Kansas Common Sense

Recognizing the 79th Anniversary of D-Day in Normandy
Speaking at D-Day Anniversary Ceremony
It was an honor to represent the U.S. Senate and join Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, General Mark Milley and World War II veterans at the ceremony commemorating the 79th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy, France. Sharing the stage with American and allied military leaders and dignitaries, we paid our respects to the 9,386 American soldiers buried in Normandy and the 1,557 listed on the Wall of the Missing, and we reaffirmed the importance of continued friendship and partnership across the Atlantic Ocean.

The patch of earth at Normandy holds a place in the hearts of families across the United States. Generations of Americans have grown up with only stories and photographs of an uncle, a father, a grandfather or a brother who made the ultimate sacrifice. Each loss represented here by either a white marble cross or Star of David is a loss that a family has borne for nearly 80 years. They are still loved and remembered.


D-Day remains the largest and most ambitious military operation in modern human history, and it was planned and executed under the leadership of a boy from Abilene, Kansas – General Dwight D. Eisenhower.

It is because of what happened here that my dad returned home, and thousands of other fathers and husbands were able to return home. To the Greatest Generation, we respect you, we thank you for your service, and we love you.

You can watch my full remarks on the 79th Anniversary of D-Day here.


Visiting 1st Infantry Division Memorial & American Cemetery at Omaha Beach
During my time in Normandy, I visited the 1st Infantry Division Memorial and the American Cemetery at Omaha Beach with U.S. Army Major General John Meyer, the 1st Infantry Division commanding general at Fort Riley.


On the anniversary of D-Day, it was an honor to be there in person to remember and honor the young men who fought for freedom and demonstrated true bravery and devotion to duty – including many from Kansas.

We also paid tribute to Kansas native Colonel Ollie W. Reed and his son Lieutenant Ollie W. Reed Jr. who were buried together in the Normandy American Cemetery.


The world we live in today and the freedoms we enjoy are because of the sacrifices made by our men and women in uniform. D-Day marked the beginning of the end of Nazi domination in Europe and the tide turning in a war to save the world from tyranny and keep alight the flame of liberty for future generations. As we honor and remember the sacrifices made, it is my hope that we remain stalwart in our defense of freedom and make certain that the world remains safe for liberty, democracy and shared prosperity.


Leading Bill to Strengthen Aviation Workforce Development
This week, as ranking member of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Aviation Safety, Operations and Innovation, I introduced the Aviation Workforce Development and Recruitment Act with Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.). This legislation would address aviation workforce shortages by boosting resources to help recruit and train pilots, aviation manufacturing workers and mechanics.

Kansas is renowned for its aviation industry, but it’s only as strong as our workforce. As this industry continues to evolve, it is critical that we find ways to develop a trained workforce to fill these jobs. Further investment into the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) development grant programs and expanding eligibility to include the aviation manufacturing sector will strengthen the talent pipeline and prevent disruptions within the aviation industry.

This comes shortly after my bill to help prevent FAA system outages was signed into law, requiring the FAA to establish a task force to strengthen the resiliency and cybersecurity of the Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM) system which alerts pilots of safety and location hazards on flight routes.

Protecting Veterans' Second Amendment Rights
On Thursday, Senator John Kennedy (R-La.) and I introduced the Veterans’ Second Amendment Protection Act. Current law requires that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) send a veteran’s information to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check system when the VA appoints a fiduciary to manage a veteran’s affairs. This bill would prevent the VA from automatically sending a veteran’s information to the FBI without a judicial ruling just because the veteran receives assistance managing their financial affairs. Veterans should not have to choose between seeking help from the VA to manage their benefits and forfeiting their Second Amendment rights. Our nation’s policies should encourage veterans to utilize the services provided by the VA, rather than driving them away by denying them their right to due process.

VA Committee Hearing on Veterans' Access to Long-Term Care
This week, as Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, I led a hearing on veterans’ access to long-term care and ways to improve this health care system. As the population of aging and disabled veterans increases, it is important that this issue remains a top focus for the VA committee. I have introduced the Elizabeth Dole Home Care Act and the Expanding Veterans Options for Long-Term Care Act to help make certain that veterans, their caregivers and their loved ones are at the center of a veteran’s decision on how they receive long-term care.

During this week’s hearing, I questioned witnesses from the VA on their ability to work closely with community providers to increase veterans’ choices for care. I also asked the witnesses about the VA’s efforts to make certain that veterans are being adequately informed about the long-term care programs available to them.

You can watch my remarks here.


Major Iris Lehner's Promotion Ceremony
This week, I hosted a ceremony honoring the promotion of Iris Lehner to the rank of Major. MAJ Lehner currently works in my office as a Department of Defense Legislative Fellow on behalf of the U.S. Army National Guard. This valuable program allows servicemembers across each of the branches to gain experience interacting with the government’s legislative branch while also providing my team with important insight into our troops. I was honored to administer the oath of office for MAJ Lehner’s promotion. The Army promotes based on potential, and this promotion is a testament to the great work Iris has already done in my office on behalf of Kansans.


Meeting with Kansans
Kansas Livestock Association
On Thursday, I met with members on the Kansas Livestock Association to discuss the upcoming Farm Bill, which is currently scheduled to expire in 2023. We also discussed general trends in livestock markets, challenges facing the industry and the value-added conservation programs that producers find beneficial to their operations. I appreciate Kansas ranchers keeping me updated on their continued efforts and dedication to helping advance the overall food supply chain. Thank you to Andy Larson of Randolph, Nathan Beachner of Parsons, Walt Keeling of Garden City, Chad McCormick and Brandon Ford of Ulysses for taking the time to speak with me about their livestock priorities for our state.


Kansas Building Industry Association
I also met with members of the Kansas Building Industry Association this week to discuss the importance of reducing barriers to homeownership as prices for homes continue to climb and our housing supply stagnates. Unfortunately, we are seeing low- and moderate-income Americans are being priced out of homeownership. Owning a home is the foremost way to create generational wealth, and we must pursue responsible reforms that allow the private market to grow the supply of affordable housing. Thank you to this group for meeting with me to share their efforts in this important work.


Home Builders Association of Greater Kansas City
On Wednesday, representatives from the Homebuilders Association of Greater Kansas City visited my office to provide an update on their work to support homeownership for Kansans throughout our state. While this issue is largely focused on the local level, there are still tools available for the federal government to encourage affordable housing. Because of this, I have cosponsored legislation to help expand development of affordable housing, promote the rehabilitation of homes in low-income neighborhoods and provide incentives for development in rural areas. I appreciate these members for sharing their insight with me during our meeting.


Andrew Le, Wichita Southeast High School Student Body President
It was great to meet with Andrew Le, the outgoing student body president and recent graduate of Wichita Southeast High School. We spoke about a variety of topics including the importance of public service and opportunities for young Kansans to be involved in the political process on the federal, state and local level. I appreciate Andrew and his family who accompanied him to Washington, D.C. for their interest in public service and engaging conversation.


Xcel Group
On Wednesday, I enjoyed the chance to visit with students from Salina visiting Washington, D.C. as a part of Xcel, an after-school achievement program for select high school students. It is always special to share the beauty of our Capitol building with Kansans, and I particularly enjoyed speaking with this group of students about the importance of public service and being engaged in one's community. Thank you to Rick Reed for bringing this group to our nation's capital and to the Charlie Walker family for investing in these students.


Senate Briefing on Artificial Intelligence
This week, I attended a Senate roundtable for an update on artificial intelligence, or AI. This briefing covered AI’s current capabilities, which have been in the news recently with the rise of AI-enabled services available for the public to use. As public awareness of AI’s abilities has increased, discussions on AI regulation to prevent potential harm caused by this technology have increased in Congress. I believe we need to find a middle ground that allows American innovators space to create products and services that help ensure our economic and national security, while also protecting against potential harm caused by AI if it is not developed and used properly. I look forward to continuing these important discussions about responsible AI use with my Senate colleagues.

Receiving an Update on the Future of College Sports
On Wednesday, I attended a Future of College Athletics event to discuss the challenges facing college sports and how Congress can help to make certain college sports programs in Kansas have a bright future. During this event, I spoke with University of Kansas Chancellor Doug Girod about the need for a federal law governing the compensation of college athletes based on their name, image and likeness (NIL). Dozens of states have passed their own NIL laws, creating a patchwork of competing state laws that is confusing for college athletes and schools to navigate. Creating a level playing field will empower athletes while maintaining the integrity of college sports that we all know and love. I will continue working to find solutions for athletes in Kansas and around the country. Thank you to KU Chancellor Girod for inviting me to this informative event.

Inviting Command Sgt. Major (Ret.) Young to White House to Celebrate 2023 Super Bowl Champion KC Chiefs
This week, I was honored to invite U.S. Army Command Sergeant Major (Ret.) Richard Young and his fiancée Marcia Cox of Junction City as my guests to the White House to celebrate the Super Bowl LVII champion Kansas City Chiefs. CSM (Ret.) Young has served on my Military and Veterans Advisory Board and is a strong advocate for veterans and servicemembers across Kansas and the Fort Riley community. He served in the Army from 1970 to 2001 and was a Command Sergeant Major in Desert Storm with the 82nd Field Artillery in the Third Armored Division. He also served as the Fort Riley Post Command Sergeant Major and achieved the most senior rank for enlisted personnel.

This occasion was particularly special since it was the first time the Kansas City Chiefs have visited the White House. As CSM (Ret.) Young said, “To be at the White House to witness the Kansas City Chiefs receive a President’s congratulation for being Super Bowl Champions was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that Marcia and I will never forget. My observation of those in attendance was that sports is truly nonpolitical.”


Introducing Innovative FEED Act of 2023
This week, I introduced the Innovative Feed Enhancement and Economic Development (FEED) Act of 2023. This bipartisan legislation would modernize the one-size-fits-all animal feed regulatory framework at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and will promote more private sector innovation into these products. Current FDA regulations, require that animal feed additives go through the onerous drug approval process, even though these products are not drugs. By modernizing the regulatory framework through this legislation, it will enhance the availability of these feed products for producers in Kansas and around the country.

Designating National Service Dog Day
This week, as ranking member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, I introduced a resolution with Chairman Jon Tester (D-Mont.) marking September 20th as National Service Dog Day in honor of service dogs across the country. Service dogs provide life-saving assistance, help veterans with disabilities regain their independence and offer companionship and support to our nation’s heroes. I have had the honor to meet and hear from many veterans who utilize service dogs and to see their dogs at work. The positive impact that service dogs have on veterans is real, and I commend those who work tirelessly to train and pair dogs with veterans in need. I encourage all Americans to learn more about the great work that these highly trained dogs do for those living with disabilities. Recognizing National Service Dog Day is a way to raise awareness about the unique training and tasks that service dogs perform to enable veterans with disabilities to live life to the fullest.

Kansans in the Office

Capitol Tour
John Elmore of Lawrence

Rosy Elmore of Lawrence

Jody Hadley of Newton

Leslie Hadley of Newton

Gavin Hadley of Newton

Kaitlin Hadley of Newton

Daniel Rheingans of Abilene

Maggie Rheingans of Abilene

Renee Frias of Overland Park

Lucas Frias of Overland Park

Gabriella Frias of Overland Park

David Akehurst of Olathe

Leslie Akehurst of Olathe

Mason Akehurst of Shawnee

Joel Asante of Shawnee

Elsie Asante of Shawnee

Jimmy Hay of Paola

Christi Hay of Paola

Lily Hay of Paola

Lawson Hay of Paola

Lucy Hay of Paola

Montana Bennett of Wichita

Randy Herbel of Salina

Amy Herbel of Salina

Kenzi Herbel of Salina

Emily Girard of Salina

Tara Little of Hutchinson

Dr. Michael Little of Hutchinson

Makayla Little of Hutchinson

Makenzie Little of Hutchinson

Landes Little of Hutchinson

Edwin Schneider of Basehor

Brandon Wakefield of Hope

Ariana Brancato of Leawood

Allison Wood of Lenexa

James Howard of Olathe

Braxton Hatcher of Olathe

Jeff Robbins of Overland Park

Jackson Robbins of Overland Park

Ken Robbins of Overland Park

Sgt. Daniel Anderson of Kansas City

Callie Anderson of Kansas City

Pemberly Anderson of Kansas City

Jerry Johnson of Lenexa

Debbie Johnson of Lenexa

Caroline Steele of Olathe

Jenna Hickman of Stilwell

American Israel Public Affairs Committee
Bonnie Siegel of Kansas City

Association of Community Mental Health Centers of Kansas
Kyle Kessler of Topeka

Kansas Health Care Association
Linda MowBray of Topeka

Tony Johnson of Shawnee

Brett Pu of Overland Park

Child Advocacy Centers of Kansas
Kasey L. Dalke of Lyons

Cindy Riddell of Shawnee

Braeley Hammeke of Great Bend

Diane Schunn of Wichita

Allyson Vandiver of Emporia

Layla Waguard of Scott

Erika Purcell of Wichita

Lori Chandler of Wichita

Chandra Hughes of Scott City

Ginny Samples of Manhattan

Ernie Parter of Manhattan

Monica Cattan of Shawnee

Andre Parks of Great Bend

Judi Rodman of Mission

Chelsey Wilson of Concordia

Melissa Cooke of Wichita

United Nations Association of the USA
Jay Sjerven of Leawood

American Federation of Teachers
Rocky Lindgren of Abilene

National Propane Gas Association
Jim Rushing of Olathe

National Milk Producers Federation
Annie Jewell of Shawnee

Thomas Enneking of Seneca

National Grocers Association
Jon McCormick of Kansas

Mike Beal of Kansas City

Johnny Greco of Overland Park

Chris Greco of Overland Park

Colby Osner of Conway Springs

Jenny Osner of Conway Springs

National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization
Corey Craig of Shawnee

Promotional Products Association
Brian Porter of Overland Park

Matt Smith of Garden Plain

Kansas Building Industry Association
Thomas Baalmann of Wichita

Dale Smith of Topeka

Tim Shigley of Wichita

Katy Nelson of Topeka

Carl Harris of Newton

Brandon Salisbury of Conway Springs

Tanner Cole of Wichita

Melinda Munsell of Newton

Sean Miller of Berryton

Terry Robinson of Topeka

Wess Gaylon of Wichita

Mike Pressgrove of Topeka

Wichita Southeast High School
Andrew Le of Wichita

Mark Colliton of Kansas City

Michelle Caldeira of Kansas City

National Business Aviation Association
Dillon Patel of Wichita

Caleb Gibson Wichita

Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America
Emily Mueller of Overland Park

Home Builders Association of Greater Kansas City
Will Ruder of Overland Park

Matt Ernst of Kansas City

Cole Gurgess of Lenexa

Courtney Reyes of Kansas City

University of Kansas
Chancellor Doug Girod of Lawrence

Kansas Livestock Association
Brandon Ford of Ulysses

Andy Larson of Randolph

Nathan Beachner of Parsons

Chad McCormick of Ulysses

Walt Keeling of Garden City

US Global Leadership Coalition
Courtney Brooks of Kansas City

Julie Stimson of Wichita

Seth Merrell of Wichita

Kansas State University
Marshall Stewart of Manhattan

Ethan Erickson of Manhattan

David Rosowsky of Manhattan

University of Kansas School of Law
Lauren Akitake

Jayson Watts

Michelle Brady

Rebecca Clayton

Andy Clayton

Anna Clayton

Marc Erickson

Lindsey Erickson

Matthew Franzenburg

Kelli Franzenburg

Noah Garcia

Amanda Garcia

Edmund Gross

Michiko Gross

Nolan McWilliams

Phillip Murphy

Craig Reaves

Leigh Reaves

Blake Reeves

Sarah Reeves

Charlotte Reeves

Burke Reeves

Sarah Stieben

David Zielke

Lesli Zielke

Wesley Williams

Rebecca Bromley-Williams

Allison Marker of Topeka

Kathleen Marker of Topeka

Gina Millsap of Topeka

General Visitors
Larry Ottja of Robinson

Maria Verlinde of Plainville

Newsletter Sign-up Form

Note: Fields marked with an * are required.