Kansas Common Sense


Welcome to “Kansas Common Sense.” Thanks for your continued interest in receiving my weekly newsletter. Please feel free to forward it on to your family and friends if it would interest them.

Healthcare Update
It is clear that the process used to develop the healthcare legislation we considered last week was flawed, and produced legislation that never had sufficient support. Our work is not done and my goal is to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act with solutions that reduce government involvement in Americans' health care decisions, keep rural hospital doors open, maintain safeguards for preexisting conditions, protect the elderly and those with disabilities and lower costs for all Kansans. I hope we can do better if we put politics aside and allow the full legislative process to work.

Urging the Senate to Support Veterans Community Care
The Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Veterans Choice Program was established in 2014 in the wake of the VA wait times scandal, and many veterans in Kansas and across the nation depend on this program so that they can access care in their communities. Demand for the Veterans Choice Program has surpassed the VA’s expectations, and as a result of the program’s success, the program is now in danger of running out of funds far sooner than expected. We cannot allow this to happen. On Thursday I spoke on the Senate floor urging my colleagues to take swift action to pass legislation to extend the program, which assists veterans when the VA is unable to provide care or the veteran has to travel long distances to access their care. I’ve partnered with colleagues to put funds back into the program, making certain that our veterans do not experience a lapse in care as a result of the VA’s financial mismanagement. One of the most important ways we honor our nation’s heroes is by following through on our commitment to providing the benefits they deserve, including access to timely, quality healthcare. I will continue to urge my colleagues to take action in the coming days to support a program veterans like, need, and deserve. Please watch my remarks for more information.

Honoring Senator Bob Dole with the Congressional Gold Medal
Senator Bob Dole is a role model for me, and this week I was honored to join the Kansas delegation in introducing legislation to award him with the Congressional Gold Medal – the highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions given by Congress.

Americans know of the sacrifices he made on their behalf during WWII, and every Kansan knows that he’s been there for them every day since. Sen. Dole has dedicated his entire life to public service and it’s hard to imagine anyone more deserving of the Congressional Gold Medal. Through his dedication to issues from veterans, to child education, to food aid across the world, he reminds us all that one person is capable of making meaningful changes to people’s lives with long-lasting effect.

Introducing the Viewer and Listener Protection Act of 2017
Earlier this year, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) held a spectrum incentive auction in an effort to efficiently allocate spectrum resources to radio and TV broadcasters nationwide. As a result of the auction, nearly 1,000 TV and radio stations are required to relocate to new channels in order to free up spectrum for communications companies enhancing their networks and improving service. As more FCC data from the process has become available over time, it is clear that the current funds allocated to the relocating broadcasters are not sufficient, and I remain very concerned that rural America will be disproportionately harmed if Congress does not take action to provide adequate resources and an appropriate timeline for the relocation of these stations. On Wednesday, I introduced the bipartisan Viewer and Listener Protection Act of 2017 to establish a fund within the Treasury to assist these broadcasters with their relocation expenses. As a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, I will continue efforts to protect and preserve the rural communities served by broadcasters who provide vital services such as news, weather and traffic, as well as entertainment, to millions of Americans nationwide. Please click here to read the text of the bill.

Discussing the EARN Act with Kansas FFA Students
I met with Kansas FFA Association President Eli Ohlde of Clyde and Vice President John Kennedy of Soldier this week to talk about my bill, S. 671, the Agriculture Students Encourage, Acknowledge, Reward, Nurture (EARN) Act. This bill would create a tax exemption for the first $5,000 of income that students who are 18 years of age or younger earn from projects completed through 4-H or FFA. The change would enable students to keep more of the modest income they earn, which can then be invested in education savings or future agricultural projects. According to the latest agricultural census, the average age of the American farmer is 58 years old, and it is trending upward. Our ag producers are as productive as ever, and we can demonstrate pride in our future farmers and ranchers by investing in the next generation. The ideals we want our kids to learn – hard work, perseverance and cooperation with others – are exemplified in American children growing up on farms across the country, and I will continue to advocate for policies that enable young people to continue their farming traditions.

Good News for K-State and the NIH
I am happy to see that Kansas State University has been awarded a $10.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to establish a Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) for psychological sciences. This is an important development that will help the university grow its research capacity and allow its researchers to contribute at a national level. This center will allow Kansas State to support cognitive, behavioral and neurobiological research, as well as improve their facilities, recruitment efforts and professional development efforts. This is an important addition to the research capabilities of our universities in Kansas, and I look forward to further developments as the Center of Excellence works on new discoveries to advance our nation’s research efforts.

Townhall Meeting and After Harvest Czech Festival in Wilson
Beginning in the 1870s, Czech immigrants from Bohemia migrated to Wilson to work on the railroad, establishing the community’s culture and eventual designation as the “Czech Capital of Kansas.” I spent Saturday morning in Wilson hearing from Ellsworth Country residents at a townhall meeting and joining their 57th Annual After Harvest Czech Festival. This longstanding tradition celebrates the town's heritage. 

During our meeting at Grandma's Soda Shop, I heard from about 60 residents and shared about some of the issues being worked on in Washington, D.C., such as healthcare reform, supporting the Veterans Choice program, our growing federal debt, ensuring success for our community banks and encouraging economic strength. Thank you for the delicious kolaches and engaging conversation.

Following the meeting, I participated in the community parade. This year’s grand marshal plaque was awarded to the family of Marlin and Louanna Robinson, longtime community leaders who for two decades owned and published the Wilson World, by their son Roger. My admiration to Marlin and Louanna for a life well lived. I also got to meet reigning Kansas Czech-Slovak Queen Sara Vytlacil and Kansas Czech Queen Pageant Winner Alisha Ptacek of Salina.

I appreciate Paul Turvey, son in law of Dr. Dennis Kepka, for driving me through the parade. Thanks also to Brian Boisvert, general manager of Wilson Communications as well as Kate Schiermeyer and Susan Kriley, festival co-chairs, for arranging my participation.

Hosting Legislative Interns on a Capitol Tour
I brought the current group of interns in my Washington, D.C. office on a tour around the U.S. Capitol building last week to spend some extra time with them before the conclusion of their internships. I appreciate the hard work these talented young people have put in during their time with my office assisting staff and Kansans. Pictured here are Carly Wright of Clearwater, Miranda Moore of Pittsburg, Sana Cheema of Hays, Ashton Fee of Hutchinson, Breta Alstrom of Cheney, and Drew Hertel of Hays.

Kansans in the Office

Kathy Peterson

American Legion
Ryan Harra of Olathe
Carson Krakar of Olathe
Thane Chastain of Wichita
Andy Behnkendorf of Kansas City
Morgan Savage of Leavenworth
Bello Provence of Fort Scott

Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce
Jim Gordon of Manhattan
Wayne Sloan of Manhattan
Lisa Sisley of Manhattan
Matt Crocker of Manhattan
Larie Schoap of Manhattan
Sue Peterson of Manhattan
Dick Carter of Topeka

Darryl Carrington of Wichita
Kay Monk-Morgan of Wichita

National Automatic Merchandising Association
John Barnes of Overland Park
Andy Dougherty of Overland Park

Farm Credit Services
Ron Bach of Jetmore
Janet Bailey of Manhattan
Tim Benoit of Damar
William Briggs of Gove
Randall Doll of Leon
Kenneth Gasper of Tipton
Craig Gebhard of Long Island
Gary Harshberger of Dodge City
Tony Horinek of Coby
Keith Kennedy of Hoxie
Bill Miller of Council Grove
Jeannine Mondero of Ness City
Catherine Moyer of Ulysses
Steve Powers of Chanute
Ronald Rahjes of Kensington
Sheri Resa of Lenexa
Vance Shay of Healy
Greg Somerhalder of Wichita
Kevin Swayne of Hays
Shane Tiffany of Allen
Scott Whittington of Burlington
Randy Wilson of Colby
Mark Wood of Colby

JDRF Children’s Congress
Keigan Lindsay of Olathe
Caden Lindsay of Olathe
Mary Clare Haplin of Leawood

FFA Officers
Eli Ohlde of Clyde
John Kennedy of Soldier

NFIB Young Entrepreneur Foundation
Paul Kaster of Leawood

Crop Insurance Professionals Association
Joni Jackson of Hays

School Social Work Association
Barbra Meyer of Wichita

Adam Wilkerson of Lenexa
Matt Rogers of Topeka
Daniel Green Halgh of Hutchinson
Andres Mata of Salina

National Council of Independent Living
Anthony Dustin Rorabaugh of Hays
Taden Zimmerman of Hays
Jaxon Zimmerman of Hays
Lakyn Zimmerman of Hays
Ava Zimmerman of Hays Angie
Kellie Whittenberg of Hays
Karen Gridley of Kansas City
Michael Riley of Kansas City
Gabe Mullen of Lawrence
Roger Frischenmeyer of Hutchinson
Rona Cellers of Hutchinson

Topeka Chamber of Commerce
Doug Gerber of Topeka
Matt Pivarnik of Topeka
Curtis Sneden of Topeka
Greg Schwerdt of Topeka
Jack Hession of Topeka

National Sorghum Producers
Dan Atkinsson of Stockton 

Kansas Wheat
Daniel Heady of Manhattan

International Association of Plastics Distribution
Susan Avery of Overland Park
Liz Novak of Overland Park

Wilson Telephone
Brian Boisvert of Wilson

Capitol Tour
Tom Glaser of Olathe
Mary Glaser of Olathe
Katherine Glaser of Olathe
Joe Glaser of Olathe
Tim Glaser of Olathe
Jessica Ruona of Augusta
Scott Rosebrook of Abilene
Shelley Rosebrook of Abilene
Mitchell Rosebrook of Abilene
Matthew Rosebrook of Abilene
Thomas Rosebrook of Abilene
Randy Combs of Deerfield
Kimberly Rosebrook of Abilene
Stacia Williams of Wichita
Chris Williams of Wichita
Makenna Williams of Wichita
Miles Williams of Wichtia
Stacey Smith of Hays
Jalen Smith of Hays
Dustin Rageth of McPherson
Quinlan Rageth of McPherson
Halle Opat of McPherson
Lyla Rageth of McPherson
Logan Ryff of Hope
Sarah Unruh of Hope
Phil Clark of Olathe
Garnett Hartman of Lakin
Ginger Hartman of Lakin
Kyle Hartman of Lakin
Kade Hartman of Lakin
Bill Newsome of Lawrence
Tecile Newsome of Lawrence
Charlie Newsome of Lawrence
Jason Carpenter of Shawnee
Suzanne Carpenter of Shawnee
Logan Carpenter of Shawnee
Jack Carpenter of Shawnee
Lane Carpenter of Shawnee
Dr. John Morris of Manhattan
Anna Morris of Manhattan

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.

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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