Kansas Common Sense
Welcome to “Kansas Common Sense.” Thanks 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.
On Thursday we celebrated National Farmers Day, and I was reminded how proud I am to be a Kansan and to represent Kansas farmers who feed the world. I completed my 12th Kansas Conservation Tour since coming to Congress last month and was reminded of the issues Kansas farmers face and the innovative ideas they implement to keep our agricultural industry thriving. I remain thankful for all the hard work our farmers do to get food to our tables.
Fighting Against Illegal Robocalls
In March, I convened a hearing in my Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance and Data Security on consumer scams, which harm American consumers and damage our national economy on a daily basis. One particular area of interest to my subcommittee is illegal robocall scams. This week, I sent an inquiry to Adrian Abramovich, who has been accused of making almost 100 million illegal robocalls during a three-month span in 2016. Abramovich used what is known as “neighbor-spoofing,” in which the scammer will disguise the call as if it came from a phone number with the same three digit area code as the recipient's number. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai described his crime as “the most egregious neighbor-spoofing robocalling scheme we have ever seen.” Not only are spoofed robocalls illegal and misleading, they also often prey on the most vulnerable – especially elderly Americans. Further, nearly 31 percent of all consumer complaints to the FCC involving unwanted calls concern robocalls specifically. I will continue to work with my colleagues and the FCC to prevent future abuses like these from hurting Americans.
Supporting Career and Technical Education
Career and technical education must remain a priority in order to close the skills gap in our country. I joined 58 of my colleagues from both sides of the aisle in calling on Senate leaders to quickly renew the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, a bill to provide funding for critical career and technical education, in a bipartisan manner. This Perkins reauthorization will help align career and technical education programs to local labor market needs and increase student participation in work-based learning opportunities outside of the classroom.
In Kansas and throughout the nation, we have a shortage of skilled workers to fill in-demand jobs. Renewing this program will help young people turn their technical education into quality careers, create a larger talent pool for employees to hire from and ultimately help stimulate the economy.
Touring Case New Holland in Wichita
I began the week meeting with local manufacturers in Wichita at the Case New Holland plant. I participated in a manufacturing roundtable where we discussed trade and the need for tax reform to propel economic growth and to create good paying jobs. Thanks to Plant Manager Jeff Bolander for organizing the tour and hosting the roundtable discussion.
Speaking to Wichita Chamber Luncheon Attendees
Following the Case New Holland tour, I spoke at the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce luncheon regarding tax reform, our budget, manufacturing, healthcare, workforce development and the continued debate against FAA privatization. We also discussed the Wichita State University Innovation Campus and how it will propel economic growth and drive talented young people to WSU and Kansas.
It was great to see State Sen. Masterson, State Reps. Carpenter, Weber and Whitmer, Wichita City Councilman Pete Meitzner, Wellington Mayor Hansel, Sedgwick County Commissioners O’Donnell, Howell and Unruh, Sedgwick County Clerk Arnold and Wichita State President John Bardo at the luncheon.
Thank you to Coleen Jennison of Cox Communications for the kind introduction and Wichita Chamber Chair Scott Schwindaman for the invitation.
Hosting Kansas Listening Tour Stops in Quinter, Oakley and Sharon Springs
I hosted townhalls in Gove, Logan and Wallace counties on Wednesday. Common themes throughout the conversations at the three stops were the need for tax reform, the need for healthcare fixes to decrease skyrocketing premiums and the need for strong trade policy to make certain Kansans can continue to benefit from international export opportunities. We also discussed the Veterans CHOICE Program and how we can continue prioritizing our nation's heroes.
Workweeks like this week spent in Kansas are invaluable to me as the Senate continues its work on taxes, healthcare, trade and beyond. Speaking with Kansans face-to-face helps to establish a baseline understanding of differing viewpoints and promote civil discourse. I firmly believe that each Kansan I spoke to and I share a common goal: to better our state and our nation for future generations.
I’m grateful to all the Kansans who came to my townhall meetings and shared the issues they are most passionate about. I look forward to taking these thoughts back to Washington, D.C. with me.
Joining Kansas Cadets at the Air Force Academy
On Thursday I joined several Kansas cadets at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs for lunch. One of the most meaningful responsibilities I have as a United States Senator is nominating young Kansans for our service academies and helping them realize their dream of serving our nation. The cadets I met with are some of Kansas’ best and brightest and I am proud to see how well they represent our state.
Thanks to all of the cadets who spent their lunch hour with me: Jessica Broll, a Cadet Third Class from Shawnee; Jared Brown, a Cadet First Class from Kansas City; William Hanlen, a Cadet Third Class from Leavenworth; Hayden Kovark, a Cadet Third Class from Olathe; Ron Jackson, a Cadet Second Class from Beloit; Elizabeth Jarvis, a Cadet Second Class from Wichita; David Nolan, a Cadet First Class from Overland Park; and Nicholas Williams, a Cadet Second Class from Overland Park.
Visiting the Future Site of the Rocky Mountain VA
As Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee for Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, I visited the future site of the Rocky Mountain VA to get an update on the construction progress. This hospital represents a significant investment in VA resources, and I am pleased it is on track to open in 2018. I also discussed the Veterans Choice Program with Acting Associate Director Joshua Pridgen, Chief of Staff Dr. Ellen Mangione and Choice Champion Linda Cook during my visit. Thanks to Management Analyst Shannon Newell and representatives from the Army Corps of Engineers for the tour.
Regarding the Reported Sprint and T-Mobile Merger
As Chairman of the Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security, I have received a number of inquiries regarding reports of a merger between Sprint Corporation and T-Mobile related to potential impacts on market competitiveness and consumer welfare. Additionally, this transaction could affect thousands of highly-skilled Kansans, their families, and the Overland Park and greater Kansas City community. I will continue to monitor merger details as they become available, and I strongly encourage Sprint Corporation and T-Mobile to be mindful of consumers and Kansans throughout their negotiations while remaining as transparent as possible in the process.
Now Accepting Spring Internship Applications
My own interest in public service was sparked by an internship for Kansas First District Congressman Keith Sebelius in 1974. As an intern, I had the chance to learn firsthand how a Congressional office operates and how the legislative process works. I am proud to be able to offer this same opportunity in my Senate office today, where I have interns year-round working closely with my staff on behalf of Kansans.
Applications for internships in my Washington, D.C. and Kansas offices for Spring 2018 are due Friday, October 27. Congressional internships are open to qualified undergraduate and graduate students who have an interest in public service and have achieved academic excellence. Click here for more information.
Kansans in the Office
Jackson Honeycutt of Overland Park
Meghana Ammula of Leawood
Mennonite Central Committee
Andres Mata of Salina
AUSA Manhattan Delegation
Rich Jankovich of Manhattan
Ron Fehr of Manhattan
Lyle Butler of Manhattan
Janet Nichols of Manhattan
Linda Morse of Manhattan
Mike Dodson of Manhattan
Fred Willich of Manhattan
AUSA Junction City Delegation
Phyllis Fitzgerald of Junction City
Pat Landes of Junction City
Allen Dinkel of Junction City
Keith Ascher of Junction City
Charles Stimatze of Junction City
Michele Stimatze of Junction City
Project If Life
Anna Hoduski of Bonner Springs
American Optometric Association
Seth Thibault of Pratt
Troy Maydew of Pratt
Russ McCauley of Great Bend
Chad Premer of Great Bend
Johnson Country District Court
Tom Foster of Olathe
Small Business Development Center
Brian Dennis of Lawrence
James Fiscus of Overland Park
Lara Fiscus of Overland Park
Colin Fiscus of Overland Park
Josiah Fiscus of Overland Park
Alma Fiscus of Overland Park
Paul Ullom-Minnich of Moundridge
Marla Ullom-Minnich of Moundridge
Jessica Ullom-Minnich of Moundridge
Laura Ullom-Minnich of Moundridge
Denis Pianalto of Wichita
Barbara Pianalto of Wichita
Irl Linville of Wamego
Jennifer Linville of Wamego
Tyler Crow of Topeka
Allison Crow of Topeka
Roy Horton of Newton
Connie Horton of Newton
David Baker of Hillsboro
Suzanne Baker of Hillsboro
Gavin Baker of Hillsboro
Dillyn Baker of Hillsboro
Matt Jost of Hillsboro
Jim Franke of Manhattan
Marlene Franke of Manhattan
Travis Beyer of Overland Park
Andrea Beyer of Overland Park
Daniela McInerney of Shawnee
Karen Tiffany Dean of Lawrence
Madelyn T. Dean of Lawrence
Andrew S. Dean of Lawrence
Dave Ast of Topeka
Debbie Ast of Topeka
Lori Hudson of Topeka
John Keating of Olathe
Sandy Keating of Olathe
Randy Gerstner of Emporia
Jan Gerstner of Emporia
Robert Shapiro of Mission Hills
Lynda Shapiro of Mission Hills
Mitchell Waldo of Overland Park
Maria Heiman of Axtell
Laura Heiman of Axtell
Allison Becker of Horton
Haley Roberts of Horton
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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