Kansas Common Sense

Dear Friend,

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.

This week, the Senate passed HR. 3606, the JOBS bill by a vote of 73-26. This legislation, which passed the House of Representatives, last week will help start-up companies raise capital. I voted in favor of this bill and am encouraged by the fact that more members of Congress are realizing the virtues of entrepreneurs and startups and their ability to create jobs and spur the economy. 

Also this week, the Senate passed S. 2038, the STOCK Act, by a 96-3 vote. This legislation will prohibit Members of Congress from using nonpublic information derived from their official positions for personal benefit. Already passed by the House, the bill has been sent to President Obama for his signature. I supported this bill, as Members of Congress must abide by the same rules as all Americans.

Health Care Reform Two Years Later – Still Not Right for Kansas

Friday was the second anniversary of President Obama’s health care reform plan becoming law. And, beginning today, the U.S. Supreme Court is hearing arguments for three consecutive days over the constitutionality of the law. The President promised his health plan would lower health care costs and strengthen our health care system for millions of Americans. However, over the past two years, the widespread impact of the new law has become clear: it is making things worse. Health care costs are skyrocketing, access to quality care has been weakened, and many Americans will lose their current insurance coverage as a result of the law. 

I have serious concerns that the President’s health law will jeopardize access to quality health care for Kansans and threaten the survival of small towns. Instead of working to strengthen Medicare, the law cut the program by nearly $530 billion to create a new entitlement. These cuts disproportionately affect rural hospitals in Kansas and across the country because they care for a higher percentage of Medicare patients than their urban counterparts. If Medicare rates are cut even further below the actual cost of care, this will create shortages of doctors, nurses, and other providers. The President’s own chief Medicare actuary raised concerns that cuts to hospitals and other Medicare providers could cause as many as 40 percent of providers to become unprofitable. This will severely jeopardize access to care for Kansans in rural communities, where 75 percent of our hospitals are located.

We need to replace this damaging law with sensible, targeted reforms to drive down health care costs without hindering access to quality health care. This week I wrote an opinion piece outlining the reasons why the President’s health law is the wrong direction for Kansas and our country.. Click here to read my column.

On Wednesday, I also participated in a discussion on the Senate floor with several of my colleagues to share some of my concerns about the health law. Click here to watch my comments.

Senate Passes JOBS Act

            On Thursday, I supported passage of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, which will make it easier for entrepreneurs and small companies to raise capital needed for growth. I am pleased Democrats and Republicans were able to put their differences aside and pass this legislation. But with unemployment above 8 percent for the 37th straight month, Congress must do more. 

            Research shows that young companies less than five years old accounted for nearly all net job creation in the United States from 1980 to 2005. In fact, new businesses create about 3 million jobs each year. To get Americans back to work and to strengthen our economy, Congress needs to make it easier for entrepreneurs to start a business and for those new businesses to grow more quickly. That is why I introduced the Startup Act. It is based on a simple premise: the easier it is for creative individuals to take risks and start a business, the more jobs will be created. I am asking my colleagues to join me in supporting America’s job creators by passing the Startup Act. Click here to learn more about the Startup Act.

Introducing the Second Amendment Sovereignty Act

I introduced legislation this week to protect the rights of American gun owners from being undermined by a United Nations Arms Trade Treaty. The Second Amendment Sovereignty Act would prohibit the Obama Administration from using the “voice, vote and influence” of the United States during Arms Trade Treaty negotiations to restrict in any way the Second Amendment rights of U.S. citizens, including regulation of civilian firearms and ammunition. 

In October of 2009 at the U.N., the Obama Administration reversed its previous position and voted for the United States to participate in negotiating the Arms Trade Treaty, purportedly to establish “common international standards for the import, export and transfer of conventional arms,” including tanks, helicopters and missiles. However, with regular calls to include civilian arms and ammunition within its scope, the Arms Trade Treaty could restrict the lawful ownership of firearms that Americans use to hunt, target shoot, and defend themselves. The Treaty is expected to be finalized in July 2012.

The Second Amendment Sovereignty Act ensures that our country’s sovereignty and firearm freedoms will not be infringed upon by an international organization made up of many countries with little respect for gun rights. Click here to read more about this legislation and my previous effort on this issue.


Blocking Overreaching DOL Farm Labor Rule

This week, Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) and I lead 38 of our Senate colleagues in introducing the Preserving America’s Family Farm Act, legislation to prevent the Department of Labor (DOL) from enforcing its controversial proposed restrictions on youth working on family farms. This legislation will not only preserve a cherished way of life, but it will prevent DOL’s vast overreach into the everyday lives of Americans, which should alarm more than just rural America. If these rules are allowed to move forward there is virtually nothing off limits when it comes to government intrusion into our lives. Rest assured, I will leave no stone unturned when it comes to preventing these rules from being implemented. Click here to read more.

Oversight of the CFTC’s Budget

On Wednesday I had the opportunity to question the Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) concerning his budget request for the fiscal year. In this time of tight financial constraints, it is critically important that every agency in the federal government evaluate how it can do more with less. In the specific case of the CFTC, I have expressed consistent concerns that the agency is engaging in discretionary regulation not called for by Congress. If not carefully considered, with extensive cost-benefit analysis, an errant or overly-broad rulemaking by the CFTC could result in a commercial firm or an agricultural producer paying for the mistakes of Wall Street. As the budget process continues to unfold over the coming months, I will continue to use my position on the Appropriations Committee to find savings where possible and make sure that government is smarter, not just bigger.

Small Business Hearing Entrepreneurship Ecosystem

On Thursday, I attended a Small Business Committee roundtable discussion on Small Business Investment Companies (SBIC) and their role in the entrepreneurship ecosystem. SBICs are privately-owned and managed investment firms licensed and regulated by the Small Business Administration (SBA) that provide venture capital to small businesses. The role of SBICs is to bridge the gap between entrepreneurs’ need for capital and traditional sources of financing. For every $1 an SBIC raises from a private investor, the SBA will typically provide $2 of debt capital. This funding helps young businesses during their crucial growth stages and, because the SBA collects sufficient fees from funds it invests in, the SBIC program is able to operate at zero cost to taxpayers. Currently, three SBICs are located in Kansas: MidStates Capital Fund (I and II) in Overland Park and Kansas Venture Capital of Leawood.

The bottom line for Americans is jobs, and SBICs created 61,000 jobs in the fiscal year 2011 – a total that has been steadily increasing the last few years. I am committed to finding ways to encourage job creation by small businesses, startups and entrepreneurs, and was pleased the Senate passed H.R. 3606, the JOBS Act, with strong bipartisan support this week. It is encouraging to see more members of Congress coming to the realization that in order to create jobs, we need to help entrepreneurs and strengthen the ability of startups to grow. 


Presenting Medals to Special Olympic Athletes in Hays

Last Sunday, I joined athletes, parents and volunteers at the annual Special Olympics Kansas Basketball and Cheerleading Tournament at the Gross Memorial Coliseum in Hays. The annual event draws hundreds of athletes and teams to compete in the state event. Following the competition, I had the privilege of presenting medals to the competing athletes and teams.

Since 1968, Special Olympics has empowered individuals with disabilities and given them confidence to face challenges in their daily lives. Through Special Olympics, athletes develop improved physical fitness and motor skills, greater self-confidence and a more positive self-image. Hays is in its 35th year of hosting the tournament.

As an honorary board member and long-time supporter of the Kansas Law Enforcement Torch Run – which raises funds to directly benefit the athletes of Special Olympics Kansas – I appreciated the opportunity to take part in an event that brings much deserved reward to its participants. Congratulations to all of the athletes who participated in this year’s tournament. Thank you to Sheila Rehder for inviting me to participate. Click here for photos.

 Presenting Medals to Special Olympic Athletes in Hays

Lunch with the Topeka Chamber

Before heading to the airport to catch a flight back to D.C. on Monday, I was able to stop for lunch with the Topeka Chamber. I appreciated the friendly setting with more than 20 of their members. During lunch we had a good conversation about the need for more common sense in Washington, especially the need for Washington to make it easier for small business owners and entrepreneurs to create jobs. Gasoline prices were also a topic of discussion and the need for our country to have a comprehensive energy policy that seeks to maximize our domestic resources. On a positive note, we also discussed the U.S. Postal Service’s (USPS) decision to expand their Central Repair Facility in Topeka. Originally the facility was in danger of closing completely, yet we worked with the Topeka Chamber to convince the USPS to keep the facility open, saving over 300 jobs. Additionally the facility will expand its operations, adding 150 new jobs. Again, thank you to the Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce and their members for lunch and a good conversation. Special thanks go to AT&T for hosting the lunch, as well as Curtis Sneden of Collective Brands for acting as the emcee. Click here to see a photo.

 Lunch with the Topeka Chamber

Visiting UPS in Lenexa

At the end of the week, I toured the UPS facility in Lenexa, KS, to learn about their operations and visit with employees. I enjoyed meeting Director of Operations Kim Wyant and managers John Jardes, Christi Wilson, Bret Holladay, Ernie Christie, Jerry Wassel, Jim Willson, Chris Thies and Steve Mitchell. During my visit I joined UPS employees for their daily sort meeting and learned how the drivers prep for the day. Thanks again to everyone at UPS Lenexa for being so welcoming.

State of the City Address

I also attended Olathe Mayor Mike Copeland’s State of the City Address hosted by the Olathe Chamber of Commerce. I enjoyed hearing about all the great developments taking place in the local community. Mayor Copeland reported that citizen satisfaction is at an all-time high, and among the top 5 percent in the nation based on ETC Citizen’s Satisfaction Survey. He honored Rep. Bob Montgomery for his 15 years of service as an Olathe Councilman before resigning to serve in the Kansas legislature. Mayor Copeland also presented the annual Cathedral Builder’s Award to Olathe residents Megan and Dale Duncan, parents of Army Specialist Spencer Duncan. Spc. Duncan was killed in action when his Chinook helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan last August. A special thank you to Mayor Mike Copeland for inviting me to the luncheon. Click here to see a photo.

Sen. Moran Attends State of the City Address in Olathe

Speaking to KFB Young Farmers & Ranchers

I was pleased to be in my hometown of Hays this weekend with the Kansas Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers (YF&R). YF&R is a group of young Farm Bureau members between the ages of 18 and 35 who get together to discuss the issues facing agriculture. The members are dedicated to developing their leadership skills and encouraging others to become actively involved in agriculture advocacy, promotion and education. During our time together we discussed the overreach of the federal government in regards to the proposed Department of Labor rules. It is great to see so many young Kansans working together for the future of Agriculture. Click here to see a photo from my visit.

Speaking to KFB Young Farmers & Ranchers

In the Office

This week we had several visitors in the Washington, D.C., office, including the Kansans listed below. Click here to view photos of some of the visits:

Kansas Small Business Development Center
Greg Panichello of Topeka
Anne Woods of Lawrence
Elisa Waldman of Overland Park

Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Greater Kansas City
Carolos Gomez of Topeka
Nilson Goez of Overland Park
Thomas Carignan of Kansas City

Kansas Emergency Management Association
Keith Haberer of Wichita
Doug Schmitt of Lawrence
Dan Robeson of Olathe
Brian Stone of Exter

National Association of State Treasurers
Ron Estes of Wichita
Derek Kreifels of Roeland Park

U.S. Canola Association
John Haas of Larned
Michael Stamm of Manhattan

Kansas Farmers Hosted by Oxfam
Gene Albers of Cunningham
Jackie Keller of Topeka
Jim French of Partridge

Secular Coalition for America
Michaelyn Everhart, Lawrence
Adam Brown, Shawnee

U.S. State Department Future Leaders Exchange
Anna Ignatova of Lyons
Kateryna Sazonova of Wichita

Christian Church of Kansas
Derrick Amend of Girard
Steven Basler of Rossville
Sara Kathleen Bazurto of Pittsburg
Dalton Chamblers of Clearwater
Seth Dills of Clearwater
Rachel Cooper of Atchinson
Miri Gordon of Pittsburg
Christian Malone of Ulysses
Kenneth Moranz of Atchison
Daniel Railsback of Neodesha
Sidney Rutland of Independence
Kelli Simpson of Wichita
Brian Thompson of Pittsburg
Geoffery Vaughn of Atchinson
Colin Wilson of Ulysses
Toni Friend of Atchison
Travis McKee of Pittsburg
Steve Martin of Topeka

National Bike Summit
Jeff Koenig of Manhattan
Mark Rainey of Kansas City
Dale Crawford of Olathe

South Central Kansas Economic Development
Bill Bolin of Wichita
Jill Nichols of Lyons

Phillips County Economic Development
Jeff Hofaker of Logan

Kansas Association for the Gifted, Talented and Creative
Peggy Thorpe of Wichita
Elaine Wellborn of Topeka 

American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science
Christine Winkel of Ashland
Suzanne Campbell of Liberal

Kansas Podiatric Medical Association
Corin Wilde of Pittsburg
Jeff Gogge of Independence

Kansas State University
Chuck Reagan of Manhattan

National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians
Connie Meyer of Greeley
Terry David of Lyons
Mark Willis of Newton
Christopher Way of Parsons

American Society of Hematology
Brea Lipe of Westwood 

Washburn University
Jerry Farley of Topeka
John Pinegar of Topeka 

National Association of Community Health Centers
David Sanford of Wichita
Connie Hubbell of Topeka
Susette Schwartz of Wichita
Mike Lopez of Emporia
Cathy Harding of Topeka
Paula Martin of Emporia
Phillip Davis of Emporia
Bryan Brady of Hays

State of Kansas
Lt. Governor Jeff Colyer of Topeka
Kari Bruffett of Topeka

America's Promise Alliance
Nancy Volpe of Overland Park

Catholic Charities USA
Karen Hauser of Salina
Jan Lewis of Overland Park

American Astronomical Society
Brian Thomas of Topeka
Austin Harper of Wichita 

Nick Powell and Family
Nick Powell of Fairway

Kansas Army National Guard – Flag Presentation
Connie Thompson of Wichita
David Thompson of Wichita
Alexa Thompson of Wichita

Hawker Beechcraft
Doug Scott of Wichita
Lynn Roberts of Wichita

South Central Kansas Economic Development
Bill Bolin of Wichita

National Association of Convenience Stores
Jeff Parker of Hutchinson

Kansas Bank Commissioner
Ed Splichal of Topeka
Judi Stork of Topeka 

Pat Doran of Topeka

Phillips County Economic Development
Jeff Hofaker of Logan

Kansas Credit Union
Lee Williams of Wichita
Jane Hammil of Wichita
Greg Winkler of Topeka
Glen Scott of Topeka
Don Homan of Leavenworth
Raymond Stroud of Wichita
Pat Falter of Hutchinson
Garth Strand of Hutchinson
Haley DaVee of Topeka
Marla Marsh of Topeka
Robert Reeves of Manhattan
John Beverlin of Lenexa
Molly Homan of Lenexa
Wade Bruendle of Wichita
Marci Johnson of Wichita
Duane VanCamp of Wichita
Jim Holt of Wichita 

Kansas Housing Resources Corporation
James Behan of Topeka

Kansas Bankers Association
Chuck Stone of Girard
John Lehman of Girard
Frank Carson of Mulvane
John Boyer of Kingman
Earl McVicker of Hutchinson
Jeannette Richardson of Hutchinson
Jim Richards of Hutchinson
Frank Carson of Mulvane
Lyndy Wells of Wichita
Mark Larabee of Overland Park
Kent Needham of Overbrook
Clark Boyer of Kingman

Kansas Credit Union
Mike Welli of Wichita
Rick Dixson of Wichita
Mary Miller of Topeka
Rick Blue of Augusta
Bob Church of Augusta
Priscilla All of Augusta
Deann Korte of Augusta
Paul Oliver of Augusta
Adam Spickler of Augusta
John Davis of Wichita
Mike Greene of Wichita
Dwight Greenlee of Wichita
Lee Williams of Wichita
Jane Hammil of Wichita
Greg Winkler of Topeka
Glen Scott of Topeka
Don Homan of Leavenworth
Raymond Stroud of Garden City
Pat Falter of Hutchinson
Garth Strand of Hutchinson
Haley DaVee of Topeka
Marla Marsh of Wichita
Robert Reeves of Manhattan
John Beverlin of Overland Park
Molly Homan of Overland Park
Wade Bruendl of Wichita
Bob Corwin of Wichita
Ken Greteman of Wichita
Duane VanCamp of Wichita
Jim Holt of Wichita 

National Telecommunications Cooperative Association
Catherine Moyer of Ulysses
Steve Davis of Medicine Lodge
Rhonda Goddard of Wichita
Brian Boisvert of Wichita
Dale Jones of Council Grove
Tom Gleason of Ottawa
Terry Force of Wheaton
Sallie Force of Wheaton
Dennis Doyle of Marysville
Linda Wessel of Council Grove
Beau Rebel of Rush Center
Gary Slough of Brewster
Dale Hudson of Brewster
Linda Ayers of Winona
Jeff Wick of Hays
John Showman of South Haven
Clyde Sutton of Ness City
Mike VanCampen of Turon 

Eagle Communication
Gary Shorman of Hays

Many Kansans also stopped by to take a tour of the U.S. Capitol this week including:

Doug & Jill Shaw of Ellis
Logan Shaw of Ellis
Clay Shaw of Ellis 

Katherine Garr of Augusta
Megan Garr of Augusta 

Carl & Cheryl Isern of Ellinwood
Chrisopher Isern of Ellinwood
CayLee Isern of Ellinwood
Cody Isern of Ellinwood 

Daniel Rheingans  of Russell
Miranda Clark of Russell
Nathanael Holland of Russell
Abigail Dreher of Russell
Jessica Scheck of Russell
Bailey Becker of Russell 

James Mace of Hutchinson
Jennifer Mace of Hutchinson 

Park City
Matthew Mace of Park City
Kate Mace of Park City 

John Goaddard of Penokee
Rhonda Goaddard of Penokee
Lucas Goddard of Penokee
Cordell Goddard of Penokee

Junction City
Karl Butler of Junction City
Andrea Butler of Junction city
Kyara Butler of Junction City
Kennedy Butler of Junction City

Charles Trigg of Paola
Elizabeth Trigg of Paola
Zach Trigg of Paola
Nathan Trigg of Paola
Diane Blann of Paola
Taylor Blann of Paola
Ashley Blann of Paola 

Tina Wick of Hays
Jacaob Wick of Hays
Samantha Wick of Hays
Dave Sanders of Hays
Rebecca Sanders of Hays 

Overland Park
Mark Rainey of Overland Park

Dallas Garr of Emporia
Joyce Garr of Emporia

Dallas Eubanks of Lansing
Hannah Eubanks of Lansing

Jeff Hofaker of Logan

Dough McHenry of Salina
Nancy McHenry of Salina
Anna McHenry of Salina
J.D. McHenry of Salina
Reed McHenry of Salina
Tracy Green  of Salina
Christopher Weis of Salina
Aoruk Weis of Salina
Zandra Weis of Salina
Luna Weis of Salina

April Ogden of Alma
Lily Ogden of Alma 

David Deines of Merriam
Malina Deines of Merriam 

JoAnn Kelly of Peck
Shannon Kelly of Peck
Hunter Hanson of Peck 

Valley Center
Isaac Neal of Valley Center
Lora Neal of Valley Center
Sophia Neal of Valley Center
Patricia Petrakis of Valley Center
Bella Petrakis of Valley Center
Elizabeth Petrakis of Valley Center
Gregory Petrakis of Valley Center

David Hancock of Wamego
Sarah Hancock of Wamego
Evan Hancock of Wamego
Keith Hankock of Wamego

Benjamin Williams of Wichita
Anne Williams of Wichita
Kira Williams of Wichita
Dale Dodd of Wichita
Barbara Dodd of Wichita
Ethan Dodd of Wichita
Hannah Dodd of Wichita
Caleb Dodd of Wichita
Janet Dobler of Wichita
Karissa Dobler of Wichita
David Thompson of Wichita
Connie Thompson of Wichita
Alexa Fetterly-Thompson of Wichita
Nova Thompson of Wichita
Stone Thompson of Wichita
Patricia Chatwell of Wichita

Lee Leiker of Marion
Diane Leiker of Marion
Jordan Leiker of Marion
Landon Leiker of Marion
Marion Ogden of Marion
Linda Ogden of Marion


Contact Me

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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