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.
With the elimination of the August recess, Senators had a week-long state work period before the Senate reconvened for the remainder of the month. The elimination of the recess and the additional days in session mean the Senate will be able to pass necessary appropriations bills in regular order and allow more time for the consideration of the president’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, as well as other judges and nominees awaiting consideration. I am pleased the Senate will work in Washington to accomplish these important tasks on behalf of the American people.
Hosting Kansas Listening Tour Stops Across the State
This week, I hosted several Kansas Listening Tour stops to hear from Kansans about the issues that matter to them. While we covered a wide array of issues, trade was a large and important part of almost every discussion.
Thanks to Neosho County residents for sharing their thoughts with me during my Kansas Listening Tour stop in Chanute on Tuesday. We discussed a number of issues, including career and technical education and the recently reauthorized Perkins Act, healthcare and rural hospitals, veterans and the VA MISSION Act, as well as NATO, expanding rural broadband, the Farm Bill, and our agricultural and steel economies and how tariffs are impacting local businesses and farmers. Thanks to Neosho County Community College President Dr. Brian Inbody for hosting me and to Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jane Brophy for arranging my visit.
On Tuesday, I also visited with Coffeyville residents about many of the same items, in addition to Medicare and Social Security, USDA’s rural development initiatives and its work to help small communities flourish, the impact of newsprint tariffs and issues facing senior citizens. Thanks to Coffeyville Community College President Linda Moley and Yvonne Hull for hosting me, and to State Representative Jim Kelly for attending.
Thanks to Saline County residents for sharing their thoughts with me during my townhall meeting in Salina. The discussion placed a special focus on trade, and we heard information on the economics of trade from Americans for Prosperity. I also fielded questions from the audience on a variety of other issues, including Iran sanctions, my ongoing investigation into the abuse of amateur and Olympic athletes, infrastructure and the Farm Bill. Thank you to Elizabeth Patton, Jeff Glendening, State Representative Steven Johnson, Salina Chamber of Commerce CEO Don Weiser and Salina Regional Airport Director Tim Rogers for attending. Read more from the Salina Journal on the meeting and my work on recent trade actions that have affected Kansas farmers, ranchers and manufacturers.
I appreciated hearing from Ness County residents in Ness City on a variety of issues, including the farm bill, crop insurance, trade and the devastating effects of tariffs, immigration and the need for agricultural workers, our current healthcare laws, essential air service, the VA Choice Program and the VA MISSION Act. Thank you to Charlie Schippers and High Plains Farm Credit for hosting my townhall. Thanks also to County Commissioners Dave Albers and Sandy Rupp, Economic Development Director Cinda Flax and American Legion leader Gary Foos for attending.
Thanks to Hodgeman County residents for attending my Kansas Listening Tour stop at Bootleggers in Jetmore, a newly-opened restaurant owned by Jetmore native Kyler Fetters. We discussed trade, including the importance of negotiating agreements like NAFTA and TPP. We also talked about commodity prices, tariffs, the VA Choice Program and the VA MISSION Act, Amtrak and funding for local law enforcement. Thank you to Michael Ort and the Lions Club for hosting my townhall. Thanks also to Mayor Derek Olson, County Commissioners Marsha Ewy and Darrell Craighead, Sheriff Jared Walker and County Clerk Sarah Rains for attending.
I visited with a number of Meade residents, including the new Meade District Hospital CEO Tara Ramlochan, Meade County Clerk Janet Hale, Meade County Treasurer Michelle Benear and USD 226 Superintendent Kenneth Harshberger, in addition to many other individuals. We discussed various issues such as caring for our veterans, healthcare, education, the Farm Bill and my work urging the administration to keep Kansans in mind during trade negotiations and decisions on tariffs. Thanks to many folks for taking time to visit with me in Meade.
On Friday in Wichita County, I heard from Leoti residents on many issues involving agriculture, trade and important provisions in the Farm Bill. Thanks to Wichita County Clerk Lynda Goodrich, Wichita County Treasurer Diana Long, Register of Deeds Connie Wilson, courthouse officials, the Farm Service Agency office and USD 467 for your time.
I also stopped by Heartland Mill in Marienthal. I enjoyed visiting with CEO Mark Nightengale and his son, Chef Ashlyn Nightengale, where they explained their mill and the unique practices they employ when growing wheat. The Nightengales, like many Kansas farmers and ranchers, have a deep appreciation for the land that inspires myself and many.
I enjoyed visiting with Greeley County residents in Tribune Friday afternoon about the importance of rural America and my ongoing work to be a voice for these communities. We also discussed veterans’ issues, rural healthcare challenges, the Farm Bill, trade and NAFTA, tariffs and opportunity zones. Thanks to Todd Schmidt for helping arrange my visit and to the unified government Board of Supervisors Chairman Kirby Kleymann for attending.
Meeting with Garden City and Dodge City Officials on Amtrak and the Southwest Chief
On Friday, I also met with officials from Garden City and Dodge City at the Amtrak Depot in Garden City to discuss the importance of maintaining Amtrak’s Southwest Chief rail service in Kansas. We discussed the economic importance of rail service to the region and its impact on individuals in the local community, and I shared details and offered an update on my amendment that passed the Senate last week. This amendment would make certain Amtrak maintains train service along the route and would also provide resources for maintenance and grant dollars for municipalities.
I am committed to working to maintain the Southwest Chief and rail service in Kansas, and I will continue working with local officials and my colleagues in the Senate to make certain Kansas communities have access to the rail services that Amtrak has promised them. As the divide between urban and rural communities in America continues to expand, passenger rail services like the Southwest Chief are invaluable in connecting Kansans to the rest of the country while also bringing visitors from out of state to our local communities.
Thanks to City Manager Matt Allen, Assistant City Manager Steve Cottrell, Mayor Roy Cessna and other city leaders for hosting me. Thank you to Dodge City Assistant City Manager Ernestor De La Rosa and State Representative Brad Ralph for traveling to Garden City to attend. You can read more on the meeting from the Garden City Telegram.
Now Accepting 2018 Service Academy Applications
Appointing Kansans to the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y.; the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.; the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo; and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y. is one of my favorite duties as a U.S. Senator.
To review requirements and move through the application process, please download an application from my website or contact my Olathe office at 913-393-0711. All application materials are due to my Olathe office by September 7, 2018. After applications have been reviewed, applicants will be notified of interviews with my Service Academy Selection Board, which will take place on Saturday, September 22, 2018, at the Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene.
Kansans in the Office
Kansas Air National Guard
Joe Jabara of Wichita
Chris Snyogn of Wichita
Andy Vandgrziel of Wichita
Craig Adcock of Overland Park
Ann Berning of Shawnee
Brooke Berning of Shawnee
Keith Berning of Shawnee
Margaret Berning of Shawnee
Nathan Berning of Shawnee
Donald Braun of Stockton
Ellie Braun of Tonganoxie
Jennifer Braun of Tonganoxie
Michael Braun of Tonganoxie
Noram Braun of Stockton
Repp Braun of Tonganoxie
Gary Brubaker of Bird City
Jane Brubaker of Bird City
Gary Burns of Leawood
James Burns of Leawood
Janet Burns of Leawood
John Burns of Leawood
Ellseigh Callstrom of Bel Aire
Jonathan Callstrom of Bel Aire
Alexander Cheyney of Overland Park
Matthew Cheyney of Overland Park
Mary Cheyney of Overland Park
Orval Cheyney of Overland Park
Terry Cheyney of Overland Park
Grace Ellzey of Wichita
Teresa Erb of Overland Park
Melody Forbes of Topeka
Thomas Forbes of Topeka
Angie Lovell of Pittsburg
Jeffrey Lovell of Pittsburg
Garret Pfeifer of Hays
Gerald Pfeifer of Hays
Marcia Pfeifer of Hays
Melissa Pfeifer of Hays
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.
Very truly yours,
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