Kansas Common Sense


Welcome to “Kansas Common Sense.” Thanks for your continued interest in receiving my weekly newsletter.

Surprising Dr. Barry Flinchbaugh at K-State
I made a surprise visit to Dr. Barry Flinchbaugh’s Agriculture Policy class at Kansas State University on Monday. Every year I look forward to connecting with this group of students that represent the future of agriculture in Kansas and the world. Dr. Flinchbaugh continues to be an integral contributor to the development of agriculture policy, having assisted in every farm bill since 1968. I enjoyed being able to tell students about my role as Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture and the important work of advocating for Kansas farmers and ranchers to my urban counterparts. Thank you to Dr. Flinchbaugh and his students for a great conversation!

Stopping in Northeast Kansas
I spent time in northeast Kansas on Monday to visit businesses and local services in Beattie and join my fellow Rotarians for lunch in Marysville. I had conversations with friendly Beattie residents at United Bank and Trust, the Beattie Farmers Union Co-op, Blue Valley Telecommunications and the post office. My next stop was at Toledo’s Coffee and Deli in Marysville to attend Marysville Rotary Club. Thanks to Club President Candace Wright and the members for the warm welcome.

I joined members of the Hiawatha Lions Club on Tuesday for lunch, where I got an update on the club and its activities, as well as the latest on what’s going on in Hiawatha. I appreciated the warm welcome from the members I met. Thanks to District Governor Linda Leander of Assaria for sharing great information with me. Lions, we serve!

Meeting with Pottawatomie County Residents & Touring KanEquip
I took a tour of KanEquip, Inc., which provides agricultural and light industrial equipment to farmers and ranchers with locations throughout the state and one in Nebraska. While there on Wednesday afternoon I was joined by community leaders Jim Meinhardt, Doyle Pearl and Terry Force to discuss some of the transportation issues impacting locals in the area and the importance of infrastructure investment with particular concerns about weight restrictions on the Belvue Bridge. Thanks to Jim, Doyle and Terry for sharing their perspective with me. 

Visiting High Schools in Winchester, Atchison, McPherson, Lyons, Ellinwood and Stockton
I visited three Kansas high schools this week to meet with students, teachers and administrators and get updates on the work being done in schools across our state to prepare our young people for future success.

Jefferson County North High School (JCNHS)
I met with JCNHS Principal Joe Worthington and student council representatives who gave me a tour of their school Tuesday afternoon and shared their perspectives on the issues that impact their lives. They had thoughtful questions about work in the Senate and we discussed the importance of higher education. I was glad to hear that students and teachers spent the morning carrying out a community service project to help their neighbors. My thanks to all who met with me – to the students for their efforts to learn and to the faculty and administrators working hard to have a positive impact on Kansas students.

Atchison High School
Students at Atchison High shared with me their high school experiences and talked about the school’s sports programs and how their extracurricular activities are shaping their post-graduation plans. Thanks to Principal Bryon Hanson for hosting me.

McPherson High School
During my stop at McPherson High School, I met with students and teachers who shared with me the success of their “Trick or Treat So Kids Can Eat” philanthropic campaign to encourage young people to give back to their community. Thank you to Principal Brad Plackemeier and Mayor Tom Brown for hosting me.

Lyons High School
In Lyons, I met with Principal Kelly Nusser and student council representatives who gave me a tour of their school and shared their perspectives on the issues that impact their lives. They had thoughtful questions and shared some of their future plans. My thanks to all who took time out of their day to meet with me.

Ellinwood High School
Students at Ellinwood High School shared with me their high school experiences and talked about the school’s sports programs and what they are preparing for after graduation. Thanks to Principal Karen Kline for hosting me.

Stockton High School
I met with the school principal and with a number of students during my stop at Stockton High School. I appreciate the effort of all the educators and administrators at Stockton High School working to help Kansas students have bright futures. Thank you Superintendent Shelly Swayne for arranging my visit.

Taking a Trip Down Main Street in Hoisington
I stopped in Hoisington on Thursday to visit some of the local businesses that Barton County residents depend on, including Manweiler Chevrolet (Gene Manweiller is pictured) and Deception Outdoors (Grant Doyle is pictured). I also visited the site of the new elementary school under construction. Thanks to Hoisington Chamber of Commerce Vice President Kristi Lovett for showing me around town.

Visiting Plainville Residents
I felt at home in Plainville Friday afternoon stopping in to visit some of the community's local businesses. I heard from many of the residents about the challenges facing families and businesses in the area with current oil and ag prices. Excitement was high to watch the Plainville Cardinals, who are 8-1 this season, take on the Elkhart Wildcats Friday night in the first round playoff game. I went to Rooks County Medical Center, Coffeyville Resources, Dessin-Fournier Furniture, City Hall, Memorial Library, Midwest Community Bank, the Recreation Commission, American Family Insurance, Stan's Barber Shop and Short Stop. My thanks to those who shared their thoughts with me.

Joining the Russell Pancake Feed
My last stop of the day on Thursday was at the Russell Kiwanis Club’s 65th annual Pancake Feed at the 4-H Building. It was great to catch up with old friends and meet some new residents. Proceeds from the event support local youth projects – I look forward to seeing how all the community support will make a difference for young people in Russell. 

Visiting Community Colleges in Highland and Barton Counties
Highland Community College
At Highland Community College on Wednesday, I asked the students I met about the quality of their education and which extracurricular activities they enjoyed most. I also visited the viticulture program where I heard about the wine making process. Thanks to President David Reist for hosting me.

Barton Community College
During my stop at Barton County Community College, I had the opportunity to meet with President Dr. Carl Heilman and student representatives who highlighted the evolving ways they are learning through online course offerings and hybrid classes. In addition to providing a resource for online learning that benefits students in the surrounding areas, Barton has service locations at Fort Riley and Fort Leavenworth where it provides training to military members. My thanks to BCCC President Dr. Carl Heilman for the informative tour.

Attending Funeral Services for Chardell Parke
I attended funeral services for Chardell Parke in Hays on Friday morning. Chardell will long be remembered for her many years of service and leadership in the Hays Community through her work in health care and education. She served on the a number of boards in the area in including the USD 489 Board of Education, the Head Start Advisory Board, the Barton County Community College Medical Laboratory Technology Advisory Board and the Northwest Kansas Technical College Medical Assistant Advisory Board. She had a positive influence in the lives of countless others through teaching in the health care field at the Hays Pathology Laboratory School of Medical Technology. I am thankful to have known Chardell during her life, and I am thankful I was able to attend the services. Robba and I will be keeping Chardell’s husband, Patrick, and her family and friends in our prayers.

Cheering on the Jayhawks and Ichabods
It was good to be back at Allen Fieldhouse on Wednesday to watch two great basketball teams: the University of Kansas Jayhawks and the Washburn University Ichabods. Listening to KU freshman Gracen Gueldner before the game, it was impossible not to get excited for this season!

Kansans in the Office
Grifols Biopharma
Dane Christiansen of Topeka

Jim Nelson of Liberal
Claudia McGinness of Wichita
Parry Briggs of Manhattan
Jeana Hultquist of Bonner Springs

Gina Bowman of Kansas City
Susan Ball of Kansas City

Kansas City Federal Reserve
Diane Raley of Overland Park

Capitol Tour
Stephen Ermgodts of Overland Park
Elizabeth Ermgodts of Overland Park
Alexander Ermgodts of Overland Park
Ella Ermgosts of Overland Park
Sophie Ermgodts of Overland Park
David Frizzell of Lawrence
Nancy Bara of Wichita
Ami Larrea of Wichita
Jeff Thompson of Scandia
Dane Thompson of Scandia
Boon Thompson of Scandia
Reagan Thompson of Scandia
Scott King of Prairie Village
Sandra King of Prairie Village
Linda Eagleton of Leawood
Mark Eagleton of Leawood
Sydney Taylor of Lenexa
Andrew Taylor of Lenexa
Nancy Bara of Wichita
Ami Larrea of Wichita

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.

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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