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.

Happy Easter to you and your family. I spent the day with family in Manhattan where we attended services at First Presbyterian Church and Robba played piano during the Easter Sunday service. 

Unfortunately, the holiday was marred for Christians worldwide by a devastating suicide bombing in Lahore, Pakistan. The terrorists responsible for the attack targeted a public park filled mostly with families gathered to observe the holiday. Acts of terror know no limit, and the hurt it leaves us feeling knows no depth. My heart goes out to the 72 victims and their loved ones. We must do all we can to root out those who would perpetrate such acts of unthinkable violence.

Pushing to Expand Coverage for Veterans Exposed to Agent Orange
I joined my Senate colleagues last week in urging VA Secretary Bob McDonald to extend the timeframe for presumption of exposure to Agent Orange. Currently, only certain veterans who served in the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) are granted a presumption of exposure to Agent Orange, which allows easier access to health care and benefits for conditions caused by the toxins. It is clear that veterans who served in the Korean DMZ are suffering from significant health conditions as a result of their exposure to toxic herbicides, whether they served during the test phases or the full scale phases, and we have a duty to provide health care to those who sacrificed for our nation. I am committed to making certain those exposed to toxic substances, no matter when they served, receive the care they need. To read more, click here

Attending Rotary Club in Manhattan
I stopped by Rotary Club Thursday afternoon in Manhattan where we heard from K-State students about their recent experiences traveling abroad. Rotary meetings reinforce a sense of community among its members, and I enjoyed the discussions I had with fellow Rotarians about troop strength levels, the value of technical education and continued concern regarding the fires in south central Kansas.

Touring Rural Health Care Facilities
This week I visited two hospitals and a medical clinic whose employees work hard each day to provide quality care to their communities. Kansans’ access to quality health care services often determines whether they can remain in the communities they call home. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Health Subcommittee, it is useful for me to visit our providers in the state to witness how they utilize resources to care for patients.

I visited Ness County Hospital, Kingman Community Hospital and Hoxie Medical Clinic and tour the facilities at each site. Among the topics discussed on my tours were how federal policies can enable rural health care facilities to continue to provide quality services to their communities and the important role of Critical Access Hospitals and Federally Qualified Health Centers in rural America. Thanks to Ness County Hospital Administrator Curt Thomas, Kingman Community Hospital CEO Ed Riley and Hoxie Medical Clinic Manager Pam Popp for hosting my visits.

Visiting Hutchinson-area Businesses
On my way through town, I had the chance to tour two businesses in Hutchinson: TECH, Inc. and Portfolio Recovery Associates. My first stop was at TECH, which helps facilitate successful and independent lives for the more than 400 Kansans with disabilities that benefit from their services. Thanks to Lacey Mills for helping coordinate my visit, Don Wornkey and Jim Preston for the great tour and everyone at TECH, Inc. for their contributions to the Hutch community. The work you do helps level the playing field for individuals with disabilities and makes a difference for so many throughout our state.

My next visit was to Portfolio Recovery Associates, which is a debt collection group that employs a large number of Kansans at their location in Hutchinson. I appreciated the tour I was given by Bill Armbruster and Jay Pratt and learning more about their contributions to the community.

Continuing My Kansas Listening Tour Stop
While back in Kansas during the state work period this week, I held eight town hall meetings to hear concerns and feedback on a variety of issues.

Ford County
I started off the week with a series of listening tour stops across south central Kansas, beginning in Dodge City on Monday. Nearly 40 Ford County residents gathered at the United Wireless Arena to discuss various topics affecting our nation, such as caring for our veterans, rural health care, education, the Supreme Court and the necessity of crop insurance for farmers to keep their operations afloat each year. I want to express my gratitude to Nathan Haskell and the rest of the Dodge City Rotary Club for opening their meeting up to the public so that we could have such a great discussion. It was also nice to have Ford County Commissioner Shawn Tasset in attendance.

Gray County
From Dodge City I traveled west to hear from Gray County citizens at the courthouse. Topics discussed by attendees ranged from veterans’ care, reining in government spending, the fight to delist the Lesser Prairie Chicken and my efforts to place new sanctions on Iran. I’d like to thank Gray County District Court Clerk Angela Bowlin for allowing us to gather inside the courtroom.

Hodgeman County
Later on Monday, I traveled north and had a lively discussion with Hodgeman County residents in Jetmore, where folks are very concerned about the direction of the country. One of the first topics was anger expressed over the listing of the Lesser Prairie Chicken under the Endagered Species Act which is creating burdens for oil and gas operations in southwestern Kansas. The conversation shifted to Social Security and Medicare solvency. I appreciate Sharyl MacNair and Rhonda Stithem for helping plan the town hall. Thanks to Hodgeman County Commissioners Marsha Ewy and Mick MacNair, as well as Sheriff Jared Walker for stopping by.

Edwards County
I finished my listening tour stops on Monday evening in Kinsley and heard from 25 citizens of Edwards County. The major topic discussed in Kinsley was President Obama’s state visit that day to Cuba. Edwards County residents seemed open to the idea of engaging in trade with Cuba, an effort that I believe will promote greater freedom among the Cuban people. I would like to thank Mike Padgham and the Kinsley Rotary Club for hosting the conversation. I also enjoyed seeing my friends Bill and Susan Roenbaugh there.

Kingman County
My Tuesday began with a listening tour stop in Kingman. Among the nearly 40 Kingman County residents in attendance were a number of veterans. Every conversation I have with a veteran is a welcome reminder of the nation’s obligation to serve these great Americans who have given so much for our country. Topics ranged from maintaining Critical Access Hospitals in our state, to gun control, and opposition to closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. My appreciation goes out to Courtney Hardgrave and the Kingman Rotary Club for hosting me and facilitating the town hall.

Pratt County

I drove from Kingman to Pratt where a crowd of more than 40 Kansans gathered at Pratt Community College to have a conversation. Pratt Community College President Mike Calvert started off by detailing the tremendous successes that the college has had in recent years in preparing students for life once they graduate. Our conversation began with a conversation about the Senate’s role in evaluating a Supreme Court nominee. I heard from individuals who care about issues like the minimum wage, the President’s visit to Cuba, defense of crop insurance and the importance of a robust national defense. I’d like to thank President Mike Calvert and the rest of the Pratt Community College administration for hosting the town hall.

Stafford County
Rounding out my Tuesday afternoon, I stopped in St. John to hear about issues important to a group of more than 25 Stafford County residents. We discussed veterans’ care, the Supreme Court, preserving religious liberty, the ongoing effort to defund Planned Parenthood and preserving the very special way of life here in Kansas. Thank you to Sharilyn McNickle and the Stafford County Farm Bureau for hosting the gathering.

Sheridan County
My final tour stop for the week was at the Sheridan County Courthouse in Hoxie. I want to thank the Sheridan County residents who took time out of their day to share their concerns with me. We discussed a variety of topics including Veterans’ care and the Choice Act, foreign trade, the importance of quality health care, the Supreme Court and the U.S. Postal Service. Thank you to Rhonda White for helping arrange the meeting and thank you again to the residents that attended my town hall.

Now Accepting 2016 Service Academy Applications
Even as students are beginning their summer breaks, I want to remind them of the opportunity to apply to a United States Service Academy. Appointing Kansans to the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y.; the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.; the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.; and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y., is one of my favorite duties as a U.S. Senator.

To find out the requirements and apply, please download an application from my website or contact my Olathe office. All application materials are due to my Olathe office by September 2, 2016. After applications have been reviewed, applicants will be notified of interviews with my Service Academy Selection Board, which will take place on Saturday, September 24, 2016, at the Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene.

Kansans in the Office
Dennis Cooley of Topeka
Therese Bangert of Kansas City  

American Association of Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation 
Leann Dickson of Lawrence 

University of Kansas Psychology Division Training Director 
Ned Hunter of Overland Park 

University of Kansas Medical Center in Westwood 
Brea Lipe of Westwood 

World TB Day 
Zee Pinkerton of Kansas City 

Kansas Water Office 
Tracy Streeter of Topeka

National Court Reporter’s Association 
Cindy Isaacsen of Shawnee 
Danielle Murray of Olathe 

Kansas Podiatric Medical Association 
Corin Wilde of Pittsburg

American Association of Nurse Practitioners 
Michelle Knowles of Hays 
Brian Vandenberg of Frontenac 
Carrie Werst of Eudora 

American Society of Clinical Oncology 
Brenda Maxey of Hutchinson 
Mark Fesen of Hutchinson 

American Association of Colleges and Nursing 
Sally Maliski of Lawrence 

Capitol Tour 
Everett Ford of Concordia 
Glorianna Ford of Concordia
John Bether of Hutchinson 
Nancy Bether of Hutchinson 
Micah Bether of Hutchinson 
Bill Roenbaugh of Haviland 
Shirley Roenbaugh of Haviland 
Michael Kimbell of Mission Hills 
Michelle Kimbell of Mission Hills 
Jackson Kimbell of Mission Hills 
Ken Welch of Macksville 
Michell Welch of Macksville 

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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