Kansas Common Sense
Welcome to “Kansas Common Sense.” Thanks for your continued interest in receiving my weekly newsletter.
KU Alzheimer’s Disease Center Receives NIH Designation
I joined Alzheimer's disease researchers and advocates this week at the KU Alzheimer’s Disease Center (KU ADC) to help them celebrate the center's renewal as a nationally designated Alzheimer’s Disease Center by the National Institute on Aging (NIA). As one of 31 NIA-designated ADCs across the country, this prestigious designation means KU ADC’s enhanced efforts to advance cures and treatments for Alzheimer’s will continue, and patients, families and caregivers will continue to benefit from the access KU ADC provides to cutting edge therapies and treatments right here in Kansas. I support them in their effort to secure this outstanding designation from NIA, and I will continue to advocate for Alzheimer’s research in Congress. Thank you to KU Medical Center Executive Vice Chancellor Doug Girod, KU ADC Director Russell Swerdlow, and Associate Director Jeff Burns for inviting me to join you in celebration of KU ADC’s success.
Touring Behavioral Health Care Facilities Across the State
Earlier this summer, I toured Osawatomie State Hospital (OSH) and to learn more about the status of mental and behavioral health care in Kansas. I continued my efforts to highlight the important work of caring for those with behavioral illnesses by visiting two more facilities this week. The consequences of what happens at these behavioral health facilities affect every county in Kansas and every person who wants to make certain treatment is available for those who need it. My thanks to all who participated in my visits and helped me to learn more about what we can do to support quality programs, increase access to care, and end the stigma of behavioral illness.
Elizabeth Layton Center
It was encouraging to meet so many Franklin County health care professionals at the Elizabeth Layton Center in Ottawa on Tuesday. Their staff members are an important part of our services in Kansas. Care for those with behavioral illnesses impacts the safety of our communities, our criminal justice system and the health and happiness of families across our state.
Larned State Hospital
I toured Larned State Hospital the next day and met individuals who are part of their Psychiatric Services Program, along with hospital Superintendent Bill Rein. The staff were wearing themed T-shirts designed by a patient to mark Mental Illness Awareness Week. After touring the psychiatric facility, I met with a group of community leaders at the Larned Chamber of Commerce to discuss the impact of the state’s mental health facilities at Larned and what can be done to improve care. Recently, the state closed the Larned Juvenile Correctional Facility costing the community 140 jobs.
Supporters of the Big Red One Come to Washington
The Association of the United States Army (AUSA) held their annual conference in Washington, D.C., last week, and I am pleased that a number of AUSA members from Junction City, Manhattan, and the other communities surrounding Fort Riley were able to make it to the event. AUSA brings together industry, community leaders, and Army leadership in support of the Army to discuss issues important to soldiers and the community. Thanks for showing your support of the Big Red One at Fort Riley and the Intellectual Center of the Army at Fort Leavenworth.
Visiting Southeast Kansas
Touring Ash Grove Cement
Friday was National Manufacturing Day, and I toured Ash Grove Cement in Chanute – the largest American-owned producer of cement in the United States. Thanks to Jackie Clark for coordinating my visit and for joining us from Ash Grove’s headquarters in Overland Park, as well as to plant manager Alan Finch and human resources director Tim Heenan for your hospitality.
Ash Grove also invited their community advisory committee to meet with me. I participated the discussion, which provided insight from area leaders. Thanks to City Commissioner Jim Chappell, Chanute Chamber of Commerce President Jane Brophy, and Reps. Kent Thompson and Adam Lusker join the conversation.
Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas
I visited the Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas (CHC-SEK) on Friday. As a Federally Qualified Health Center since 2003, CHC-SEK currently serves 40,000 children and adults annually in seven southeast Kansas communities and employs 260 people. Beyond medical and dental treatments, they offer psychiatry, mental health and addiction services. Addiction services will take on a stronger presence thanks to a federal grant which will help combat the higher number of opioid usage in the area.
I also learned they recently received a donated mobile van unit, which will be utilized to provide dental care to veterans throughout the southeast Kansas region. Taking healthcare to our veterans and keeping all healthcare in the communities we call home is an important priority for me.
Thank you to CEO Krista Postai, Chief Operating Officer Jason Wesco, Community Relations Director Bob Burk, their board of directors and staff for the warm welcome and tour of their new facilities. I was able to participate in the groundbreaking of their expansion back in 2012 and welcomed the opportunity to see how they have improved and expanded their services.
I also had an interesting visit to EaglePicher Technologies on Friday. They manufacture integrated power solutions for defense, aerospace, commercial and medical customers, as well as utilize the latest technology and innovation to produce thermal batteries for NASA. Much of their work is done as a defense contractor. Opened in 2007, the Pittsburg facility has 80 employees. I appreciated the tour by plant manager Shannon Baker and general manager Ron Nowlin, and the investment the company is making in Kansas. Businesses like EaglePicher and CHC-SEK are providing growth for the community. In fact, Pittsburg business investments have been more than $261M in the last three years.
Girard High School and Surprise Academy Nomination
I stopped by Girard High School on Friday where they recently completed construction to expand and renovate their facilities. The elementary, middle and high school buildings all received attention thanks to a recent school bond. During my visit, I had the privilege to surprise senior Eric Wilson with a nomination to the United States Naval Academy after he applied through my office and interviewed with my academy selection board for the nomination. Click here to view a video of Eric accepting the nomination. My appreciation to Superintendent Blaise Bauer and High School Principal Todd Ferguson for hosting me and to students Eric Wilson, Layne Karhoff, Olivia Hansen, Josiah Thomason and Morgan Michael for a great tour. Thanks also to Girard Chamber President Julie Smith, Senator Jake LaTurner and Rep. Adam Lusker for accompanying me on the tour.
Pittsburg State Homecoming
Saturday I was in Gorilla Nation to help celebrate Pittsburg State University’s homecoming. Robba and I participated in the downtown parade – it was obvious by the number of alumni, students and residents in Pitt State gear and in attendance at the parade that the community is extremely supportive the of the university. Congrats to Pitt State President Steve Scott and the university for putting together another successful homecoming. Also, thanks to Ken Brock for providing a car and for driving Robba and me in the parade.
Visiting with High Schools Across Kansas
Shawnee Mission South High School
I met with student leaders and educators Tuesday morning at Shawnee Mission South High School (SMSHS). At SMSHS I was hosted by the activities/athletic director Dr. John Johnson and dropped in on Mr. Tony Budetti’s AP Government class to chat with his students about civic values and our Constitution. I also spoke with Mr. Greg Thiel who teaches engineering through their program Project Lead the Way and Ms. Lori Harmon who leads SMSHS' program for post high school transition. Thanks also to Shawnee Mission Board Member Brad Stratton for joining me on the visit.
Ottawa High School
Later on Tuesday in Ottawa, student leaders Drew Boeh and Madi Crowley gave me a tour of their school and told me about what issues impact their lives, as well as their futures hopes and aspirations. Thanks to the schools for the warm welcome and to the faculty for making a positive impact on the lives of Kansas students.
Dodge City High School
On my tour of Dodge City High School (DCHS) Wednesday morning, I met with principal Jacque Feist and DCHS Student Council leaders Paige Harding and America Garcia. I also stopped by Barbara William’s French classroom, Jenny Hendrix’s Physics classroom, McKenzie Lueder’s Chemistry classroom, Shannon Ralph’s Biology classroom, and caught up with Plainville native Carla Stanly.
Thanks to all of the teachers and administrators in Dodge City who are working to ensure the bright futures for Kansas students, and congratulations to Paige and America who are planning to attend The University of Kansas this fall.
Shawnee Mission Northwest High School
Thursday I visited Shawnee Mission Northwest High School. I stopped by broadcast journalism, orchestra, financial literacy, advanced biology and career and technical education classes, as well as the library/media center. It was great to see the diversity of class options and creative ways teachers are equipping Kansas students with skills they will use in future careers and in life. What also stood out to me was how kind and caring students were to each other. Thanks to Shawnee Mission School Board Member Patty Mack for joining me on the tour and Principal Lisa Gruman, students Tavin Cook, Ashton Hess, Alex Oleson and Trent McHenry for showing me their school.
Accepting Applications for Spring Internships
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 who have a unique opportunity to work closely with my staff on behalf of Kansans. Applications are already being accepted for internships in my Washington, D.C., Manhattan, and Olathe, Kansas, offices for the spring 2017 term. The deadline for the spring is Friday, October 28. 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
American Academy of Family Physicians
Mike Munger of Leawood
Kansas City Industrial Council
Scott Brown of Fairway
Tom Poer of Overland Park
Archie Macias of Udall
David Shipley of Scranton
AUSA Junction City Delegation
Mick McCallister of Junction City
Phyllis Fitzgerald of Junction City
Allen Dinkel of Junction City
Ben Bennett of Junction City
AUSA Manhattan Delegation
Robert Boyd of Riley
Linda Moore of Manhattan
Usha Reddi of Manhattan
Janet Nichols of Manhattan
Diane Gaede of Manhattan
Mike Shilling of Manhattan
Gavin Dykstra of Olathe
Brenda Dykstra of Olathe
Phillip Engel of Overland Park
Kenla Engel of Overland Park
Mark Hansen of Wichita
Janet Hansen of Wichita
Jack Charbonneau of Kansas City
Garrett Charbonneau of Kansas City
Matthew Charbonneau of Kansas City
Jessica Charbonneau of Kansas City
Michael Cole of Victoria
Tonya Cole of Victoria
Justice Roberts of Victoria
Edward Miller of Wichita
Patricia Miller of Wichita
Sue Cline of Salina
Rick Wolfe of Salina
Kent Domsch of Pratt
Michelle Domsch of Pratt
Heather Domsch of Topeka
Kirk Domsch of Atwood
Cathy Domsch of Atwood
Kierstyn Domsch Atwood
Kyle Domsch of Hutchinson
Michelle Domsch of Hutchinson
Kilyn Domsch Hutchinson
L. Ann Domsch of Manhattan
Colton Gibson of Linwood
Larry Evans of Shawnee
Amy Tadlock of Shawnee
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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