Kansas Common Sense
Welcome to “Kansas Common Sense.” Since the Civil War, Americans have gathered each year on Memorial Day to remember those courageous souls who answered the call to serve our country. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War – and on Memorial Day, we remembered those thousands of servicemen and women who made the ultimate sacrifice and never returned home. We gathered together to remind our children and grandchildren that because of their sacrifice, we have the opportunity to live in the strongest, freest and greatest nation in the world.
Yesterday, I traveled to Pittsburg to participate in a Memorial Day ceremony, held at the Pittsburg State University Veterans Memorial. It was an honor to join many veterans, current service members and local residents in paying tribute to those who laid down their lives in defense of our country. Click here to read what I shared with the audience and click here to view photos from the event. Click here to read an editorial I wrote about the heroes we remember on Memorial Day each year.
Discussing Tornado Damage on Fox News
This week has seen deadly storms move through our state and across the country. Last weekend, the small town of Reading, Kansas was nearly destroyed as an EF3 tornado swept through, damaging the homes and businesses in its path. After my visit to Reading on Monday, I appeared on Fox News to discuss the challenges small towns face when they are hit by such a severe storm. Click here to watch the interview.
Also, just this week, the U.S. Small Business Administration announced that residents and business owners may be able to get low-interest loans to replace or repair property damaged or destroyed in the tornado. Applications for the loans will be taken on Monday – Friday, from 8-4:30pm, beginning Wednesday, June 1st through June 16 at Reading Elementary School.
Protecting Consumers from Overregulation
Like most Americans, you probably haven’t heard of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), but when this powerful new government agency opens its doors in July, it could have a significant impact on your life. From debit cards to auto loans, without the appropriate oversight the CFPB could heap additional burdens and costs onto personal financial products, and restrict access to credit for Kansas families and small businesses — the very entities the agency is charged with protecting.
On May 5, 2011, I joined 43 of my Senate colleagues in asking President Obama to work with us in reforming the CFPB to make certain it is both effective and accountable. This week I penned a column for The Hill newspaper reiterating what my colleagues and I are asking the president to consider. Click here to read my column on making certain we get the design of the powerful new CFPB right before it opens for business in July.
Meeting with Director of National Cancer Institute
On Wednesday, I met with Dr. Harold Varmus, Director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), to visit about the latest developments in cancer research and treatment. On May 11, 2011, I had the opportunity to discuss medical research with Dr. Varmus and Dr. Francis Collins, the Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), at a Senate Appropriations health subcommittee hearing. Click here to watch video clips of my conversation with Dr. Collins.
Established in 1937, NCI is part of the NIH and is our nation’s principal agency for cancer research and training. Dr. Varmus is a Nobel Prize recipient for his studies of the genetic basis of cancer and he served as Director of NIH from 1993 to 1999. While cancers are made up of a diverse and complex set of diseases, recent research advances are reworking the landscape of cancer research and care. This emerging landscape offers the promise of significant advances for cancer patients, enormous savings to our health care system, and great opportunity for Kansas education institutions, hospitals, laboratories, and businesses.
Israel’s Security Must Come First
The Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, was in Washington, D.C., this week and spoke Tuesday to the Senate and House of Representatives. In his address to Congress, Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke eloquently about democracy in Israel and his commitment to peace in the Middle East. He also spoke about the need for Israel to have defensible borders. If Israel were forced back to its boundaries before the Six Day War in 1967, Israel would be only 9 miles wide. Prime Minister Netanyahu made clear that because of Israel’s unique size, the country needs unique security arrangements.
I also spoke this week to the Senate about the importance of Israel’s security and reminded my colleagues what a retreat to pre-1967 boundaries would mean for the security of Israel. Israel is our staunchest ally in a volatile part of the world. We cannot now turn our back on Israel by forcing it to take a position in negotiations that would endanger its very existence. Click here to watch my remarks about Israel’s security.
Surveying Fire Damage in Pittsburg
On Sunday evening, I traveled to downtown Pittsburg to tour the damage caused by a fire on May 21, 2011. Unfortunately, Beitzinger’s Hardware, Inc. and Benelli’s Jewelry were consumed by the blaze – but thankfully, no one was hurt. Local owners, Phil and John Beitzinger along with Bud Benelli, joined me at the site where the businesses once stood to discuss their future plans. Thanks to Fire Chief Scott Crain, Chamber of Commerce President Blake Benson, Downtown Development Director Judy Westhoff, and Jeff Wilbert with the Knights of Columbus for joining me on my visit. Click here to view photos from my visit.
Open House Held at New Pittsburg Office
On Monday, I was in Pittsburg to participate in the Memorial Day ceremony at the Pittsburg State University Veterans Memorial. Before the ceremony, I held an Open House at my new office in Pittsburg, located at 306 N. Broadway, Suite 125. During the event, I presented Brig. Gen. James AuBuchon (Ret.) an American flag that had been flown over the U.S. Capitol building in honor of all Kansans who served our country.
If I can ever be of service, please do not hesitate to contact me at my Pittsburg office or one of my other offices. Click here for all the contact information. Click here to view photos from the event.
Listening Tour Continues to Douglas and Allen Counties
My listening tour continued this week as I visited Douglas County on Monday. Many local residents and business owners stopped by to discuss a wide range of issues, including foreign policy, taxes, health care, energy and technology. Thanks to Hank Booth and Tom Kern of the Lawrence Chamber and Bruce Flanders of the Lawrence Public Library for hosting. Thanks to Kansas University Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little, County Commissioner Jim Flory, State Representative Terri Lois Gregory, and the many others for attending. Click here to view photos from the visit.
On Memorial Day, I visited with Kansans at the Iola American Legion Hall during my Allen County Listening Tour stop. I appreciated the opportunity to meet many local residents and to hear what was on their minds, including their concerns about job creation, the importance of trade to our economy and the need to lower energy costs. Thanks to the many local officials who joined us, including Mayor Bill Shirley, and thanks to American Legion Commander Jeff Heinrich for hosting the meeting. Click here to view photos from the event.
Upcoming Listening Tour Stops
This month and next, I am continuing my statewide listening tour. Please find more information about my upcoming town hall meetings below. If you’re nearby, I encourage you to stop by to share your thoughts.
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Sedgwick County, Wichita (hosted by Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce)
Location: Hyatt Regency Hotel
Address: 400 W. Waterman
Time: 12:30-1:00 PM
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Butler County, El Dorado (hosted by El Dorado Rotary Club)
Location: El Dorado Civic Center
Address: 201 East Central Avenue
Time: 12:00-1:00 PM
Chase County, Cottonwood Falls
Location: Prairie Pastimes
Address: 220 1/2 Broadway
Time: 2:15-3:15 PM
Marion County, Florence
Location: Doyle Creek Mercantile
Address: 510 Main Street
Time: 4:00-5:00 PM
Saturday, June 4, 2011
Dickinson County, Abilene
Location: Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum
Address: 200 SE Fourth Street
Time: 3:30 – 4:30 PM
In the Office
This week we had several visitors in the Washington, D.C. office from across the state, including the Kansans listed below. Click here to view photos of some of the visits.
Dairy Farmers of
Dan Senestraro of Johnson
US Meat Export
Keith Miller of Great Bend
Latrisha Miles of Olathe
Whitney Gudgel of Lawrence
Amy Gray of Overland Park
Yoder Charter School
One Voice Against
Leesa Gabel of Olathe
AIDS Director for
State of Kansas
Sandra Springer of Topeka
Dominique Saunders of Manhattan
AT Marketing &
Dan Kass of Leawood
American College of
Sabina Braithwaite of Wichita
National League for
Pam Di Vito-Thomas of Coffeyville
American College of
Donna Sweet of Wichita
Alana Fearey of Wichita
Donald Hatton of Lawrence
Ginnie Job of Leawood
Van Coble of Winfield
Mike Larkin of Topeka
Don Hill of Emporia
National Air Traffic
Bryan Neal of Olathe
Alan MacDonald of Olathe
Connie Presley of Wichita
Amanda Stierwalt of Wichita
James McDaniel of Kansas City
Jake Klaver of Kingman
Steve Lawler of Wichita
Randy Hatteshol of Hays
Mike Shilling of Manhattan
Mike Crow of Topeka
Don Kaiden of Salina
C. Elaine Giessel of Overland Park
Richard Voss of Overland Park
Kansas Society of
John Bruckner of Salina
Mary MacBain of Shawnee
Aron Dunn of Wichita
Kyle Hawk of McPherson
Gary Allerheiligen of Wichita
Audrey Asher of Overland Park
Lisa Bernard of Overland Park
Diane Davidner of Prairie Village
Alexander & Peggy Davis of Overland Park
Andrew & Cara Ernstein of Overland Park
John & Hilary Fried of Leawood
Steven & Deborah Graham of Leawood
Jeff Horen of Leawood
Eileen Kaplan of Overland Park
Dan Kass of Leawood
Carol Katzman of Overland Park
Michael Lerner of Overland Park
Malcolm Litman of Leawood
Josef Loeffler of Leawood
Larry Nussbaum of Prairie Village
David Seldner of Leawod
Matthew & Bonnie Siegel of Leawood
Yaakov & Rhama Weber of Overland Park
Grassroots Task Force Team
Jeff Seibel of Hays
Stephanie Harris of Independence
John Frederico of Topeka
Tom Krewson of Kansas City
Jay Albaugh of Wichita
Scott Schneider of Topeka
Coleen Jennison of Topeka
Human Rights Campaign
Jackie Carter of Wichita
Randy Nash of Hugoton
Nancy Nash of Hugoton
Kansas Rural Letter
Tammy Goodyear of Altamont
Sandy Borne of El Dorado
Many Kansans were in our office this week to tour the United States Capitol including Gregory & Jackie Wallman of Overland Park; Clark & Julia Mitchell of Great Bend; Tommy & Judy Webb of Sublette; Cecilia Webb of Gardner; Tommy Gennusa of Topeka; Will Pryor of Prairie Village; Lindsey Jones of Overland Park; Gayle Bricker of Lenexa; Susan Strong of Leawood; Richard & Melinda Everley of Bonner Springs; Kelsie Belk of Leavenworth; Diana & Kristen Lyne of Clay Center; Meredith Clark of Barnard; Eileen Price and Joella Bergman of Minneapolis; Elizabeth Labes of Delphos; Tom, Rosemary Gangel, Carolyn, & Katherine Gangel of Wichita; Debra, Markelle, & Anna Mikkelson of Atchison; Dale, Cindy, Ben, Anna, & Zach Wiens of Goessel; Carol & Juliana Owen; Teree Rohleder of Salina; Michael, Robin Irvin, Laura & Rachel Irvin of Manhattan; Troy, Michelle, Caleb, Carissa, & Courtney Slabach of Newton; John, Jennifer Bonds-Raacke, Catherine, & Brooklynn Raacke of Hays; and Leroy, Julie, Leroy Jr. & Alexis Burke; Brandon & Kevin Gresham; Michael, Carmen, Ryan, & Olivia Landreth of Olathe.
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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