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.
Taking the First Steps Toward Tax Reform
This week, the Senate passed the FY2018 budget as a first legislative step toward tax reform.
Our tax code should work for American families, not against them. Kansans know how critical tax reform is to their ability to find quality jobs, start small businesses, or pay for household items and utility bills every month. In the more than 30 years since we last passed major tax reform, the national and global economies have changed dramatically.
We must adapt as well by establishing a fairer and simpler tax code to empower American individuals to succeed and American businesses to compete. This budget vote is the first legislative step in the right direction, and I look forward to continuing to work with Kansans, the Administration and my colleagues in developing this legislation.
Please read my full statement here. If you’d like to submit your thoughts on what should be included in a fair and simple tax code, please click here.
Holding Service Academy Interviews
On Saturday, I met more than 60 Kansas students at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Library in Abilene as part of my annual Service Academy Selection Day, where students applying for admission to the U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Air Force Academy and U.S. Merchant Marine Academy interviewed with my selection board. These students all submitted applications to my office that included personal statements, resumes, letters of references, academic transcripts and standardized test scores.
This day has always been a favorite of mine because I get to meet some of the best and brightest young people in our state every year. It also reminds me of how many smart, hard-working, civic-minded people Kansas produces, who I know will do great things in the future.
Thanks to Linda Smith and Michelle Kopfer of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Library for hosting us. Also, this important process would be not be possible without the help and hard work of my selection board. The members of the board are leaders from across Kansas who take a great interest in seeing students succeed. The board members review applications and conduct interviews before giving me their recommendations.
Members of the 2017 service academy selection board include: Sue Givens of El Dorado; Robin Jackson of Hutchinson; Ryan Kriegshauser, Melissa Jarboe and Andy Tompkins of Topeka; Cheryl Kerns and Paul Taylor of Overland Park; Sam Turner and Brian Kessens of Leawood; Katrina Lewison and Robert Fee of Manhattan; Marche Fleming-Randle and Sean Ritchie of Wichita; Jami Moss of Lawrence; Cecil Webb of Lenexa; Jayne Pearce of Wallace; Beth Wilson of Girard; Delbert Stanton of Hays and Ron Whitney of Emporia.
Take a look at some of the applicants' inspiring stories.
Leading KC-Area Colleagues in Sending Letter to Amazon
This week, I led my Kansas City-area congressional colleagues in sending a bipartisan, bi-state letter to Amazon urging the company to consider Kansas City for Amazon HQ2 – its second global headquarters – as outlined by the Kansas City Area Development Council proposal. Amazon is expected to invest over $5 billion and create thousands of jobs in construction. Once completed, the second headquarters could employ as many as 50,000 people.
The letter states:
“The Greater Kansas City region has a rich history of innovative technology companies like Sprint Corporation, Garmin International, and Cerner Corporation as well as a thriving startup community occupied by collaborative entrepreneurial partnerships like the Kansas City Startup Village and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.”
“The diversity of exemplary educational institutions in the area will naturally serve as an abundant source of skilled labor to Amazon as it has for existing employers in the region, and access to the top quality public and private educational opportunities in the country continue to draw families to the Kansas City area.”
I am proud to support Kansas City’s proposal to become the location for Amazon’s HQ2 and hope you’ll read the full letter text here.
Introducing Kansan Holly Teeter at a Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing
I had the privilege of introducing Ms. Holly Teeter of Lenexa to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday before the hearing on her nomination to become the next federal district court judge for the District of Kansas. Ms. Teeter is highly qualified for this judgeship; she graduated with Highest Distinction from The University of Kansas with a degree in chemical engineering and first in her class from The University of Kansas School of Law. Dedicated to public service, Ms. Teeter has served as a law clerk for multiple judges and currently serves as the Assistant United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri.
Ms. Teeter was joined by her husband, Derek, her parents, Doug and Debby Hydeman, and her brother Noah Hydeman. Her sons Kolbe, Case and Rigby were watching her hearing from home in Kansas.
The Senate Judiciary Committee will next vote to send Ms. Teeter’s nomination to the full Senate to consider. I look forward to voting for her confirmation.
Watch my full introduction here.
Attending a Kansas Honor Flight
I had the honor of welcoming Kansas veterans at an Honor Flight at the World War II Memorial in D.C. on Thursday. I’ve attended numerous Kansas Honor Flights that have come to Washington, D.C. to personally thank our Kansas veterans for their service and sacrifices and gather their input on how they think Congress should assist our armed forces.
During this Honor Flight, I spoke to a veteran whose son flew military aircraft about the importance of properly funding and resourcing the Department of Defense to carry out our military’s critical missions. This was a good reminder of the sacrifices entire families often make to defend our country, and I was glad to shake his hand and thank him for his service.
Participating in the McConnell Air Force Base KC-46 Ribbon Cutting
I spoke at the McConnell Air Force Base KC-46 Military Construction Project ribbon cutting ceremony on Monday before heading to Washington, D.C. As Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee for Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, I am pleased that McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita will be home to the KC-46A Pegasus air refueling tanker. These military construction projects initially began in 2014 – the new infrastructure is critical for supporting the KC-46A mission and Air Force Air Mobility Command.
I enjoyed speaking to the newly arrived Commander of the 22nd Air Refueling Wing, Colonel Joshua Olson, about his mission at McConnell. Thank you to local leaders and members of the greater McConnell community for attending this ceremony and providing unparalleled support for our Airmen.
Touring El Dorado High School
I toured El Dorado High School prior to heading to D.C. on Monday. I was accompanied by student leader Lauren Lowrey, Student Body President Andrew Tipton and El Dorado Principal Kevin House. We had an insightful discussion about the quality of education in Kansas, special education funding and career and technical education. I recently joined 58 of my colleagues from both sides of the aisle in calling on Senate leaders to quickly renew the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, a bill to fund critical career and technical education, to help students from El Dorado and beyond build their futures.
Thanks to Lauren, Andrew, Principal House and everyone at El Dorado High School for an informative visit.
Holding a Kansas Listening Tour stop in Dickinson
I hosted a townhall meeting Saturday morning in Dickinson County, and we certainly had a lot to talk about after a busy week in D.C. where the Senate took the first legislative step in accomplishing tax reform. We had a productive discussion regarding the rising cost of health care, human trafficking, agriculture, banking regulations and the state of the nation.
Thanks to everyone in Enterprise who spent part of their Saturday with me to share their perspectives, including State Representative John Barker and State Senators Randall Hardy and Rick Wilborn.
West Point Board Meeting and Lunch With Kansas Cadets
On Friday, I visited West Point, New York to serve in my role as a member of the Military Academy Board of Visitors during the Board of Visitors Meeting. We discussed leadership development, diversity at West Point and military construction needs.
After this meeting, I joined Kansas Cadets at West Point for lunch. Thanks to these talented young people for representing our state so well: Lexi Johnson, Bucyrus, First Class Cadet; Kellen Mahood, Overland Park, First Class Cadet; Ryan Brunner, Topeka, Second Class Cadet; Anthony Nilles, Halstead, Second Class Cadet; Evan Brunner, Topeka, Third Class Cadet; William Knorp, Wichita, Third Class Cadet; David Sayles, Meriden, Third Class Cadet; Michael Howard, Peru, Fourth Class Cadet; Cole Smith, Overland Park, Fourth Class Cadet.
Wichita Office Location Change
Please note that my Wichita office has moved locations to 100 North Broadway Suite 210, Wichita, KS 67202. The new office phone number is (316) 269-9257 and the new fax number is (316) 269-9259. My staff and I look forward to continuing to serve you in this new location, and hope you’ll call in or schedule a time to come by and share your thoughts with us on how we can better assist you.
Now Accepting Spring Internship Applications – Deadline Friday
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 Friday, 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
Morty Paget of Beloit
FHSU Finance and Economics Club
Emily Breit of Hays
Andrew Doan of Dodge City
Katy Jeter of Marysville
Yang Jiao of Hays
Cameron Klaus of Hays
Hannah Magathan of Meriden
Garrett McBlair of Beloit
Brandon Mitchell of Hays
David Oakley of Lyndon
Norma Olivares of Dodge City
Samuel Schreyer of Hays
Broque Short of Derby
Andrew Taylor of Hays
Cristal Ugarte of Kansas City
Jared Willhoft of Hays
Keith Morton of Wichita
Andy Godwin of Leawood
Christopher Francik of Topeka
Ashley Jensema of Topeka
Colton Cattoor of Topeka
Brooklynn Fienhage-Taylor of Topeka
Benjamin Francik of Topeka
Lorelei Humphrey of Topeka
Gabrielle Kinnett of Topeka
Alexander Lehmann of Topeka
Trustin Schafer of Topeka
Jeff Redden of Wichita
Karen Redden of Wichita
Lindsay Redden of Lawrence
Mary Nielsen of Wichita
Warren Latham of Olathe
Barbara Latham of Olathe
Sheilagh Gerber of Wichita
Rowan Gerber of Wichita
Sydney Gerber of Wichita
Benjamin Ross of Lenexa
Jerry Viera of Topeka
Linda Hull-Viera of Topeka
Samantha Viera of Topeka
Kathryn Viera of Topeka
Khai Trieu of Overland Park
LaVonne Trieu Overland Park
Summer Stanley of Topeka
Tim Frank of Olathe
Mary Frank of Olathe
Al Schuweiler of Olathe
Erin Schuweiler of Olathe
Mia Schuweiler of Olathe
Kiah Schuweiler of Olathe
Damain Walker of Wichita
Jennifer Walker of Wichita
Phillip Walker of Wichita
Ellis Walker of Wichita
Jay McKee of Overland Park
Jennifer McKee of Overland Park
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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