Kansas Common Sense


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Frank Discussions in Moscow Regarding Election Interference
This past week, I traveled with several of my colleagues to Russia, Finland and Norway. In Russia, our delegation was accompanied by Ambassador Jon Huntsman for high-level meetings with Russian officials, including Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin and Federation Council Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Konstantin Kosachev, during which we had frank discussions regarding a number of issues such as Syria, China, Ukraine, Crimea, Iran and Russia’s attempts to influence elections in the United States and elsewhere in the world. Ambassador Huntsman informed the delegation this was the most significant engagement between Russian and American leaders since 2013.

At each and every meeting, I made clear Russian interference in U.S. elections will not be tolerated and a thawing of relations can occur only if this and other behavior by the Russian government changes. While I’m pleased this same message has been delivered by the administration, it is important for Russian leadership to understand the importance of Congress in foreign policy and its authority to protect our national interests alongside the president. We traveled to Moscow to convey that Congress will continue its tough stance toward Russia – including maintaining sanctions – if their behavior remains unchanged. In addition to our meetings with Russian officials, we received classified briefings from Ambassador Huntsman, State Department and U.S. Military officials.

The delegation also traveled to Helsinki, Finland – the location of the Trump-Putin Summit next week – for meetings with U.S. Ambassador Robert Pence and Finland’s Foreign Minister. Though not a member of NATO, Finland is an important global partner and our increasing ties are a positive development for European and U.S. security.

In Norway, we held meetings at the Norwegian Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We reaffirmed the importance of NATO, expressed our appreciation for Norway’s role in this alliance and strongly encouraged leaders to meet the country’s two percent GDP funding commitment to NATO. Leaders in both Finland and Norway had issues with and were worried about Russia on their borders. My colleagues and I declared our commitment to their sovereign integrity and reiterated American support for their self-defense.

photo courtesy of Getty Images

To listen to my interview with NPR's All Things Considered regarding these meetings, please click here.

Celebrating Our Independence
We celebrated Independence Day at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow with Ambassador Huntsman, embassy staff and Marines stationed in Moscow to defend our embassy. The Russians have created a circumstance in which most of our embassy employees have been deemed persona non grata and have been removed from Russia, and Americans working at the Embassy have been harassed and mistreated by Russians while working for the American people.

As we commemorated the holiday, I thought back to growing up in the days of the Cold War. As a child in school, I remember being instructed to get under our desks during drills. To be in Moscow with Americans at the U.S. Embassy – to watch the Marine Corps Honor Guard present colors and to celebrate and to sing our national anthem, and to reflect on how our nation promotes freedom and democracy, even in Russia – I felt similar emotions to those that I’ve felt celebrating our nation’s past and future in the United States every year on July 4th at barbecues and parades. As Americans, we need to stand for our values around the world. I appreciate the American Embassy staff in Russia and enjoyed visiting with them and gaining a deeper appreciation for their service and sacrifice, and I am grateful for our military men and women who protect our civil servants.

Now Accepting 2018 Service Academy Applications
Appointing Kansans to the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y.; the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.; the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo; and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y. is one of my favorite duties as a U.S. Senator and I want to remind students of the opportunity to apply to a United States Service Academy. 

To review requirements and move through the application process, please download an application from my website or contact my Olathe office at 913-393-0711. All application materials are due to my Olathe office by September 7, 2018. After applications have been reviewed, applicants will be notified of interviews with my Service Academy Selection Board, which will take place on Saturday, September 22, 2018, at the Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene.

Kansas in the Office

Capitol Tour
Marvin Adams of Fredonia
Bradley Amer of Overland Park
Claire Berquist of Lawrence
Craig Berquist of Lawrence
Jennifer Berquist of Lawrence
Landon Berquist of Lawrence
Hallie Brooks of Overland Park
Kay Brooks of Overland Park
Kristi Brooks of Overland Park
Quinn Brooks of Overland Park
Scott Brooks of Overland Park
Ben Brown of Wichita
Christina Brown of Wichita
Jan Brown of Valley Center
Tim Brundage of Lawrence
Dee Burke of Wichita
Hannah Fuller of Lenexa
Jack Fuller of Lenexa
Samantha Fuller of Lenexa
Tobi Fuller of Lenexa
Jane Harder of Haven
Randy Harder of Haven
Alivia Howard of Fredonia
Rachel Jenkins of Overland Park
Sally Jenkins of Overland Park
Joshua Johnston of Lenexa
Shannon Johnston of Lenexa
Thomas Johnston of Lenexa
Brian Kramer of Overland Park
Darcy Kramer of Overland Park
Karen Lampe of Shawnee
Les Lampe of Shawnee
Angela Lara of Manhattan
Noah Lara of Manhattan
Christopher Leonard of Fredonia
Christopher Leonard Jr. of Fredonia
Mistina Leonard of Fredonia
Jennifer Nguyen of Wichita
Lila Nittler of Shawnee
Jeremy Phetteplace of Wichita
Greg Prowell of Overland Park
Jarred Rahe of Marion
Katie Rahe of Marion
Shayla Rahe of Wichita
Stephanie Satrape of Wichita
Cole Schuck of Tonganoxie
Meghan Schuck of Tonganoxie
Mia Schuck of Tonganoxie
Isabella Sebits of Wichita
Jennifer Sebits of Wichita
Preston Sebits of Wichita
Trent Sebits of Wichita
Wesley Joe Simpson of Fredonia
Andy Suber of Tonganoxie
Ben Suber of Tonganoxie
Ellie Suber of Tonganoxie
Stephanie Suber of Tonganoxie
Austyn Sudduth of Wichita
Elizabeth Sudduth of Wichita
Shane Sudduth of Wichita
Tonya Sudduth of Wichita
Benjamin Thoman of Andale
Jenny Thoman of Andale
Zach Tieneyer of Wichita
Grace Toale of Wichita
Bobby Vanley of Haven
Denise Vanley of Haven
Cole Wofford of Lenexa
Teresa Wofford of Lenexa
Tyece Wofford of Lenexa
Abby Zahm of Columbus
Kate Zahm of Columbus
Michelle Zahm of Columbus
Paige Zahm of Columbus
Alayna Ziegler of Overland Park

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 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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