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.
Reforming and Modernizing our Nation’s Water Infrastructure
On Wednesday, the Senate voted 99-1 to reform and modernize our nation’s water infrastructure with passage of the America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018. From flood protection to modernizing our drinking water systems, this legislation will address critical components of Kansas’ infrastructure that are far too often taken for granted. Our farmers, ranchers and manufacturers rely on our ports and waterways for access to markets around the world.
With more than 60 percent of our grain exports moving through America’s inland waterways, along with a multitude of other commodities and products, this legislation will benefit Kansas agriculture and stakeholders across a number of industries. In addition, by increasing local involvement and providing more feasible cost-sharing arrangements with Kansans, this legislation delivers much needed progress for more efficient and innovative solutions to address our infrastructure needs. To read more on this important legislation, click here.

Meeting with AUSA Officials Representing Fort Riley
On Tuesday, I welcomed Chief of Staff of the Army General Mark Milley and Undersecretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy to the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) Fort Riley-Central Kansas Chapter event during the AUSA’s annual meetings in Washington, D.C. I was pleased to spend an evening alongside Kansans representing our Army communities and the Army’s most senior leaders who have an appreciation for the tremendous support our state provides soldiers and their families. I’m thankful General Milley and Undersecretary McCarthy shared how invaluable Fort Leavenworth and Fort Riley are to the future of the Army, and General Milley noted that Fort Riley will experience an increase in soldiers over the next few years as the Army continues to grow in end-strength. A strong national defense requires a ready and robust Army and I will continue to work to make certain the Army is fully funded, equipped and ready to protect our country.

Questioning Witnesses on Data Privacy Regulations
On Wednesday, I participated in a Senate Commerce Committee hearing to discuss how new data privacy rules like the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation and the recently adopted California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 have impacted consumers and what they believe is needed in order to have effective data privacy standards. There are many opinions on how these standards ought to look, which is why I have been working with my colleagues to collect the thoughts of all interested parties, including consumer advocates, industry representatives and academics, to identify responsible federal privacy standards. 

As chairman of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security, I am committed to ensuring that consumers’ personal data is protected from data misuse, while also establishing certainty for businesses to create jobs, innovate and compete domestically and internationally. To view my questioning, click here.


Requesting Information from Google on Data Vulnerability
On Thursday, I joined other Senate Commerce Committee leaders in requesting a copy of an internal memo and answers about a security vulnerability from Google CEO Sundar Pichai, which placed private user information at risk. The memo, according to press reports, advocated against public disclosure of the vulnerability on grounds that it would attract the potential attention of regulators and Congress. As chairman of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security, I will remain vigilant in identifying data practices that harm consumers, while aiming to provide long-term regulatory solutions that bolster consumer protections without unduly harming innovation in the internet ecosystem. To read the letter, click here

Participating in KSU Office Park Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
Friday evening, I joined the KSU Foundation to cut a ribbon for the new building, Phase II, of the K-State Office Park. Phase II is the second of four buildings planned for the K-State Office Park, and the multi-phase office park project enables the KSU Foundation to lease space to industry partners and leaders while creating a pipeline for student talent. Upon completion of the fourth phase, the office park will total 240,000 square feet and 1,000 new jobs as part of the combined 56-acre world-class ecosystem of innovative research and academic growth adjacent to the university in the office and research parks. During my remarks at the event, I discussed the importance of the relationship between private industry and our unviersities, and how we can all work together to create an innovative and educated workforce that meets the demands of our state’s ever-changing economy. A special thanks to Greg Lohrentz, and Kate Ryan for inviting me to join this special occasion.

Touring Rooks County Health Center
On Friday, I was in my hometown of Plainville to tour the Rooks County Health Center. During our tour, I was able to learn more about the facility’s new MRI suite. Having an in-house MRI suite is rare among critical access hospitals like Rooks County Health Center, and folks were eager to share the positive impact of the new equipment. Additionally, we saw and discussed the hospital’s swing bed program and the physical, occupational, speech and respiratory therapy programs. I was happy to visit with a number of employees who were interested in hearing more about veterans’ healthcare, the ability to streamline services, reimbursement and patient satisfaction. Thank you to Rooks County CEO AJ Thomas for arranging my visit and to MRI Technologist Randy Richmeier for leading our tour. Thanks also to Michele Hinger, Justin Thummel and Dr. Daniel Sanchez for joining our tour and discussion.

Highlighting the FAA Reauthorization and Visiting with Kansas City FAA Officials

On Thursday, I spoke on the Senate floor to highlight the recently-passed FAA Reauthorization. This five-year, bipartisan landmark legislation will enhance air travel for many Americans and provide stability for all those working in the aviation sector. During this speech, I highlighted my work and significant provisions for Kansas that were included in the legislation. To view more on these provisions, click here. To watch my floor speech, click here.

On Monday, I was in Kansas City where I joined FAA officials during their executive meeting. During the meeting, we discussed a number of topics including the FAA reauthorization bill and the significant impact it will have on the FAA’s responsibilities, our success in the fight against air traffic control privatization, protecting general aviation and supporting small and rural airports. Thank you to FAA Regional Administrator Joe Miniace and Deputy Regional Administrator John Speckin for arranging my visit and for the productive conversation.

Touring the University of Kansas Health Systems Emergency Department
Following my meeting with FAA officials on Monday, I was at the University of Kansas Health System Kansas City campus to tour their emergency department and meet with transplantation officials. I was pleased to hear from many hospital employees on things being done in the emergency department to protect vulnerable populations and improve outcomes for the many Kansans who utilize this world-class facility. During my tour of the emergency department, I heard many concerns about the growing impact of the opioid epidemic on the hospital, as well as the constant need for quality mental health services. Additionally, I met with transplantation officials to hear an update on the system’s diverse transplant program and current challenges they are facing, and we also discussed ways that we can work together to increase organ donations across the state and country. Kansas City and the whole state are grateful for the talented individuals who work at the University of Kansas Health System and their dedicated work to care for Kansans. Thank you to Health System Kansas City Division COO Chris Ruder for leading my tour and to Vice President of Operative Services Dr. Sean Kumer for discussing the transplantation program. 

Now Accepting Spring Internship Applications
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 Spring 2018 are due Saturday, October 27. 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.

Kansans in the Office

AUSA Fort Riley
John Armbrust of Manhattan
Craig Bender of Junction City
Ben Bennett of Junction City
Allen Dinkel of Junction City
Mike Dodson of Manhattan
Ron Fehr of Manhattan
Phyllis Fitzgerald of Junction City
Diane Gaede of Manhattan
Pat Landes of Junction City
Linda Morse of Manhattan
Susan Moyer of Junction City
Mike Shilling of Manhattan
Bill Turner of Manhattan 

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City
Coni Fries of Kansas City

Kylie Hawes of Topeka
Tayln McKenzie of Smith Center
Madison Shotton of Pomona
Kasan Williams of Wichita

IBC Bank
Dennis Nixon of Laredo

Kansas Farm Bureau
Gimmie Jo Jansonius of Long Island


Kansas Pastors
Rev. Lonny Satterfield of Wichita

Presbyterian Mission Agency
Doug Tilton of Prairie Village

Capitol Tour
Marshall Adams of Lawrence
Kevin Albrecht of Shawnee
Holli Albrecht of Shawnee
Rick Backet of Lawrence
Kristi Bergeron of Lenexa
Dan Bergeron of Lenexa
Dr. Casey Cordts of Lawrence
Michael Duncan of Lawrence
Kent Ficken of Hays
Joan Ficken of Hays
David Fleming of Overland Park
Claire Foy of Hutchinson
Jordan Gardner of Lawrence
Michael Garitz of Lawrence
Nicky Inskeep of Eudora
Kjersten Inskeep of Eudora
Gerald Kennedy of Plainville
Sonya Kennedy of Plainville
Howard Midgley of Topeka
Jason Miles of Olathe
Kent Oleen of Manhattan
Lana Oleen of Manhattan
Grady Petit of Lawrence
Steve Ray of Olathe
Holly Ray of Olathe
Nicole Richter of Lawrence
Roger Rochel of Tonganoxie
Deb Rochel of Tonganoxie
John Rundle of Lenexa
Connie Rundle of Lenexa
Dana Soetaert of Lawrence
Shaun Toy of Lawrence
Rachel Witt of Lawrence


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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