Kansas Common Sense

Kansas Common Sense

By U.S. Senator Jerry Moran

August 29, 2011

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.

Groundbreaking for New Mars Candy Plant in Topeka

There may be no good economic news coming out of Washington, D.C. these days, but this week held some great news in Kansas. On Tuesday, I joined hundreds of excited Topeka residents along with Gov. Brownback and Rep. Jenkins to break ground on the first Mars Chocolate facility to be built in the United States in 35 years. The 350,000 square foot plant, which will manufacture M&Ms and Snickers, is projected to create 1,000 new jobs for residents of Shawnee county and surrounding areas. It will make a difference in the Kansas economy for years to come. It was exciting to close to 500 Topekans celebrating the addition of this new company in our state. Thank you to everyone at Mars, Inc., especially Victoria Mars and Todd Lachman, president of Mars North America, as well as the Red and Yellow M&Ms for joining us at the site. Click here to view photos from the groundbreaking.

Groundbreaking for new Mars Chocolate facility in Topeka


Visiting the Kansas Food Bank

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as of 2009 more than 14 percent of Kansas’ population has experienced uncertainty over where their next meal will come from. On Monday, I visited Wichita’s Kansas Food Bank Cargill Cares Complex which works to fill the hunger gap in 86 western, central and south-central Kansas counties. Thanks to generous contributors from around the state, and with the help of thousands of volunteers, the Wichita food bank provides several vital services. It is the primary source of food for hundreds of hunger-relief agencies throughout rural Kansas, including soup kitchens, food pantries, shelters, after-school and senior delivery programs. The food bank also partners with local schools to provide food and supplies to students who are not receiving sufficient food outside of school on a regular basis.

As co-chair of the Senate Hunger Caucus, I joined my colleagues earlier this summer to introduce a resolution calling on Americans to support local efforts to combat hunger and food insecurity in the United States. The resolution, which was passed by the Senate, also designated June 7, 2011, as National Hunger Awareness Day.

For too many Americans, hunger is a reality every day. I applaud the Kansas Food Bank for working so diligently to alleviate this burden. Thanks to Brian Walker, chief executive officer, and Don Meiergerd, chairman of the board, for providing an informative tour and for leading such a worthwhile cause. During these difficult economic times, all of our efforts are needed to address the needs of those who are hungry in Kansas and across the country. September is Hunger Action Month, and I encourage all Kansans to look for ways they can help in their local communities by visiting www.kansasfoodbank.org. Click here for photos from my visit.

Visting the Kansas Food Bank Cargill Cares Complex


The U.S. AgBank in Wichita

On Monday, I visited U.S. AgBank in Wichita, which serves Farm Credit Associations in a 10 state region. I appreciated the chance to discuss reauthorization of the farm bill, the threatening regulatory environment surrounding production agriculture and our nation’s debt crisis with the organization’s employees and board of directors. I also thanked employees for stepping forward to help their fellow citizens in need by volunteering their time and resources to the Kansas Food Bank. Thank you to Jeana Hultquist for helping organize my visit and to Bob Wietharn for the kind introduction. Click here for a photo from my visit.

U.S. Ag Bank in Wichita


Speaking at the Rotary Club of Wichita

As a fellow Rotarian, I appreciated the opportunity to speak with members of the Wichita Rotary Club on Monday and thank them for the service they provide to the community. Rotary Clubs work to make Kansas communities strong; I have been a proud member of the local Hays club for many years. The Wichita club is one of the oldest and largest Rotary Clubs in the world, and it is proudly celebrating its Centennial year. Out of more than 33,000 Rotaries internationally, the Rotary Club of Wichita was the thirtieth club to be chartered and is proud to count 375 leaders of businesses, non-profit organizations, and governmental entities among its members. I appreciated the chance to visit with approximately 250 club members and was pleased to learn the club continues to place “Service above Self” by building Habitat for Humanity homes for local families in need. Thank you to Susan Estes for organizing my visit, Club President Sheryl Wohlford for graciously hosting me, and Dave Murfin for his kind introduction. Click here for a photo from my visit.

Meeting with business and professional leaders at the Rotary Club of Wichita


Visiting Valent Aerostructures

This week I had the opportunity to tour the Valent Aerostructures assembly plant in Cottonwood Falls. I enjoyed visiting with several of the employees and the executive management team, as well as learning more about the complex aircraft assembly facility and the economic impact Valent has on the local and state-wide economy. CEO Henry Newell and partner Bruce Breckenridge reviewed with me the company’s current state, vision for the future, and how they plan to achieve it. Valent Aerostructures supplies complex structural components and major sub-assemblies for leading airframe manufacturers in the commercial aerospace, military fixed wing, rotorcraft, missile and ground support, and general aviation industries. The company also provides solutions for leading airframe manufacturers, including: Spirit Aerosystems, Boeing Defense Systems, Honeywell, Boeing Commercial Airplane, Gulfstream, GE, Thales, Cessna and GKN. Click here to view a photo from my tour of Valent Aerostructures.

Visiting Valent Aerostructures


Touring Fanestil’s Meats in Emporia

This week I also visited Fanestil’s Meat in Emporia, where I was given a plant tour by owner Dan Smoots. Fanestil’s Meat is in its 68th year of service, providing smokehouse meats to customers across the country. Accompanying us on the tour were Emporia Mayor Kevin Nelson, Kansas State Senator Jeff Longbine, and Lyon County Commissioner Scott Briggs. After touring the facility we headed upstairs for a briefing on flood plain concerns and how the company is working with Lyon County Commissioners, KDEM and FEMA on the possible relocation of Fanestil’s out of the flood plain. Click here to view some photos from the tour.

Touring Fanestil’s Meat in Emporia


Upcoming Listening Tour Stops

In the week ahead, I will be continuing my statewide listening tour. Please find more information about my upcoming town hall meetings below.

Monday, August 29, 2011
Logan County, Oakley
Location: Main Street
Time: 8:30-9:30 a.m.

Thomas County, Colby
Location: Citizens Medical Center, Inc.
Address: 100 E. College Drive
Time: 10:30-11:30 a.m.

Thursday, September 1, 2011
Barber County, Medicine Lodge
Location: Walk Main Street
Time: 10:00-11:00 a.m.

Harper County, Anthony
Location: Anthony Municipal Hall, hosted by the Lions Club
Address: 130 E. Main Street
Time: Noon-1 p.m.

Friday, September 2, 2011
Kingman County, Kingman
Location: City Commission Room
Address: 324 N. Main Street
Time: 9:30-10:30 a.m.

Pratt County, Pratt
Location: Municipal Building
Address: 117 W. 3rd Street
Time: 11:30 a.m. –12:30 p.m.

Saturday, September 3, 2011
Stafford County, Macksville
Location: Main Street
Time: 9:00-10:00 a.m.

In the Office

Several Kansans stopped by this week for a tour of the United States Capitol including Keith and Barbara Wood of Lawrence; David and Mary Lou Green of Paola; and Matthew and Weston Kennedy of Sammamish, WA.

Contact Me

It is an honor to serve you in Washington, D.C. Please let me know how I can be of assistance. To send me an email, click here. You can also click here to contact me through one of my Kansas offices or my Washington, D.C., office.

Very truly yours,


My email address is only equipped to send messages. I encourage you to send me a message through my website: https://www.moran.senate.gov

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