Kansas Common Sense

Dear Friend,


Welcome to “Kansas Common Sense.” Thank you 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.

Robba and I joined all Kansans in celebrating Thanksgiving with family and friends this week, and gave thanks for our blessings. I am especially thankful for the service and charitable organization across Kansas who support our communities and those in need. I hope Kansans consider supporting or volunteering at these organizations during the holiday season. Just a few hours of your time giving back to your community can make this holiday a memorable one for those in need. I hope you and your family also enjoyed time together and had the chance to reflect on all we have to be thankful for as Americans.

This week, Jews in Kansas and around the world also began the eight day celebration of Hanukkah. I wish my Jewish friends a very happy Hanukkah.


1,000th Town Hall Meeting in Marion

As your U.S. Senator, I am committed to listening to Kansans and making certain your commonsense voices are heard in our nation’s Capital. Since coming to Congress in 1997, I have made it my top priority to return home each weekend to visit the folks who sent me to Washington. Whether I am at the grocery store, attending church, or filling the tank with gas, the conversations I have with Kansans matter to me and impact the work I do on your behalf.

When I was elected to the House of Representatives, I launched the “Big First Listening Tour” and held annual town hall meetings in each of the First District’s 69 counties. I have continued this tradition as a Senator and have traveled throughout all 105 counties in our state as part of my new “Kansas Listening Tour” to hear directly from Kansans.

I was fortunate this week to return to Marion, Kansas, to hold my 1,000th town hall meeting since being elected to Congress – the same community I held my first town hall in as a U.S. Representative on July 18, 1997. More than 125 Kansans from Marion and the surrounding communities turned out for pancakes and conversation. Topics ranged from Obamacare and water conservation, to the nuclear option and the government shutdown.

Thanks to the good folks who joined me in Marion, I was once again reminded of the strength and spirit of our communities and the values that make Kansas a great place to live, work and raise a family. I not only appreciated hearing Kansans express their views on national policy, but also talk about their successes and achievements. Our state will continue to thrive thanks to the hard work ethic and dedication of its citizens.


Touring Wichita East High School

On Monday afternoon, I toured Wichita East High School and visited with students in Ms. McHenry’s Advanced Placement U.S. History class.  I enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about the variety of learning programs at East High, including the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program, a rigorous college-preparatory curriculum, and the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) Program, which helps students in grades 4-12 prepare for college eligibility.

As a member of the Senate Appropriations education subcommittee, which has authority over the budget of the U.S. Department of Education, I have the responsibility to oversee the Department to evaluate how its initiatives serving students in Kansas and across the country.  Because parents and teachers best know the educational needs of their students, I am committed to working to improve federal education policies so states and local communities have the flexibility they need for teachers to tailor education plans to the unique needs of their students.  Kansans understand that, in order to be successful, a school needs students who want to learn, dedicated teachers who are committed to helping each student reach their potential, administrators who are goal-oriented, and supportive parents and community members who reinforce the concepts and expectations taught at school.

I believe that what happens in classrooms is critical to the future of our state and country.  My time at East High was a great opportunity to visit with high school students and their teachers about their education goals and issue facing our nation.  I enjoyed our conversations and wish the students continued success during their high school careers and beyond. Thanks to Principal Ken Thiessen for hosting my visit. Click here to see a photo.


Visiting ABC Discount Super Store

Monday afternoon I stopped by ABC Discount Super Store in Wichita and visited with Jim Brown and Wayne Chambers, chair of the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce. ABC Discount Super Store is a family and locally owned retailer which specializes in the lease purchase and sale of electronics, computers, appliances and furniture. During my visit, Jim and Wayne emphasized the importance of creating a tax and regulatory environment that encourages business growth and job creation. We also discussed concerns surrounding Obamacare and the effect it is having on Kansans and our economy.  Once again, I want to thank Jim and Wayne for the discussion and for highlighting some important issues in the Wichita area business community. Click here to see a photo.

Visiting Cox Communications in Wichita

Also while in Wichita, I had the opportunity to visit with Jay Allbaugh, vice president of Kansas marketing and government affairs for Cox Communications – which provides digital cable television, telecommunications and wireless services to customers throughout the United States.

My discussion with Jay, a past chair of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, focused not only on issues affecting how Kansans can better access telecommunications services, but also on how the federal government can create a regulatory environment that is friendlier so businesses to invest in our communities. Our conversation was a useful reminder of the important challenges before Congress as it goes back into session next week. I appreciate Jay's wise counsel and congratulate him on the upcoming birth of his first grandchild.


Visiting Jetmore

On Tuesday morning on the way to my 1,001st town hall meeting in Garden City, I stopped in Jetmore and enjoyed visiting with Kansans at the County Clerk’s office, the Register of Deeds, the Magistrate Judge’s office, City Hall, Farmers State Bank, Reno Pharmacy and Hastings Reality. Thanks for the good dose of Kansas common sense.


Clay Center Listening Tour Stop

On Friday, I was joined by more than 25 Kansans at the Tasty Pastry Bakery and Coffee Shop in Clay Center for my 1,002nd town hall meeting. I enjoyed seeing both familiar and new faces, and I appreciated having the opportunity to visit with Kansans about a number of issues of concern including Obamacare, the farm bill, the budget, and our veterans and military. And on this Black Friday, we also discussed shopping local and supporting our small businesses across Kansas. Thanks to the residents of Clay County for joining me during this holiday time and helping shape my decisions and priorities.

Garden City Listening Tour Stop

On Tuesday afternoon, I continued the Kansas Listening Tour with my 1001st Town Hall meeting in Garden City which was open to the public. I always enjoy visiting southwest Kansas and I appreciate everyone who took time out of their day to stop by. Attendees shared their thoughts and concerns about Obamacare, Amtrak, the Farm Bill and horse slaughter. Senate Democrats pursuing the nuclear option, frustration over gridlock in Washington, and the expansion of executive powers were also a focus. Thanks to the Garden City Lions Club for hosting the event and to the many members of the public who attended. Click here to see a photo.

Dwight Listening Tour Stop

On Saturday, I held my last Kansas Listening Tour stop of the week in Morris County at the community building in Dwight. This was my 1,003rd town hall and every single conversation I have with Kansans at these events helps me make commonsense decisions in Washington D.C.

Attendees on Saturday asked about a variety of issues that concern our state on the federal level including Obamacare, rural development and the Farm Bill. Again, I appreciate these opportunities to hear from Kansans. I have upcoming Listening Tour stops this Friday in Valley Falls and Holton, which you can find out more about in the sidebar of this newsletter. As I continue to schedule Listening Tour stops, I look forward to hearing from folks across the state. Click here to see a photo from the stop. 


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,



Newsletter Sign-up Form

Note: Fields marked with an * are required.