Kansas Common Sense

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He is Risen!

O fill us, Lord with dauntless love; Set hearts and will on things above. Grant grace sufficient for life’s day, That by our life we ever say, Christ has triumphed, and he liveth. Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.

I hope you and your family celebrated a meaningful and happy Easter. I spent the day with my family in Manhattan, where we attended services at First Presbyterian Church.

An Update on the Special Counsel Investigation
On Friday, Attorney General William Barr released Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election. I appreciate Attorney General Barr for testifying before my subcommittee last week regarding the funding priorities for the Department of Justice and for being open and straightforward with members of our subcommittee regarding the Mueller report. As I have said, there is great value in the American people seeing as much of the report as possible by law, and I look forward to fully reviewing the report. In addition, I thank Robert Mueller for his service and expect his report to guide efforts to prevent future interference by Russia and other foreign powers in our elections.

Making the Heartland the Center of the Aerospace and Defense Industries
Over the weekend, I joined U.S. Senators Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), John Boozman (R-Ark.) and Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) in penning an editorial to The Wichita Eagle to discuss how together, we can work to make our four-state region the center of the aerospace and defense industries.

"By seizing every opportunity for takeoff – on the local, state and federal levels – we can help enhance the heartland’s and, in turn, our nation’s competitiveness in the aerospace and defense industries on an international scale." To read our op-ed in The Wichita Eagle, click here.

Working to Improve Army Corps’ Management of the Missouri River Basin Flooding
On Wednesday, I was in Glenwood, Iowa, to participate in a Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works field hearing with Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.). During the hearing, we discussed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ management of the devastating flooding that has impacted the Midwest and Northeast Kansas.

In the wake of this flooding, it is clear that a comprehensive flood risk management plan is needed. Instead of continuing a piecemeal, isolated repair approach, we need a long-term plan for the Missouri River Basin that guides risk mitigation and disaster recovery activities.

I was also pleased to have a fellow Kansan participate in this hearing, Joel Euler from Doniphan County. Mr. Euler has extensive experience with flood repair activities and as the representative for multiple drainage districts along the Missouri River, he has worked closely with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. His insight and knowledge were valued in the hearing.

International Trade Commission Report for the USMCA
On Thursday, the International Trade Commission (ITC) released its report assessing the projected economic impact of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The completion of the ITC report is an important step toward passing USMCA. While I look forward to fully reviewing the report in detail, I am pleased to see it confirms enacting USMCA would positively impact the U.S. economy, increase exports and create jobs.

The importance of Mexico and Canada as trading partners to Kansas and the nation is clear. It is now critical that Democrats work in good faith with congressional Republicans and the administration to draft and pass legislation to enact the trade agreement. Click here to read more on this report.

World Trade Organization Pushes China to Play by the Rules
Also on Thursday, the World Trade Organization announced that that China’s tariff-rate quotas for wheat, corn and rice are inconsistent with its WTO commitments. This is a win for Kansas farmers and will allow our producers to compete on a level playing field. This decision will make certain American farmers have greater market access in China, and I commend the administration for continuing to push China to play by the rules.

Hosting Kansas Listening Tour Stops Across the State
This week, I continued my Kansas Listening Tour with stops in Washington County, Marshall County, Montgomery County and Wilson County. Thank you to the many Kansans who attended and shared their thoughts and ideas with me.

Washington County
On Monday, I held my Washington County Listening Tour stop in Washington, where we discussed a number of issues including the implementation of the VA MISSION Act and the work we are doing to make healthcare more accessible for veterans. We also discussed the importance of community banks and production agriculture to rural communities. Thank you to former State Representatives Sharon Schwartz and Bill Bryant, and State Representative Bill Pannbecker for attending. Thanks also to members of the Washington Rotary Club for inviting me to their meeting and for the productive conversation. 

Marshall County
On Tuesday, I heard from Kansans in Marysville. During this meeting, we discussed veterans’ healthcare as well as immigration and border security, challenges being faced by farmers and ranchers and the need to expand broadband across rural Kansas. Thank you to my long-time friend Bill Phillipi and Community Memorial Healthcare CEO Curtis Hawkinson for attending. Thanks also to folks at City Hall for their hospitality.

Chase County
On Thursday, was in Chase County and visited Prairie Pastimes, USD 284, Flint Hills Extension, Grand Central Hotel, Chase County Farm Bureau, Chase County Courthouse, the Register of Deeds, the County Clerk, Treasurer and Appraiser’s offices, LMI Aerospace and Symphony of the Flint Hills. Thanks to all in Cottonwood Falls who took time to meet with me.

Montgomery County
On Friday, I was in Southeast Kansas and spoke to the Independence Rotary Club before holding my Montgomery County Listening Tour meeting. In both meetings, we had good discussions regarding ways to help rural America thrive and how we need opportunities for our sons and daughters to return home and help grow our communities. We also discussed the VA MISSION Act, access to rural healthcare, trade and the need to get USMCA done, rural broadband, the Southwest Chief and vocational and technical education. Thank you to State Representatives Jim Kelly and Doug Blex, and former State Senator Tim Emert for attending.

Wilson County
After Independence, I was in Wilson County to host a Listening Tour Stop in Neodesha. It was great to hear an update about the community, including new development at Cobalt Boats. We also discussed immigration, rural healthcare, and the importance of trade and manufacturing to the area. Thank you to Terry Clark and Shane Stanfill at Cobalt Boats for hosting this Listening Tour stop.

Touring Valley Heights High School
On Monday, prior to my Washington County Listening Tour stop, I joined students, faculty and administration at Valley Heights High School (VHHS). VHHS is a combined high school located between the communities of Blue Rapids and Waterville. During my stop, I received a tour of school facilities from various students leaders, including visits to the vocational education programs and the social studies and civics education departments. I appreciated visiting with VHHS Superintendent John Bergkamp and VHHS Principal Chad Kenworthy. Thanks to student leaders and teachers for taking me around VHH.

Kansans in the Office

Capitol Tour
Alexis Allen of Lenexa
Jennifer Allen of Lenexa
Michelle Bauck of Hutchinson
Tom Bauck of Hutchinson
Gavin Delzer of Mission Hills
Graham Delzer of Mission Hills
Katherine Delzer of Mission Hills
Octavia Fisher of Topeka
LTJG Richard Hewlett of Wichita
Reid Holbrook of Leawood
Renay Martin of Overland Park
Rick Martin of Overland Park
Gary Murphy of Manhattan
Paula Murphy of Manhattan
Mitchell Nolan of Shawnee
Brad Rayl of Buhler
Jolie Rayl of Buhler

Kansas Dental Association
Dr. Melodee Armfield of Augusta
Dr. Hal Hale of Augusta
Dr. Craig Herre of Leawood
Keven Robertson of Topeka

National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization
Zach Ahrens of Topeka
Joe Barnes of Smith Center
Marsha Kent of Athol
Sandy Kuhlman of Athol
Adam Lomenick of Kansas City
Julie Pinkerton of Dodge City
Myla Weakland of Topeka

Public Issues Leadership Development (PILD) Conference
Gregg Halden of Manhattan
Dan Hellwig of Solomon
Tara Markey of Overland Park
Dennis Patton of Overland Park
Jennifer Wilson of Riley

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 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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