Kansas Common Sense
Jan 09 2012
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The Senate remains out of session until January 23rd and I am spending time in Kansas. I look forward to Congress reconvening so my colleagues and I can tackle the many challenges our country is facing – including the national debt caused by decades of overspending and government growth. This out-of-control spending and borrowing jeopardizes the prosperity of future generations who will have to pay for our irresponsibility. There is much work to be done in the months ahead; I hope 2012 brings a Congress better capable of working together for the well-being of our nation.
Putting Kansas First
Before the Senate reconvenes and I return to Washington, D.C., I will be driving more than 1400 miles across our state to visit with Kansans at local businesses, schools and community civic clubs. The conversations I have with Kansans during my travels greatly impact the work I do in Washington. Included below is a sampling of the stops I’ll be making over the next two weeks.
Tomorrow, I’ll be speaking to the Wichita West Rotary Club and will visit with members of the Club – which is comprised of business and professional leaders from the area. Wichita West is the first of several Rotary Clubs I’ll visit while I am home in Kansas. From there, I’ll head over to the new campus of Eisenhower High School in Goddard and spend time with students. I then look forward to visiting Aeroflex Corporation in Wichita to tour their facility and hold a Q&A session with workers. Tomorrow night I’ll cheer on the Wichita State Shockers as the Men's Basketball team takes on Illinois State Red Birds at Charles Koch Arena.
On Wednesday, January 11th, I look forward to visiting with students at Wichita NW High School where I’ll be speaking to members of the U.S. government class. That afternoon, I will be the keynote speaker at a meeting of the Kingman Lions Club. And, on Thursday, January 12th, I look forward to speaking to members to the Valley Falls Rotary Club and their spouses.
On Friday, January 13th, I’ll start the day in Hiawatha visiting with students at the local schools. Then I’ll head to Effingham where I look forward to touring Atchison County High School with Principal Deanna Scherer. At lunchtime I will be the keynote speaker at the weekly Holton Rotary Club meeting and I’ll end the day speaking at the Kansas Lions Club Mid-Winter Rally in Salina.
Next week will kick off with the Think Big Partners Gigabit Challenge in Kansas City. This competition, sponsored by the Kauffman Foundation, is focused on finding America’s next great entrepreneurs, and three $100,000 prizes will be awarded. Competitors include individuals, teams or businesses with a conceptual idea, a complete business plan, or an early-stage operating business that is enabled by Google’s first-in-the-nation 1 Gigabit Fiber network. I look forward to welcoming all the competitors to this exciting and innovative event. On Wednesday, January 18th, following the Think Big Partners Gigabit Challenge, I’ll head to Paola to tour the High School and visit with students. I then look forward to being the keynote speaker at the Fort Scott Rotary meeting, and visiting with the Fort Scott Kiwanis and Pioneer Kiwanis clubs who will also be in attendance. On Wednesday night, I’ll cheer on two great Kansas men's basketball teams as the Labette Cardinals take on the Cowley Tigers at Cardinal Gymnasium in Parsons.
On Thursday, January 19th, I’ll speak at the Lion’s Club meeting in Fredonia and am glad the local high school government class is able to attend. On Sunday, January 22nd, I will have the privilege of presenting Danny Manion of Salina with a Purple Heart Medal. Danny served in the U.S. Army during Vietnam. During his mission to secure a downed Chinook helicopter, Danny’s unit was attacked with hand grenades, and he suffered shrapnel wounds to the head. He received medical treatment at a field hospital and bravely resumed duty.
Finally, on the morning of Monday, January 23rd, I’ll tour the Coca-Cola Production and Distribution Facilities in Lenexa and visit with the more than 100 employees. Coca-Cola employs more than 1,700 people across Kansas at 14 facilities and 2 independent bottlers.
Preserving Rural Values and Traditions in Kansas
During the holiday season, I was reminded of how blessed I am to live in a rural state where family values and community traditions run deep. No tradition runs deeper from generation to generation than the tradition of working on a family farm. However, these rural traditions are under attack in Washington, DC. In September, the U.S. Department of Labor proposed a new rule that would ban youth under the age of 16 from participating in many common farm-related tasks, like rounding up cattle on horseback, operating a tractor, or cleaning out stalls with a shovel and wheelbarrow. To most young Kansans growing up on a farm, these jobs are just part of their daily routine.
According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, about 98% of our country’s two million farms are family owned. By working alongside their parents, grandparents and neighbors, young people learn important life skills and values like hard work, personal responsibility and perseverance. They learn how to problem solve and work on a team to get things done. Agriculture is a way of life; but now the federal government wants to change that way of life.
Our country cannot afford to lose the next generation of farmers and ranchers. The future of agriculture depends on stopping this vast overreach of executive authority and protecting individual rights. Click here to read an editorial I wrote about my concern over these proposed rules.
Enjoying the Cotton Bowl Festivities with Kansas State Fans
This weekend, I was fortunate to join tens of thousands of Kansas State Wildcat fans for the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas. The Kansas State football team met the Arkansas Razorbacks in the 76th installment of the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic. Living up to their well-traveling reputation, the Kansas State faithful came out in full force to support the Wildcats. Although Wildcats were defeated by the Razorbacks by a score of 29 to 16, it was an exciting game that capped off a winning season.
Over the course of two days, I enjoyed interacting with K-State alumni and students of as I attended events in and around Cowboys Stadium. Kansas State’s participation is a fitting reward for a football season in which Bill Snyder’s Wildcats exceeded expectations and represented our state so well. Thanks to Kansas State President Kirk Schultz, Athletic Director John Currie, and all of the Kansas State fans who made their way to Dallas for making this such a memorable experience. Click here to see a photo from the game.
Encouraging News About Cancer Research
This week, the American Cancer Society released its annual report, Cancer Statistics 2012, which estimates that more than one million cancer deaths have been avoided over the past two decades thanks in part to our national commitment to cancer research which has advanced cancer prevention, detection, diagnosis and treatment. This report shows an overall decrease in cancer death rates of about 23 percent for men and 15 percent for women from 1990 to 2008, and comes on the heels of the 40th anniversary of the signing of the National Cancer Act – legislation that coordinated our nation’s focused effort to combat cancer through research. Despite declines in new cases for most cancers, this report also shows that much work remains as certain types of cancers, including pancreas, thyroid, kidney, and liver cancers, showed increases over the past decade.
In December, a bipartisan resolution I helped introduce recognizing our nation’s commitment to cancer research and celebrating the 40th anniversary of the National Cancer Act was passed by the Senate. The resolution, S. Res. 347, had 45 Senate co-sponsors and was supported by more than 100 patient groups, cancer institutes, hospitals and medical schools including the University of Kansas Cancer Center (KUCC).
Given the vast amount of progress made over the last century and the great potential current research holds, I believe the United States must not waiver on its commitment to advancing disease cures and treatments. And Kansas has the opportunity to play a pivotal role in the future of cancer research. KUCC has formally applied to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to become an “NCI-designated Cancer Center.” NCI is our nation’s principal organization for cancer research and training. Obtaining NCI designation would dramatically enhance KUCC’s ability to discover, develop and deliver innovative treatments to patients in our state, improving their quality of life. Currently, there are 66 NCI-designated cancer centers across the country - but none in Kansas. I strongly support KUCC’s application because it would enable Kansas patients to have access to the latest clinical trials and the most advanced cancer treatments close to home.
Visiting Great Bend Lions Club
Communities across our state are strengthened by the Kansans who participate in civic clubs. Lions Clubs work to make Kansas communities strong and I have been a proud member of the Hays club for many years. On Tuesday, I was the keynote speaker at a meeting of the Great Bend Lions Club – one of the 269 Lions clubs in Kansas. The Lions Clubs motto is “We Serve,” and the more than 6,500 Kansas Lions exemplify this selfless spirit. I enjoyed visiting with Great Bend Lions about issues in their community. Thank you to Club Secretary Laverne Lessor for his welcome and hospitality.
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,
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