Kansas Common Sense


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Impressions from the President’s Address to the Nation
I had the honor of hosting VFW State Commander Gerald Marvin of La Crosse in Washington as my guest at President Trump’s address to a joint session of Congress Tuesday evening. Commander Marvin was in D.C. this week to discuss improving access to quality and timely healthcare for veterans, ending the claims backlog, and removing the arbitrary funding levels established by the Budget Control Act, and I was pleased to be able to invite him to witness the president’s remarks.

I appreciated hearing President Trump acknowledge the recent attack in Olathe and condemn the hatred that fueled this senseless act. This tragedy – motivated by prejudice and xenophobia – that took Srinivas Kuchibhotla’s life will not be tolerated.

With a new congress and administration, we have a real opportunity to make changes in our federal government that will improve the everyday lives of Kansans and Americans. It was good to hear the president’s commitment to establishing an environment for businesses to thrive and hire more Americans. I want Americans to have better jobs and more take home pay.

As I have expressed to the administration, there are a number of priorities that are too important to Kansans to compromise on. For example, we will not rest until Kansas veterans indicate that they are experiencing the kind of lasting change that’s needed at the VA and that they are receiving the benefits and respect they deserve. I will continue pushing for increased access to export markets for our state’s farmers, ranchers and manufacturers. I will continue working to better secure our country from threats at home and abroad. And I will continue working to address our national debt so our children and grandchildren don’t inherit an impossible financial burden. The president must join with congress to accomplish the important work Americans expect us to do.

Visiting the Indian Embassy to Express My Condolences to Ambassador Navtej Sarna
In the aftermath of last week’s shooting that took the life of Srinivas Kuchibhotla and wounded Alok Madasani, both natives of India, and seriously injured Ian Grillot of Olathe, I paid a visit to India’s embassy as soon as I arrived in Washington on Monday. The shooting has caused widespread concern in India over the safety of sons and daughters who have come here to study and work in pursuit of the American dream. I was able to express to Ambassador Navtej Sarna my condolences and assure him and his country that such hatred is not the norm in Kansas, and I delivered a letter from Olathe Mayor Mike Copeland expressing the community’s shock and sadness over the violence. Ambassador Sarna asked about the investigation’s progress and noted Ian Grillot’s heroism, and I offered my assistance in any way possible to his office. I regret that tragedy brought Ambassador Sarna and I together for the first time since his arrival here last November, but I appreciated the opportunity to meet with him and hope the next time we meet will be under better circumstances.

Taking Steps Toward Rolling Back the WOTUS Rule
This week I applauded President Trump for taking the first steps toward rolling back the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) “Waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS) rule. The WOTUS rule would greatly expand the EPA’s regulatory jurisdiction far beyond the intent of the law. It would result in excessive burdens being imposed on landowners, threaten the health of our economy and cost us jobs. Like all Kansans, I want all of our citizens to have clean and safe drinking water, but there are better ways to protect our waters than this rule. As a member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, I look forward to working with the administration on commonsense environmental policies that conserve our natural resources for the next generation while continuing to encourage economic development.

Joining the Abilene Rotary Club and Touring K-State Polytechnic’s UAS Lab in Salina
I joined the Abilene Rotary meeting at Mr. K’s Farmhouse Friday afternoon, where Abilene Superintendent of Schools Dr. Denise Guy was the program. I appreciated hearing from the Kansans in attendance, and my thanks to Rotary Club President Tonya Mills for having me. I also toured K-State Polytechnic’s Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) lab on Friday to see their new UAS capabilities and discuss their program’s research, which plays an important role in effectively steering the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) regulation of UAS technologies. We discussed the importance of STEM education in our state, and I took a UAS on a test flight. Thanks to Dean Verna Fitzsimmons, Associate Dean Kurt Barnhart, UAS lab staff member Nathan Maresch and Salina Chamber of Commerce CEO Don Weiser for joining me. My gratitude also to K-State Poly Senior Spencer Shrader, who showed me the ropes in flying the UAS.

Meeting Kansans in Washington
I appreciated hearing the perspectives of so many Kansans visiting our nation’s capital this week. Among other groups, I met with Kansas American Legionnaires; radio and television operators in town with the Kansas Association of Broadcasters; medical professionals representing the Kansas City Medical Society; postmasters from Clearwater (Mark Clark), Montezuma (Judy Wasko), and Winfield (Albert Bacastow); Sedgwick County Commissioners Dave Unruh and David Dennis, County Manager Mike Scholes, and Keturah Astin; and VFW Department of Kansas veterans. I also enjoyed speaking with members of the Kansas Farm Bureau, who I met with on Wednesday afternoon, and representatives of the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association, who were in my office on Thursday. Our conversations covered a diverse array of topics, but held constant was everyone’s desire to see our state flourish. The Senate’s vote schedule since the 115th Congress convened has required more days spent in Washington, D.C.., than usual, so I especially appreciate the opportunity to hear from Kansans when I have to be in Washington for votes and committee work.

A Distinctive Annual Tradition in Liberal
This week, Americans celebrated Fat Tuesday, which takes place as the season of Lent begins.  However, there is a different and wholly unique celebration that takes place on that day in Liberal, Kansas. In 1950, the city of Liberal challenged Olney, England, to a race where contestants sprint while holding a frying pan with a pancake inside it – flipping the pancake once after the starting gun and again after they cross the finish line. Since then, the annual trans-Atlantic race, which is the only one of its kind, has grown in popularity. Each year, the winners’ times from both communities are compared, and a single victor is declared. This event has become known as the International Pancake Day Race, and four days of festivities lead up to the race itself. This year’s Liberal winner was Maggie Lapinski: a teacher at Cottonwood Intermediate School. Unfortunately, the timer in Olney had a technical error, and the community will not be able to face off with Liberal this time around. Congratulations to everyone who participated in this year’s race.

Kansans in the Office
Glenda Reynolds of Whitewater
Bill Reynolds of Whitewater
Jeffrey Locke of Satanta
Emelda Lawson of Leavenworth
Chris Masoner of Lenexa
Kirk Douglass of Cury Village
Kathy Chartrand of Olathe

The Civil War Trust
John Campbell of Cottonwood Falls 

Nathan Buche of Hutchinson 

Kansas State Association of Letter Carriers
Andy Tuttle of Lawrence 

Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
Kerri Lindsay of Olathe 

Tom Zwemke of Wichita 

Vote Hemp
Willie Dove of Bonner Springs 

U.S. State Department Kennedy Lugar Exchange Program
Abed Allah Amjad 

The National Treasury Employees Union
David Foran of Kansas City
Jenny Chapin of Mission Hills 

Kansas Department of Transportation
Reid Petty of Topeka 

National Fragile X Foundation
Bruce Brodie of Prairie Village
Christina Murphy of Holton
Rhett Murphy of Holton
Tim Schlodder of Holton
Susan Bloomer of Wichita
Chris Bloomer of Wichita
Jean James of Overland Park
Brook Stack of Olathe
James Stack of Olathe 

MGP Ingredients
Michael Buttshaw of Lenexa 

ZERO – The End of Prostate Cancer
Vivian Avery of Olathe
John Avery of Olathe
Steve Hentzen of Leawood
Mick Mulcahy of Lenexa 

Kansas Farm Bureau
Joe Newland of Neodesha
Dana Newland of Neodesha
Rich Felts of Liberty
Jim Sipes of Manter
Joe Jury of Ingalls
Jeff Grossenbacher of Bern
Matt Hines of Holton
Derek Sawyer of McPherson
Rich Schlender of Burrton
Steve McCloud of Newton
Stacey Forshee of Delphos 

Space Exploration Alliance
Shawn Tasset of Dodge City 

Pottawatomie County Commission
Robert Reece of Pottawatomie County 

American Association of Nurse Practitioners
Halie Guinn of Rose Hill 

American Academy of Neurology
Tyler Allison of Overland Park 

Jack Cline of Lawrence
Robert McCormack of Kansas City 

Johnson County Government
Ed Eilert of Overland Park
Steve Klika of Overland Park
Mike Brown of Olathe
Michael Ashcraft of Olathe
Jason Osterhaus of Overland Park
Jim Allen of Shawnee
Mary Thompson of Olathe 

American Legion
David Warnken of Hutchinson
Dave Thomas of Leavenworth
Gaylord Sannoman of Newton 

American Academy of Pediatrics
Jennifer Mellick of Overland Park
Dennis Cooley of Topeka 

Sedgwick County Commissioners
Dave Unruh of Wichita
Dale Dennis of Wichita
Keturah Austin of Bel Aire
Mike Scholes of Bel Aire 

Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance
Amy Dublinske of Olathe
Laurisa Ballew of Overland Park 

United Nations Foundation
Jill Ariango of Leawood
Denise Smith of Shawnee
Megan Rodrigues of Overland Park
Helen Peng of Overland Park
Suraj Shanker of Overland Park 

National WIC Association
Nancy Sanchez of Kansas City
Carol Winter of Olathe 

Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research
Ronald Dover of Overland Park 

Americans for Prosperity
Jeff Glendening of Olathe 

Great Plains Energy and KCP&L
Chuck Caisley of Leawood 

National Association of Veterans’ Programs Administrators
Sarah Sell of Wichita
Ted Jimenez of Wichita 

Kansas Medical Society
Jay Gillbaugh of Wichita
Rob Gibbs of Parsons
Fadi Joudi of Wichita
Denis Knight of Wichita
John Gallagher of Wichita
Jon Rosell of Topeka
Nancy Sullivan of Holton 

Kansas Association of Broadcasters
Ron Thomas of Emporia
Mark Trotman of Hutchinson
Mike Cukne of Kansas City
Brad Moses of Wichita
Sarah Smith of Kansas City
Kent Cornish of Lawrence 

American Alliance of Museums
Bob Workman of Wichita 

U.S. Canola Association
Mike Stamm of Manhattan
Tyson Good of Dodge City 

Kansas Municipal Utilities
Colin Hansen of McPherson
Mark Chesney of Wichita
Paul Mahlberg of Overland Park
Mike Muirhead of Garden City
Don Gray of Kansas City
Stan Luke of Burlington
Greg DuMars of Lindsborg
Duane Banks of Russell
Merl Page of Wamego
Brad Molin of Mulvane
Robert Peter of Ellinwood
Julie Peter of Ellinwood
Larry Paine of Hillsboro
Corey Peterson of Lindsborg 

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
Marti Dart of Leawood
Roger Dart of Leawood
Karey Padding of Andover 

American Short Line and Regional Association
Rachel Burns of Pittsburg
Michael Gray of Pittsburg
Daniel Brown of New Century
Doug Story of Pittsburg

Kansas Volunteer Commission
Jessica Noble of Topeka
Debra Tucker of Salina 

KSWG Civil Air Patrol
Duane Filkins of Lawrence
Linette Lahan of Junction City 

ONE Campaign
Megan Peters of Overland Park
Charlie Harris of Overland Park 

Amy Glanton of Lawrence
Tara Glanton of Lawrence 

Capitol Tour
Laura Dougherty of Hays
Cherie Gillbaugh of Wichita
Lana Hattar of Wichita
Vicki Gibbs of Wichita
Jason Gibbs of Wichita
Mattaya Gibbs of Wichita
Simone Gibbs of Wichita
Aidan Gibbs of Wichita
Kristi Parry of Olathe
Acacia Knight of Wichita
Ginna Knight of Wichita
Tim Caro of Wichita
Richard LaMunyon of Wichita
Sharron LaMunyon of Wichita
David Langford of Leawood
Heidi Langford of Leawood
Bob Teetsel of Shawnee
Bob Cox of McPherson
Gerald Marvin of LaCrosse
Michael Holland of Arkansas City
John Muckelbauer of Paola
Katie Goebel of El Dorado
Megan Peters of Overland Park
Steven Chambers of Lenexa
Judy Wasko of Hanston
Mark Clark of Valley Center
Albert Backstow of Arkansas City
Rachel Willis of Topeka
Marcia Dvorak of Overland Park

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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