Kansas Common Sense


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JCC & Village Shalom Shooting Suspect Highlights Need for Review of Anti-Recidivism Policies at the Department of Justice
On Friday I called on Attorney General Eric Holder to conduct a review of the Justice Department’s policies regarding plea bargains and witness protection oversight of violent criminals. I began to investigate this topic after learning troubling details about Frazier Glenn Miller, the man accused of killing three people in Johnson County this April. Miller has an extensive criminal history and was previously deemed by the Department of Justice as a serious threat to society with a “callous disregard” for court orders. Despite this assessment, he received a plea bargain in 1987 and significantly reduced prison sentence, a 115-year maximum reduced to a five-year minimum, in exchange for offering to cooperate with the federal government in the prosecution of related criminal cases. After serving just three years in prison, it appears Miller benefited from federally funded witness protection and continued to publicly discuss killing in the name of white-supremacy and anti-Semitism. 

Frazier Glenn Miller’s criminal history and relationship with the Department of Justice demonstrate the need to review federal anti-recidivism efforts and plea bargain policies related to violent criminals. While a policy review and increased oversight cannot ease the deep pain and loss felt in Johnson County, it may result in an improved judicial system that could prevent violence from striking another community. Click here to read my full letter to Attorney General. Click here to read Kansas City Star's coverage of this letter.

U.S. Beef Exports
I was pleased to see the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that Hong Kong and the United States have reached an agreement to fully reopen Hong Kong’s borders to U.S. beef and beef products. The policy change comes 11 years after American beef was banned in Hong Kong amidst concerns about a positive case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) detected in the United States – a chronic degenerative disease affecting the central nervous system of cattle. The new standard makes Hong Kong consistent with the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) guidelines and will allow beef imports from U.S. cattle up to 30 months of age. 

American farmers and ranchers produce the highest quality agricultural products in the world and Hong Kong’s new guidelines are a step in the right direction in regard to internationally accepted, science-based trading standards. The guidelines will create more jobs and revenue in Kansas and our country, while providing foreign customers affordable access to our products. Hong Kong is currently the fourth largest market for U.S. beef and beef product exports, reaching historically high sales in 2013 with $823 million in import purchases of U.S. beef. In the first four months of 2014, U.S. beef and beef product exports to Hong Kong topped $307 million. Click here to learn more. 

Chief of the National Guard Bureau General Grass
I met with General Frank Grass, the Chief of the National Guard Bureau, this week to discuss a number of important budgetary issues that could impact the readiness and missions of our Kansas National Guard. General Grass is a Missouri Guardsman with strong ties to the Midwest. He understands the importance of preserving missions that are unique to Kansas. The topics included retaining capabilities in the Readiness Sustainment Maintenance Sites (RSMS) and assessing new operations that would complement the skills and training of Kansas Air Guardsmen in the future.

The General was extremely complimentary of the work conducted by civilians and Kansas Guard in the Kansas Intelligence Fusion Center, which he visited in August 2013. Specifically, we agreed that it is critical to grow cyber capabilities to make certain our military is ready to combat cyber threats. General Grass also seemed eager to learn about the distinctive Air National Guard cyber unit in Kansas — the 177th Information Aggressor Squadron — at McConnell Air Force Base. I look forward to working with him to preserve the unique capabilities and skills Kansas National Guardsmen offer our country and our great state.

National History Day Competition
On Wednesday, I had the pleasure of visiting with 6th graders from Manhattan’s Woodrow Wilson and Marlatt Elementary Schools. They were in Washington, D.C., for the National History Day (NHD) Competition attended by 2,900 students from across the country. Each of the Kansas students qualified to compete nationally by placing first or second in the Kansas History Day competition. Students chose historical topics and conducted research through libraries, archives, museums, oral history interviews and historic sites, and they presented their projects earlier this week. Woodrow Wilson Elementary Student Levi Nutter placed in the final round of the competition in the Junior Individual Website Category and was recognized for work on World War II History. I enjoyed visiting with this impressive group of young individuals about our shared passion for history and wish them all the best.

Accepting Applications for Fall 2014 Internships
My office is accepting applications for congressional internships in my Washington, D.C., and Kansas offices for fall 2014. A legislative internship is an opportunity for students to work closely with Senate staff on a variety of issues on behalf of Kansans and gain professional experience. Legislative interns will gain knowledge of the Congress’s legislative process and gain the skills and knowledge necessary for future career pursuits.

The application deadline for fall 2014 internships is July 8, 2014. Applications may be obtained and completed under the “Services” section of my website at www.moran.senate.gov. Applicants should submit a completed application form, resume, academic transcript, two letters of recommendation and a cover letter explaining their interest in public service and detailing a policy issue of personal importance. Please submit required materials to: internships@moran.senate.gov.

Air Force Academy Board of Visitors
After being appointed to the Air Force Academy Board of Visitors this Spring, I participated in my first meeting as a member of the Board this week. Following the graduation of the Class of 2014, we discussed the success and demographics of the graduating class and potential areas of improvement. I am proud to serve on the Board of Visitors of the Air Force Academy – a group of civilians, military leaders and Members of Congress who advise the leadership of the Air Force on Air Force Academy issues. It has always been an honor to nominate Kansas high school students who wish to attend one of our country’s military academies. I welcome this new opportunity to serve on the Board of Visitors, and look forward to working to improve the education and training of future leaders of our military and country.

Jewell County Hospital
While back in Kansas this weekend, I stopped in Mankato to visit Jewell County Hospital (JCH). JCH is a 22-bed Critical Access Hospital with an attached 22-bed long-term care unit. The hospital also operates a rural health clinic, providing patients access to primary care services in Mankato. JCH has been serving Mankato and the surrounding area since 1968. As a member of the Senate Appropriations health subcommittee, it is very useful for me to visit Kansas hospitals and talk with health care providers to learn more about how they utilize resources to care for patients, many of which are spread across large areas.

During this visit, we discussed the importance of JCH and other rural hospitals to the survival and success of many Kansas communities. We visited about concerns policies proposed by the Obama Administration that would reduce the number of CAHs in Kansas and across the country. CAHs and other rural hospitals make up a significant component of our state’s health care delivery system and are also one of the largest employers in their towns. Any policies that threaten the survival of these hospitals endanger Kansans’ access to health care in their own communities and could severely ration care in rural America. I continue to oppose these and other policy proposals that would disproportionately affect health care access in Kansas and other rural states. Thank you to JCH CEO Doyle McKimmy for hosting my visit.

Another Town Hall Meeting
I continued my Kansas Listening Tour with a stop in Smith Center. The conversations focused on issues veterans are facing with the VA, the unrest in Iraq, and the need for rural healthcare. Thanks to the nearly 20 Smith County residents for attending and sharing feedback on the critical issues facing Kansas and the nation. The issues I focus on and the work I do in Washington, D.C., are largely based on the conversations I have with Kansans during these town hall meetings. 

Kansas in the Office
CNH Industrial North America Plant Managers
Jeff Bolander of Wichita 

Kansas Soybean Commission
Dennis Gruenbacher of Andale
Suzanne Gruenbacher of Andale
Lance Rezac of Onaga
Gene Binder of Kansas City
Dana Schulz of Topeka
Dennis Hupe of Topeka 

Protecting Child Nutrition Programs
Molly Krager of Prairie Village 

Pancreatic Cancer Action Network
Amy Beverline-Coleman of Shawnee
Michelle Fender of Lawrence
Marvin Kleeb of Overland Park
Jessica Pfaltzgraff of Gardner 

American Factoring Association
Josh Goode of Olathe 

National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization
Sandy Kuhlman of Athol
Ray Berry of Topeka
Stephanie Fisher of Topeka
Arloa Barnes of Smith Center
Joe Barnes of Smith Center 

Competitor Carriers Association
Stephen Bye of Overland Park 

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City
David Gentile of Mission Hills
Coni Fries of Overland Park 

Global Debt Registry
David Mertz of Lenexa 

National History Day
Alex Andresen of Manhattan
Carlos Aguero of Manhattan
Levi Nutter of Manhattan
Micah Stewart of Manhattan
Zoey Gates of Manhattan
Logan Linenberger of Manhattan
Randall Gates of Manhattan
Anissa Hudak Andresen of Manhattan
Milissa Linenberger of Manhattan
Shaun Linenberger of Manhattan
Mason Gates of Manhattan
Renee Gates of Manhattan
Jennifer Stewart of Manhattan
Gail Nutter of Manhattan
Shane Linenberger of Manhattan 

US Global Leadership Coalition
Hophine Bwosinde of Lenexa
Nelson Collet of Leawood 

Community Mortgage Lenders of America
Mark McDougald of Overland Park 

Cottonwood Incorporated
Melissa Franklin of Lawrence
Sue Zapanic of Lawrence
Steve Steinbach of Lawrence 

National Patient Advocate Foundation
Robine Lunkwitz of Wichita 

National Association of Truck Stop Operators
Guy Walker of Salina
Mark Augustine of Salina 

American Pizza Community
Mary Adolf of Wichita 

Mick Urban of Topeka 

US State Department American Civics Center
Nouran Abdelaziz of Bonner Springs
I Andracana of Topeka
Indah Dini of Tonganoxie
Mustofa Lubis of Overland Park
Angela Nkowua of Wichita
Mendes DaSilva of Overland Park
Shaun Gouws of Marquette
Larry Mann of Hoisington 

National Youth Leadership Conference
Lindsay Crist of Lincoln
Joseph Harms of Lawrence
Ashley Wollesen of Lincoln 

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service
Selena Sujoldzic of Wichita 

Manhattan Chamber of Commerce
Lyle Butler of Manhattan
Terry Harts of Manhattan
Lucy Williams of Manhattan
Dixie Roberts of Manhattan
Sue Peterson of Manhattan
Dick Carter of Topeka
Trip Carter of Topeka 

American Academy of Pediatrics
Molly Krager of Prairie Village 

Kansas Kids @ GEAR UP
Alex Hughes of Scammon 

Capitol Tour
Penny Conard of Nickerson
Bret Bookless of Whitewater
Dale McKemey of Overland Park
Jane McKemey of Overland Park
Charles Haag of Oberlin
Beth Haag of Oberlin
Mark Wiemers of Manhattan
Laurie Wiemers of Manhattan
Hunter Weemers of Manhattan
Terry Edwards of Manhattan
Brody Brown of Manhattan
Julie Colley of Manhattan
Terry Stevens from Overland Park
Jackson Stevens of Overland Park
Debby Guttery of Osborne
Bonnie Lou Thompson of Osborne
Sharon Cooley of Alton
Justin Stowe of Topeka
Megan Stowe of Topeka
Paige Ashley of Tonganoxie
Linda Ochs of Topeka
Michele Martens of Buhler
Jackson Laurie of Wichita
Cyrus Laurie of Wichita

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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