the Chairman Harry Lee, Jr. and the Hospital Facilities Commission on a job well done. Click here to see a photo from the event.
Burlington Northern Santa Fe’s Intermodal Facility Grand Opening
My first top back in Kansas was in Johnson County, to speak at the grand opening of Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF)’s new Intermodal Facility. As one of Johnson County’s largest economic development projects ever, the $250 million, 440-acre facility will provide businesses with a direct connection to the global supply chain via the BNSF’s transcontinental railroad that begins in California and terminates in Chicago. It will also provide companies with the ability to quickly ship goods by rail and truck to their final destinations, as well as create thousands of jobs for Kansans. A special thanks to the state, county and city leaders who partnered together to provide infrastructure around the facility including a new diverging diamond interchange at I-35 and Homestead Lane. Through these partnerships and the project they allow opportunities for jobs for Kansans and economic benefits to the communities and state. Thank you to Matt Rose Chairman and CEO, BNSF Railway and Carl Ice President and COO, BNSF Railway for their hospitality.
Lions Club Pancake Feed in Manhattan
Saturday morning, it was great to see Manhattanites and fellow Lions Club members at their annual pancake feed. In addition to great food and company, Lions Club had free mobile health screenings and the Kansas Quality Woodworkers had an arts and crafts show with more than 20 booths. Thanks to the local Lions Clubs members for hosting a great event. Click here to see a photo.
Lions Clubs International is the world’s largest service club organization with 1.35 million members in more than 45,000 clubs in 206 countries and geographic areas, including more than 270 clubs in Kansas. In addition to its efforts to conquer blindness, the organization has made a strong commitment to community service, disaster relief, and helping youth in Kansas and throughout the world.
Now Accepting Applications for Spring 2014 Internships
Congressional internships are a great way for Kansas students to learn about Congress and gain professional work experience. Having worked as a congressional intern myself, I know what a valuable experience it can be. Interns will gain a better understanding of the legislative process in the U.S. Congress, and develop knowledge and professional skills valuable to future career pursuits. I encourage anyone with an interest in government and public service to apply.
My office is now accepting applications for the spring semester. Completed applications must include a resume, cover letter, academic transcript and two letters of recommendation, and all parts must be submitted for consideration by November 1, 2013. Please visit the internship page on my website to apply or email email@example.com if you have any questions.
In the Office
Last week we had several visitors in the Washington, D.C., office, including the Kansans listed below:
Tim Speno of Hays
Jessica Speno of Hays
Anna Speno of Hays
Maggie Speno of Hays
Isabella Speno of Hays
Henry Speno of Hays
Carol Bain of Ness City
Humane Society of the United States
Chuck Laue of Leawood
Marcia Stambaugh of Topeka
Robert Stambaugh of Topeka
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.
Very truly yours,
Newsletter Sign-up Form
Note: Fields marked with an * are required.