Kansas Common Sense


Welcome to “Kansas Common Sense.” Thanks for your continued interest in receiving my weekly newsletter. Robba and I were saddened to learn about tragic passing of 10-year-old Caleb Schwab in Kansas City over the weekend. Please keep Kansas Representative Scott Schwab and his wife Michele in your prayers during this difficult time.

During the state work period, one of the issues that comes up at nearly every Kansas Listening Tour stop is the threat of the Zika virus. I’m frustrated the Senate failed to come together earlier this summer to support the $1.1 billion funding bill, which would have provided our nation’s experts with additional resources to combat the virus. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell confirmed on Wednesday that money to combat Zika in the United States will be exhausted by the end of September. I take the defense of our country from dangerous diseases and viruses seriously, and I’m hopeful the House and Senate will come together in the coming weeks to protect Americans.

Caring for Veterans at All Stages of Life
I joined Kansas veterans and the dedicated staff of the Sunflower Memory Center at the Topeka VA Medical Center this week. Sunflower Memory Center provides specialized care for vets with memory-related conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Studies show that veterans who have suffered head injuries during service are at an increased risk for developing dementia, and it is critical that we are able to provide the care they need. I’m pleased that the VA is working to provide that care with centers like the Sunflower Memory Center, which just opened last year. We must uphold the promise we made to care for our nation’s veterans who sacrificed for our freedoms.

Animal Health Corridor Business Visit
I stopped by the Merck Animal Health facility in De Soto to learn about the company’s research, development and manufacturing of ruminant, swine and equine products on Tuesday. As Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, this visit was useful for me to learn about Merck’s relationship with regulators in the USDA and FDA and to hear their insight on how industry and government can work together to drive innovation in animal health. We also discussed how Merck and other companies in the region’s Animal Health Corridor are in need of more employees with strong STEM backgrounds. We need to enable Kansas kids interested in pursuing careers in STEM to get the education they need and start a career right here at home and I was glad to learn that Merck sees themselves as having a role to play in this effort. Thanks to Katie Oppenheim for coordinating my visit and to Scott Bormann and the Merck team in De Soto for hosting me.

Promoting Reading Among Young Kansans
I was in Wichita this week to participate in the 2016 Kansas Reading Roadmap (KRR) Kickoff Conference. KRR serves a diverse population of more than 12,000 children in rural and urban communities to make certain all elementary school students achieve third grade reading proficiency. It was an honor to present the KRR School of the Year award to Fairfield Elementary, which is located in Langdon. I appreciated this video they made to thank me for my support, but the thanks really belongs with Superintendent Nathan Reed, Principal Betsy McKinney and Program Coordinator Kate Combs for working so hard on behalf of their students.

Touring Intouch Solutions in Overland Park
I was in Overland Park on Monday to visit Intouch Solutions and their team of experts in digital marketing. During my visit, I had the chance to experience a state-of-the-art virtual reality marketing tool and learn about the innovative approach Intouch has to the development of marketing strategy. I heard from CEO Faruk Capan about the company's entrepreneurial beginnings in 1999 and the significant growth they've experienced over the past fifteen years. Entrepreneurial success stories like Intouch are critical to jumpstarting our economy and creating opportunity in Kansas and the nation. To read more, click here.

Lawrence-area Business Visit
I was in Lawrence Tuesday to visit General Dynamics Information Technology’s (GDIT) facility that employs as many as 1,000 Kansans seasonally. GDIT provides IT, systems engineering and other professional services to customers around the world. IT solutions improve systems’ efficiency and effectiveness and are critical to the success of the businesses and initiatives that rely on them. I appreciated hearing about the company’s relationship with the University of Kansas and was glad to greet GDIT employees who were gathered to provide feedback on the company’s operations. Thanks to the GDIT team for hosting me, and to Lawrence Mayor Mike Amyx and Lawrence Chamber of Commerce President Larry McElwain for joining the visit.

Learning More About Flood Insurance
I visited Aon National Flood Services this week in Overland Park. Aon employs more than 250 Kansans at its Overland Park facility where they administer and manage millions of flood insurance policies across the country. Our conversation about the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) provided me with helpful insight as to how flood insurance regulations affect their day-to-day operations and the program’s impact on policyholders. As a member of the Senate Banking Committee, which has jurisdiction over the NFIP, I appreciate having the opportunity to learn more about how this program is administered nationwide.

Kansans in the Office
Mary Tolar of Manhattan
David Murfin of Wichita
Annie Humphrey of Stilwell

Capitol Tour
Daniel Tran of Wichita
Cynthia Tran of Wichita
Salene Tran of Wichita
Samantha Tran of Wichita
Shania Tran of Wichita
Stanley Tran of Wichita
Michael Lucas of Topeka
Daniel Forrest of Topeka
Brendan Forrest of Topeka
Donna Maska of Hays
Max Dhooghe of Parsons
Cindy Dhooghe of Parsons
Wilfred Leiker of Hays
Eileen Leiker of Hays
Kristopher Kessler of Hiawatha
Elaine Kessler of Hiawatha
Luke Kessler of Hiawatha
Alyssa Kessler of Hiawatha
Klara Kessler of Hiawatha
Luke Kessler of Hiawatha
Roger Koehn of Burns
Geneva Koehn of Burns
John Mauer of Overland Park
Mary Mauer of Overland Park
Josh Mauer of Overland Park
Mary Mauer of Overland Park
Jason McCollough of Manhattan
Monique McCollough of Manhattan
Kayla McCollough of Manhattan
Madelyn McCollough of Manhattan
Jacob McCollough of Manhattan
William Koppers of Leawood
Mary Koppers of Leawood
Melissa Koppers of Leawood
Michael Schrage of Salina
Mary Schrage of Salina
Emily Schrage of Salina
Sarah Schrage of Salina
Andrew Schrage of Salina
Ashley Schrage of Salina
Robert Rojas of Overland Park
Patti Rojas of Overland Park
Nick Mueting of Dodge City
Paula Mueting of Dodge City
Andrew Mueting of Dodge City
Cara Mueting of Dodge City

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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