Kansas Common Sense
Working to Reverse Liver Allocation Policy Changes
Transplant hospitals in Kansas and Missouri are nationwide leaders in developing innovative strategies to bolster organ donation and shorten wait times for donated organs. A recent policy change from the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) would reverse that progress and leave patients in Kansas waiting longer for life-saving organs.
Regulators in our federal government should be working to promote organ donation everywhere – and they certainly should not be punishing areas with high donation rates, such as in Kansas and Missouri, by moving those donated organs to areas with low donation rates in far off cities on the east and west coast.
I’m working with Senator Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) to make certain patients and providers in our home states are not disadvantaged by this misguided policy. Click here to read more in our op-ed to the Kansas City Star.
Celebrating Black History Month
From Langston Hughes and George Washington Carver, to Brown vs. Board of Education and Nicodemus, Kansans recognize Black Americans’ incredible contributions to our state and nation. A resolution I joined, authored by U.S. Senators Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.), honors these contributions as we celebrate Black History Month this February. The resolution also seeks to recognize the importance of Black History Month as an opportunity to celebrate the significant history provided by Black culture and to reflect on our shared history and the path ahead.
During this month-long observation, we reflect on the long struggle for equality faced by Black Americans in our country and continue our commitment to striving toward a nation that respects all of its people.
Hosting Kansas Listening Tour Stops
I continued my Kansas Listening Tour with a stop in Bourbon County on Monday. During this stop, we discussed a wide range of topics including the president’s emergency declaration for border security, my work to increase access to healthcare for veterans, mental health resources in our communities, the opioid epidemic, the Farm Bill and its importance to our farmers and ranchers, recent provisions I advocated for on farmer suicide prevention, our efforts to complete the expansion of Highway 69 to Interstate 44 and my support for the Route 66 project.
Thank you to the many local residents who took time to visit with me, and to Columbus Mayor Grant Spieth, Galena Mayor Lance Nichols, Sheriff David Groves and County Commissioner Neal Anderson for attending. In addition, thank you to Galena City Councilman Doug Gatewood and the City of Galena for hosting my visit.
On Thursday, I was at Buzz Café in Sabetha for my Nemaha County Listening Tour stop where I heard firsthand from Kansans on the issues most important to them. We discussed a number of topics, including the president’s emergency declaration for border security, current issues in agriculture and the importance of trade, how I am working to support rural and veterans’ healthcare, the need for digital infrastructure and access to broadband affordable housing and ways we can increase access to vocational education.
Thank you to the Sabetha Kiwanis Club for allowing me to participate in their meeting and to the many folks who came out to visit with me in Nemaha County.
On Friday, I spent time in Stockton for a Rooks County Listening Tour stop. During this stop, I heard from folks on topics such as rural healthcare, my work to increase our veterans’ access to healthcare, agriculture, ongoing trade negotiations and what I hope to see come from these talks, the need for less regulations on community banks and things we can do to simultaneously lower taxes and government spending. Thank you to the numerous local officials and community leaders who attended this meeting, and thank you to the Rooks County Health Department for hosting us.
Visiting Rooks County Health Center
While in Rooks County, I was home – in Plainville – to eat lunch at the Rooks County Health Center (RCHC). I was happy to be friends Robert Foster and Gary Hicks who have joined me frequently for this occasion in the past. During lunch, I visited with employees and healthcare providers, as well as RCHC CEO A.J. Thomas who offered an update on the hospital and their work on phase two of the hospital’s expansion that is near completion. Thanks to the many folks who took time to visit with me and for all of those at RCHC and the excellent care they provide for Plainville and Rooks County residents.
Touring Wenger Manufacturing
Following my Nemaha County Listening Tour stop, I toured Wenger Manufacturing in Sabetha. Wenger Manufacturing was founded by Joe and Louis Wenger in 1935 and is still in the family name. Wenger Manufacturing is one of the world's leading suppliers of extrusion cooking systems for grain and food processing, including aquatic feed for fisheries. During our tour, I heard from company leadership and employees on aquaculture and legislation that would advance this practice, as well as the importance of trade to their business. What I heard from them echoes what I hear from many Kansas businesses and producers: we need more trade and more markets to sell our products. Thank you to Jesse Mitchell and the Wenger family for the tour, for the productive conversation and for all they do for Sabetha and our state.
Attending the Retirement Celebration for Lyle Butler
On Thursday, I attended the retirement celebration for the outgoing CEO of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce Lyle Butler. Lyle’s 19 years of leadership to the Manhattan community as the Chamber CEO have brought about positive change not just for Manhattan, but for the whole region during both challenging and exciting times. I join many in thanking him for his service and wish him and his wife well in retirement.
Visiting Tyson Foods in Northwest Arkansas
Following Listening Tour stops in Southeast Kansas, I drove to Northwest Arkansas where I was able to meet with Tyson Food’s Chairman John Tyson and other senior leadership. From Garden City to Emporia, Tyson Foods currently employs over 5,500 Kansans. John and I had a great discussion over the future of the agriculture industry as well as Tyson, and I appreciate the time he and others spent with me during this visit. While in the area, I also visited with Walmart and J.B. Hunt, two employers whom Kansans depend on every day.
Summer Internship Applications Due This Friday
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 summer 2019 session are due this Friday, March 1. 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 and to apply, and to hear from former interns about their experience in my office, click here.
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.
Very truly yours,
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