Kansas Common Sense


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Seeking Answers on Link Between Facebook and Cambridge Analytica
As Chairman of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security, I sent a letter with my colleague Sen. Blumenthal (D-Conn.) to Dr. Aleksandr Kogan seeking an explanation regarding how the personal data of 50 million Facebook users was transmitted to Cambridge Analytica without users’ consent and how that information was used.

Dr. Kogan developed a Facebook application, “thisisyourdigitallife,” that reportedly gathered information on tens of millions of users – including at least 30 million Americans – that was later shared with the political analytics company Cambridge Analytica. Kogan has said that he acted in accordance with Facebook’s policy regarding data sharing – we expect him to provide more information to Congress.

We will continue to investigate this incident until we receive answers on how this information was obtained and whether or not it violated the data security of Facebook users. To read the full letter, click here.

Hearing Regarding Takata Airbag Recalls
As Chairman of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security, I held a hearing on Tuesday to examine the progress being made in the aftermath of the Takata airbag inflator recalls. Takata airbags have resulted in 15 deaths and hundreds of injuries in the United States, prompting the largest and most complex auto recall in history. Thankfully, we now understand the underlying cause of the defect, but due to the scope of the recalls – including 37 million vehicles from 19 different manufacturers – progress to respond has been slow and this process may take another 10 to 15 years to conclude.

Tuesday’s hearing was a valuable opportunity to receive an update from Deputy Administrator for the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration Heidi King, who represents the federal agency coordinating the recall effort, as well as perspectives from various stakeholders involved. Additional witnesses included John Buretta, Takata’s independent monitor responsible for overseeing recall compliance, as well as representatives from Honda Motor Company and Ford Motors. Much of the conversation centered on innovative approaches being used to reach the millions of consumers affected by these recalls and the role those efforts have played in driving an increase in recall completion rates for many manufacturers in recent months.

Vehicle safety is one of the core missions of my Commerce subcommittee, and I encourage all Kansans to pay attention to recall notices on your vehicles and call the closest dealership for a repair if needed. You can look up whether your vehicle is subject to open recall at www.NHTSA.gov or 1-888-327-4236. Video of our hearing in its entirety is available here.

Meeting with KFB During National Ag Week
I enjoyed speaking with the Kansas Farm Bureau in D.C. this week on National Ag Day. Our discussion touched on transportation, immigration, trade, taxes, healthcare, infrastructure, energy and more. In the midst of National Ag Week, and as our farmers and ranchers continue recovering from recent wildfires and celebrate rainfall this week for the first time in months, we also discussed the impact international food aid programs, federal regulations and the Farm Bill have on Kansas farmers and ranchers. I’m grateful for all of the Kansas farmers who work year-round to make certain we have food on our tables.

Discussing Suicide Prevention with National Guard Bureau Chief
I met with General Joseph Lengyel, Chief of the National Guard Bureau to discuss the great work being done by the Kansas National Guard and other Guardsmen across the country. We specifically discussed domestic operations that relied on Kansas Guardsmen during hurricane response efforts, as well as in our home state during wildfires that have caused significant damage. We also discussed suicide prevention, an issue of particular importance to me, among our military and veteran communities. Gen. Lengyel is working to eliminate suicide in the National Guard and I look forward to partnering with him to make certain our servicemembers, both past and present, have access to the resources they need. I will continue to be an ally to the National Guard, the Active and Reserve Components and the Department of Veterans Affairs in working toward reducing and eliminating servicemember and veteran suicide.

I enjoyed sharing the history of the statue pictured behind us, which is the original mold for the Kansa warrior statue atop the Kansas State Capitol dome in Topeka. The Kansa warrior was presented to me by The Adjutant General (TAG) of Kansas, MG Lee Tafanell, who works closely with Gen. Lengyel on behalf of Kansas Guardsmen.

Advocating for Kansas Priorities with Air Mobility Command Commander Gen. Everhart
On Tuesday, I met with Commander of Air Mobility Command General Carlton Everhart to discuss Kansas priorities in the United States Air Force: the potential selection of Forbes Field in Topeka to receive a KC-135 simulator and the delivery of KC-46A tankers to McConnell Air Force Base.

Gen. Everhart assured me that he remains committed to addressing the developmental delays that are plaguing the KC-46As, the next generation of the Air Force’s aerial refueling tankers. I expressed my concern regarding the continued delays impacting the delivery of KC-46As to airmen in Wichita and that the growing demand for aerial refueling missions is taking a toll on readiness of other tanker fleets. The Air Force must remain focused on getting the KC-46As delivered safely to provide our airmen with the capabilities they need to conduct missions around the globe.

I also wanted to make certain Gen. Everhart understood that the Kansas Air National Guard’s Forbes Field in Topeka is the best place to relocate a KC-135 simulator. The central location is a less costly solution that would help make certain that the necessary training capabilities remain easily accessible to the 190th Air Refueling Wing and other refueling units across the region in Iowa, Nebraska, Oklahoma and other locations. I requested more information from the Air Force and Air Mobility Command on the selection process of the KC-135 simulators and I expressed my desire to Gen. Everhart that Forbes Field should remain at the top of his list for potential relocation.

Introducing Postal Service Reform Legislation
The United States Postal Service (USPS) is in desperate need of stability in order to maintain its service to Kansans. On Thursday, I introduced the bipartisan Postal Service Reform Act of 2018 to stabilize, preserve and improve the Postal Service. Kansans expect and rely upon their mail being delivered in a timely fashion and Congress must supply the Postal Service with the tools necessary to meet the expectations of Kansans and Americans across the country.

The USPS has a significant history in Kansas – dating back to the Pony Express – and it continues to play a vital role in the American economy, especially in Kansas’ rural communities. USPS’s deteriorating financial condition threatens its future and the well-being of the communities it serves. In order to provide certainty for rural America and protect taxpayers, Congress must act to put the Postal Service on a more sustainable path. This legislation would provide some much-needed stability, preserving and improving mail services across Kansas and the country. I encourage my colleagues to support this bill to bring the Postal Service into the 21st century. Read more about the legislation here.

Priorities for Kansans Signed into Law
This week, Congress sent a legislative package to the president’s desk that includes a long list of priorities I have worked toward through my Military Construction and Veterans Affairs subcommittee chairmanship. This bill includes a much-needed pay raise for our servicemembers, a $3 billion increase in NIH funding, legislation and funding to curb school violence, a bill to reform the Federal Communications Commission and support rural broadband expansion, funding for the KC-46A tankers coming to McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, and a fix to section 199A of the tax bill for our farmers – all provisions I’ve vocally advocated for throughout this process. Read more about Kansas priorities included in the bill here.

Inman High School Students Combating Hunger
Living in the breadbasket of our nation, it can be difficult to comprehend the prevalence of hunger – yet hunger is real, and it threatens the future of millions of people every day. I’m proud that Kansans respond with compassion and a genuine desire to see people prosper in our own communities. Max Harman, an Inman High School student, has spent much of the last year raising money to provide tens of thousands of meals to people who struggle with hunger. Max raised over $12,500 from corporate sponsors and other groups throughout Kansas to fund a food packing service event at his school, and on Friday afternoon, Inman students packaged 50,000 meals – many of which will be provided to people in need from McPherson and Reno Counties.

These students exemplify the compassionate spirit of Kansans, and I commend them for their efforts to make this act of service come to fruition. Thanks, Max, for exhibiting such kindness and compassion for your neighbors, and thank you to all those who played a role in making this event possible. Thanks also to Max’s teacher, Kim Baldwin, for sharing this incredible story with me.

Senate Page from Andover
I enjoyed welcoming Hannah Geoffroy from Andover, who is serving as a Senate Page this semester in Washington, D.C., to my office on Thursday to hear more about her experience in the U.S. Capitol. The Senate Page program gives young people from across the country the opportunity to live and go to school in D.C. for a semester, where they get the chance to assist in the procedural workings of the Senate floor and deliver correspondence and legislative material on Capitol Hill. Hannah, a junior at Wichita Collegiate, learned about the Page program from a former Kansas Senate Page and applied for this program through my office to learn more about how our federal government operates. Hannah is an outstanding young woman and I was proud to recommend her.

Hannah told me that this semester’s Senate Pages – both republican and democrat – get along nicely and enjoy discussing politics with each other. We can all learn a little about civil discourse from these young leaders. Hannah, I hope you enjoy your experience here in D.C., and I look forward to seeing you on the Senate floor.
Buhler High School Students Perform on Capitol Steps
Thanks to Buhler High School students and band instructor Eric Stambaugh for meeting with me on the Capitol steps and for the impromptu concert! The 117 band members also performed four concert band songs at the Lincoln Memorial. You all are the next generation of leaders and I look forward to seeing all you’ll accomplish. Watch the video of their performance here.

Thanking Merlin and Barbara Dennis for 40 Years of Helping Kansas Students Visit DC
Merlin and Barbara Dennis from Phillipsburg have helped organize United States Capitol tours for 3,200 Kansas students over the past 40 years. I am grateful for all they’ve done to help provide Kansans the opportunity to see our nation’s history firsthand and have enjoyed working with them during my time in Congress. I wish them the best as they prepare for retirement and hope they’ll still come visit the Capitol building.

Remembering Carl Koster
I am saddened by the passing of former Cheney Mayor Carl Koster. A true public servant, Carl was a pillar of his community and will be missed by all who knew him. His dedication to Cheney was well-known, and he made friends easily – I remember once asking Carl to help organize one of my townhalls in Sedgwick County and it turned into a standing-room-only event, I suspect because of the number of folks who attended because Carl personally asked them to. Throughout the years I knew Carl, I enjoyed seeing him at the Sedgwick County Fair Parade in Cheney. I joked with attendees that my goal was to get as warm of a reception as the Mayor, but Carl always set the bar too high. Robba and I will miss him and extend our prayers to his friends and family.

Kansans in the Office

American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus
Justin Marsh of Olathe

American Health Information Management Association
Ann Nowlin of Salina
Doreen Koch of Wichita
Elizabeth Morgenroth of Lawrence
Jackie Entzminger of Shawnee
Richard Ryan of Lawrence
Rebecca Quinn of Shawnee
Seth Katz of Overland Park

American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Dustin Tireman of Douglas
Minisa Childers of Wichita

Brain Aneurysm Foundation
Barry Holmes of Overland Park

City of Dodge City
Cherise Tieben of Dodge City
Corey Keller of Dodge City
Ernestor De La Rosa of Dodge City
Joyce Warshaw of Dodge City
Jan Scoggins of Dodge City
J.D. Gilbert of Dodge City
Michael Burns of Dodge City
Tara Burkhart of Dodge City
Tara Schrader of Dodge City

City of Garden City
Lona Duvall of Garden City
Matt Allen of Garden City
Myca Bunch of Garden City
Dan Fanhauser of Garden City

City of Liberal
Ada Linenbroker of Liberal
Chris Ford of Liberal
Chris Linenbroker of Liberal
CJ Wettstein of Liberal
Darrel Webb of Liberal
Debbie Giskie of Liberal
Holli Horyna of Liberal
Linda Wettstein of Liberal
Nathan McCaffrey of Liberal
Rozelle Webb of Liberal
Taylor Harden of Liberal
Tony Martinez of Liberal

Dialysis Patient Citizens
Mike Guffey of Overland Park

Golf Course Superintendent’s Association of America
Robert Hellend of Lawrence

Kansas Association of Gifted Talented and Creative
Bonnie Houk of Girard
Connie Staley of Mulvane
Jessica LaFollette of Kansas City 
Laura Linstra of Olathe
Leigh Johnson of Hesston
Nancy Thomas of El Dorado

Kansas Chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America
Jo Ella Hoye of Lenexa

Kansas Farm Bureau
Steve Porubery of Topeka
Daniel Korber of Seneca

Kansas Home Care & Hospice Association
Jane Kelly of Topeka
Carol Whitechair of Abilene

Kansas Podiatric Medical Association
Corin Wilde of Pittsburg
Nancy Thomas of El Dorado
Jessica LaFolette of Kansas City
Connie Stanley of Kansas City
Leigh Johnson of Hesston

Kansas Society for Clinical Libraries
Ardena Carlyon of Junction City
Mike Guffey of Overland Park
Carol and John Shearer of Manhattan
Letycia Nunez Argloe of Lenexa
Cheryl Lippert of Great Bend
Linda Hickok of Belle Plaine

Crystal Packard of Ellsworth
Debra Zehr of Lawrence
Eileen McGivern of Lawrence
Michael Greene of Overland Park
Nate Glendening of Stockton
Rachel Monger of Topeka

March for Our Lives
Joan Wagnon of Topeka

Mid-America Lumbermens Association
Jim Bishop of Bonner Springs

Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research
Clifford Inbody of Kansas City
Joan Jones of Kansas City
Logan Dover of Overland Park
Ronald Dover of Overland Park

National Association of Conservation District
Bill Simshauser of Lakin

National Association of Development Organization
Diane Hrabe of Hill City
Randall Hrabe of Hill City

National Association of Secondary School Principals
Jacque Feist of Dodge City
John Befort of Ellis
Patrick Schroeder of Kanopolis

National Association of Wheat Growers
Guorong Zhang of Manhattan

National Community Action Foundation
Richard Jackson of Ottawa

National Diaper Bank Network
Liz Sutherlin of Kansas City
Rachel Stetson of Kansas City

National Federation of Republican Women
Brenda Smith of Salina
Linda Smith of Salina
Roberta Tessendorf of Kansas City

National Pest Management Association
Diana Carlin of Lawrence
Sara Thurston of Manhattan
Rachel Markowitz of Overland Park
Tiffany Learned of Lawrence

Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
Abby Schifman of Topeka
Christine Montgomery of Valley Falls
Daniel Kirzane of Overland Park
Eve Schifman of Topeka
Hannah Rock of Overland Park
Jack Reeves of Leawood
Lily Wagner of Leawood
Maddy Wolfe of Manhattan
Sam Margolies of Manhattan

Save the Children Action Network
Heather Hubbard of Lawrence
Jennifer Howerton of Overland Park
Maggie Vinduska of Lawrence
Rebecca Karber of Lawrence
Justin Mason of Olathe
Megan Sheelry of Kansas City
Ron Wilson of Manhattan

Southwest Council of Agribusiness
Dennis McNinch of Arnold
Greg Krissek of Manhattan

Fort Leavenworth School District USD 207
Kevin McDermed of Atchison

US Travel Association
Gloria Moore of Barnes
Jan Stevens of Dodge City
Kevin Fern of Shawnee
Linda Craghead of Alma
Natalie Bright of Shawnee

Michael Armstrong of Lenexa

Wichita Area Technical College-Aviation Technical Education Council
James Hall of Andover

Capitol Tour
Johnny Adame of Wichita
Olivia Banzet of Topeka
Adelaide Boedeker of Lawrence
Emily Boedeker of Lawrence Park
Mark Boedeker of Lawrence
Scott Christiansen of Arma
Andrew Davis of Andover
Ben Davis of Andover
Cole Davis of Andover
Janice DeBauge of Lawrence
Harold Engle of Madison
Hunter Engle of Madison
Karen Engle of Madison Dorado
Makenna Engle of Madison
Nick Engle of Overland Park
Jackson Falkner of Wichita
Jeff Falkner of Wichita
Katherine Falkner of Wichita
Keele Falkner of Wichita
Klaire Falkner of Wichita
Dorothy Fernandez of Lawrence
William Fernandez of Lawrence
Kaitlyn Foster of Lawrence
Kristina Foster of Lawrence
Ed Guthrie of Wichita Bend
Ian Haas of Lawrence
Noah Haas of Lawrence
Jacob Harris of Wichita
David Harrison of Lawrence
Drew Harrison of Lawrence
Jennifer Harrison of Lawrence
Joel Harrison of Lawrence
Blake Hise of Wichita
Brooke Hise of Wichita
Cynthia Hise of Wichita
Darren Hise of Wichita
Sirana Jamkartanian of Wichita
Blake Kaiser of Marion
David Kaiser of Marion
Shelley Kaiser of Marion
Abby Kamunge of Wichita
Amanda Keen of El Dorado
Erin Kellerman of Leawood
Kevin Kellerman of Leawood
Nancy Kellerman of Leawood
Tim Kellerman of Leawood
Daisy Kraus of Topeka
Isabella Leighton of Wichita
Stacey Leighton of Wichita
Xander Leighton of Wichita
Dianna Lingg of Goddard 
Malachi Lingg of Goddard
Tom Lingg of Goddard
Keele Loyd of Topeka
Emmett Loyd of Topeka
Jacque Loyd of Topeka
Susie Loyd of Topeka
Ward Loyd of Topeka
Rachael McWilliams of Leavenworth
Robert McWilliams of Leavenworth
Hayleigh Mendoza of Marion
Kendall Michaels of Bonner Springs
Kylie Michaels of Spring Hill
Carson Miller of Lenexa
Dione Miller of Lenexa
Scott Miller of Lenexa Hills
Corey Moomaw of Dighton
Dan Moomaw of Dighton
Lisa Moomaw of Dighton
Derek Moomaw of Great Bend
Brooke Morris of El Dorado
Alixandrea Orrick of Overland park 
Caryn Oyler of Lawrence
Laura Oyler of Lawrence
Lynn Oyler of Lawrence
Allie Paulsen of Wichita
Gene Paulsen of Wichita
Sarah Poinsett of Wichita
William Pointer of Kansas Park
Amanda Purdom of Manhattan
Eric Purdom of Manhattan
Katelyn Purdom of Manhattan Park
Madeline Purdom of Manhattan
Tim Reeves of Overland Park
Vanessa Reeves of Overland Park
Xingian Ren of Hays
Colton Richards of Pittsburg
Melanie Roberts of Overland Park
Angel Rojas of Overland Park
Rick Rojas of Overland Park
Anthony Scognamillo of Wichita
Ben Scognamillo of Wichita
Roman Scognamillo of Wichita
Zoe Scognamillo of Wichita
Carol Shearer of Manhattan
John Shearer of Manhattan
Addie Smith of Manhattan
Canaan Smith of Manhattan
Eryn Smith of Manhattan
Jeff Smith of Manhattan
Micah Smith of Manhattan
Junwen Su of Hays
Andrea Suarez of Topeka
Stanley Sutton of Topeka
Ron Turner of Augusta
Sue Turner of Augusta
Elisa Waldman of Overland Park
Geordie Waldman of Overland Park
Noah Waldman of Overland Park
Stuart Waldman of Overland Park
Julie Weaver of Wichita
William Weaver of Wichita
Robert Whelero of Fort Scott
Alex Young of Wichita
Valerie Young of Wichita
Tianyu Zhang of Hays

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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