Kansas Common Sense
Welcome to “Kansas Common Sense.” Thank you for your continued interest in receiving my weekly newsletter. I spent this week both in Washington and in Kansas. I returned to Washington D.C. at the beginning of the week this week to prepare for Congress to return to session after the November election and meet with Kansans, including members of the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) Manhattan and Junction City Delegations who were in D.C. for AUSA’s annual conference.
I then returned to Kansas and spent time traveling throughout our state, listening to Kansans and getting feedback on issues we face in Washington. This week, I visited with folks in Wyandotte, Barton, Johnson, Riley, Douglas, Ellis and Ford Counties. You can read more about visits below. Please feel free to forward this newsletter on to your family and friends if it would interest them.
2012 Service Academy Selection Board Announced
This week, I announced the members of my 2012 Kansas Service Academy Selection Board. This 20-member board is made up of Kansans from across our state who will review applications and interview candidates who are applying for admission to U.S. Service Academies for 2013. These include the U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Air Force Academy and U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. The application deadline recently passed on October 1, 2012, and I received 90 applications for 4 principal nominations. Our country is fortunate to have so many talented young men and women interested in serving our country through the Armed Forces. The Selection Board will have a tough time narrowing the field of qualified candidates, but I value their insight and thank them for their service.
All applicants will be required to interview with the Service Academy Selection Board on Saturday, November 19, 2011. If nominated, applicants must then meet the individual admission requirements of each academy. The academies will make the final decision on who will receive an appointment of admission in early 2012. Members of the 2012 Kansas Service Academy Selection Board include:
- Daralyn Arata, Esquire of Manhattan; Pre-law advisor, Kansas State University.
- Karen Clark of Leavenworth; Graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, Vice President at The Federal Savings Bank.
- Frank Clepper of Wichita; Graduate of U.S. Military Academy.
- Betty Click of Topeka; Senior Vice President, Human Resources, Payless Shoe Source.
- Bill Clifford, M.D. of Garden City; Graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, Ophthalmologist at Fry Eye Associates.
- Robin Jackson, Ph.D. of Hutchinson; Professor of Science and Mathematics, Central Christian College, McPherson.
- Wendell Maddox of Kansas City; President and CEO of United Way of Wyandotte County, served in U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps.
- Jill McCarthy of Overland Park; Vice President of Business Development, Kansas City Area Development Council, mother of U.S. Military Academy graduate.
- Chris Meyer, M.D. of Wichita; CEO, Galichia Medical Group, Served in the U.S. Air Force and currently serves in the Air National Guard as a flight surgeon with the 184th Intelligence Wing.
- Corinne Nilsen of Wichita; Executive Director, Kansas Kids @ GEAR UP, Wichita State University.
- Jacque Oakes of Independence; Community volunteer, Member of Independence Community College Foundation Board of Trustees.
- John O’Leary of Wichita; Vice President of Engineering, Airbus, Graduate of U.S. Naval Academy.
- Ron Lucas of Goodland; Vietnam Veteran, Served in the Army.
- Paula Ripple of Dodge City; Retired Dodge City High School English instructor, mother of U.S. Air Force Academy graduate.
- Samuel Turner of Leawood; Retired CEO, Shawnee Mission Medical Center, Vietnam Veteran, Served in the Army.
- Cecil Webb of Olathe; Technology Project Manager for HNTB, Graduate of U.S. Military Academy.
- Ernest Garcia of Overland Park; Superintendent of the Kansas Highway Patrol, retired U.S. Marine Corps Colonel, former Chief of Staff at the U.S. Selective Service System.
- Steve Harmon of Emporia; Director of the Business & Industry Training Center, Flint Hills Technical College, Kansas National Guard Member.
- Mike Junk of Salina; President of Crestwood Inc., Graduate of U.S. Air Force Academy.
- Ron Whitney of Emporia; Member of Emporia American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars, served in U.S. Army.
Coordinating with Kansas County Commissioners
This week I instituted a new way to keep in touch with community leaders across Kansas. On Monday, County commissioners joined me on an hour-long conference call to discuss what is happening in their counties and what issues they face with the federal government. Every County Commissioner in Knaa was invited to participate in the call and join in the conversation with any comments, suggestions or questions they had. My favorite way to connect with Kansans is in person, but when work in Washington takes me away from the state I will use other means possible to stay informed. It is always nice to catch up with leaders from across the state and discuss solutions to meet challenges in our Kansas communities. Click here to see a photo from the conference call.
Meeting with the Association of the United States Army
While in Washington on Monday, I met with a group of delegates from the Association of the United States Army (AUSA). The Kansans, from Junction City and Manhattan, were in D.C. for AUSA’s annual conference. I enjoyed hearing their perspectives on a variety of issues, including the important of supporting the soldiers and families at Fort Riley as well as how each community is working to assist our military. With the possibility of steep cuts to the defense budget in the new year, it was important for me to hear about their efforts as I keep in mind the impact the cuts would have on our military men and women, their families, and the communities in which they live. Congress must work to ensure the budget is balanced in a responsible manner that will not weaken our nation’s defense.
Visiting Western Plains Medical Complex in Dodge City
On Wednesday afternoon, I traveled to Dodge City to tour the Western Plains Medical Complex (WPMC) where I learned more about how health providers there are working to improve care in Ford County and the surrounding area. WPMC is a 99-bed hospital that serves as a regional patient referral center for Southwest Kansas. The hospital was recently named one of the nation’s Top Performers on Key Quality Measures by the Joint Commission, the leading accreditor of health care organizations in the U.S. This quality recognition was based upon performance measures in surgery, pneumonia, and heart attack care. WPMC is one of only eight hospitals across the state – and the only hospital in Southwest Kansas – to earn this recognition.
This visit gave me the opportunity to meet Michael Burroughs, who became CEO of WPMC this past March. I was pleased to learn that the hospital recently introduced four physicians to the Dodge City community, including: ophthalmologist James Meehan; orthopedic surgeon Jeffrey Gilles; pulmanologist Roman Reznik; and infectious disease specialist Tienchia Narach. These doctors will play an important role strengthening Southwest Kansans’ access to quality health care services. Their arrival is a reminder that the federal government should create an environment that helps – not hinders – the ability of our Kansas communities to recruit and retain highly qualified medical professionals. Our Kansas quality of life depends on it.
As a member of the Senate Appropriations health subcommittee, which has jurisdiction over our nation’s health programs, it is valuable to me to visit Kansas hospitals and talk with health care providers to fully understand how they utilize resources to care for patients and support their communities. The visit provided an important opportunity for me to learn more about issues affecting the way Western Plains delivers health care services to residents of southwest Kansas, including potential impacts of budget sequestration and legislation I sponsored to extend Medicare reimbursements to hospitals. Thanks to Michael and his staff for inviting me and thanks to Judy Davis, emergency room director; Dr. Ben Short, emergency room physician; Gregg Bonnoy, pharmacy director; Deb Goodwin, marketing director and Debbie Kyzar, chief financial officer for taking time to visit. Special thanks to Jeff Forrest for leading our tour. Click here to see photos from the visit.
On Thursday, as a part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I visited SAFEHOME in the Kansas City area to learn about the domestic violence agency’s programs for the community. Many Kansans may assume that domestic violence does not occur in their neighborhoods or among their friends. Unfortunately, this is not the case – and it brings fear, hopelessness and depression into the lives of every victim. SAFEHOME provides more than a shelter for those needing a place to live to escape from abuse; they provide advocacy, counseling, an in-house attorney, and assistance finding a job. The agency also provides education in the community to prevent abuse. I was also pleased to learn that SAFEHOME is recognized as a Four Star Charity for excellence in fiscal management and transparency.
I had the opportunity to meet with Jann, a “thriver” who benefited from the comprehensive services offered at SAFEHOME to her and her son. She is a thriver because she now owns her own home, car and business and her son is straight A student. Jann believes SAFEHOME is a “building full of Angels” for what they did to help her re-establish her life without violence. I appreciate her sharing her story with me and hearing firsthand how SAFEHOME assisted her at a critical point in her life. I will continue to support reauthorization of funding for the Violence Against Women Act to help agencies like SAFEHOME break the cycle of violence. A special thank you to Sharon Katz, Executive Director who is retiring for after 20 plus years for all she has done to help victims of abuse. And thanks to Board President Don Curtis, Executive Director Sharon Katz, Associate Director Janee' Hanzlick, and Kelly Willoughby, Development Director for their good work and the informative visit. Click here to see a photo.
Observing Health Technology at Lawrence Memorial Hospital
I stopped in Lawrence on Friday to visit Lawrence Memorial Hospital (LMH) and learn more about how hospital is utilizing technology to improve patient care. LMH is a 173-bed community-owned hospital that was recently recognized as one of the nation’s “Most Wired” hospitals in 2012 according to a survey conducted in cooperation with McKesson Corporation, the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives, and the American Hospital Association.
Lawrence Memorial Hospital has also been praised for its successful adoption and use of health information technology to improve patient care, safety and efficiency. LMH is one of only two hospitals in Kansas to receive this recognition. LMH was one of the eight hospitals in Kansas to be named one of the nation’s Top Performers on Key Quality Measures by the Joint Commission. During my visit, Michael Bennett, Clinical Pharmacist and Pharmacy Residency Program Director, explained the hospital’s ongoing commitment to develop the hospital’s electronic medical record system and to invest in other technology to improve patient care and safety.
I appreciated my discussion with Michael and other members of the LMH staff. Meeting with these professionals helps me better understand how federal policies influence medical providers’ effective use of health IT and how such technology can help drive better patient outcomes and reduce health care costs for Kansans. Click here to see photos from the visit.
S.W.I.P.E. Out Hunger
On Sunday afternoon, I had the opportunity to participate in the SWIPE Out Hunger event in Manhattan, sponsored by K-State and Numana, Inc. of El Dorado. Volunteers from the College of Agriculture and K-State raised tens of thousands of dollars, and together we bagged more than 100,000 packages of food to feed several hundred thousand hungry people.
I am Co-chair of the Senate Hunger Caucus and this year, I introduced an amendment in the farm bill to set aside funds for development aid programs that reduce hunger in poor, crisis-prone communities and help people provide food for themselves and their families on a long-term basis. Organizations like Numana, Inc. work tirelessly to eliminate malnutrition worldwide and I appreciate their hard work. All of the food we packaged will be sent through the Salvation Army World Service Office to the Horn of Africa to assist in the famine.
Last year was the first year SWIPE was held, marking the first ever state-wide packaging event held in Kansas. Congratulations to K-State students for working to make a difference in a hungry world. And thanks to my friend Don Boggs for inviting me to attend. Click here to learn more about SWIPE and Numana.
Visiting the Community of Great Bend
On Tuesday, I had the opportunity to spend some time in Barton County and visit with residents. I made several stops in Great Bend where I visited some great businesses including American State Bank, the Watkins Calcara Law Firm, Walnut Bowl, Edward Jones Investments, Eagle Communications, Great Bend Coffee, and Hospice Care of Kansas. I also stopped by the Chamber of Commerce, the City Building, and the Courthouse. While in the area, I also visited the Wetlands Educational Center at Cheyenne Bottoms. I appreciate the briefing I received from the folks there. The Center is managed by Ft. Hays State University and I met with Linda Penner, Curtis Wolfe, Jean Aycock, Pam Martin and FHSU graduate student, Brian Gaston. Cheyenne Bottoms are completely dry, another indication of how dry it is in most of Kansas. I’m praying for rain and I hope you will too. Thanks to everyone in Great Bend for the welcome and for chatting with me about the issues they care about. Click here to see a photo.
Attending the KU Law School Reception
On Friday evening, Robba and I attended a Kansas University School of Law reception in downtown Lawrence. The reception was in conjunction with homecoming activities across the KU Campus. It was a pleasure to visit with many Kansas judges, attorneys, law school faculty and students. I appreciate the leadership Dean Stephen Mazza.
Accepting Internship Applications for Spring 2013
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. Applications are being accepted for internships in my Washington, D.C., Topeka, Wichita, Hays and Pittsburg offices for the spring 2013 term. Congressional internships are open to qualified undergraduate and graduate students, as well as recent graduates, who have an interest in public service and have achieved academic excellence.
Applications are due by November 2, 2012. The spring 2013 internship session will take place from the first week of January to May. To apply for an internship, students should complete and submit an application, cover letter, résumé, college transcript and two letters of reference. Students should apply online at my website (www.moran.senate.gov) under the “services” tab. Please submit additional materials to email@example.com, or mail them to the address listed below:
U.S. Senator Jerry Moran
Attention: Internship Coordinator
354 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Applicants can feel free to call (202) 224-6521 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain more information.
In the Office
This week we had several visitors in the Washington, D.C., office, including the Kansans listed below:
AUSA Manhattan Delegation
AUSA Junction City Delegation
Many Kansans stopped by to take a tour of the US Capitol this week including:
Jan Marie Darting
Gerald & Jane Wohletz and family, Jerry Catherine, and Madeline
Kevin & Cynthia Toney and children
Christopher & Deanna Schulz
Douglas & Suzann Plattner
Emily Langegger and son, Jurgen
Jim & Susan Adams
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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