Kansas Common Sense

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Continuing to Advocate to Move USDA Agencies to Kansas
In August, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Purdue announced that the USDA’s Economic Research Service and National Institute of Food and Agriculture would relocate away from the Washington, D.C. metro area by the end of 2019 – a move that will benefit the USDA, rural America and federal taxpayers for many reasons.

I penned an op-ed in The Topeka Capital-Journal highlighting why Kansas is the right place to move these entities. With the animal health corridor stretching through our state, robust critical infrastructure, outstanding academic and research institutions and an excellent workforce, a move to Kansas simply makes sense. As Secretary Purdue and USDA leadership review the over 130 expressions of interest – five of which came from Kansas communities – I’ll continue to advocate that the ERS and NIFA will call Kansas home. Click here to read my op-ed.

Arranging the Donation of Senate Computers to Kansas High Schools
I am proud to have secured the donation of five computers each to five Kansas high schools as part of the United States Senate’s Computers for Schools program. This program, administered by the Office of the Sergeant at Arms, channels surplus computers into classrooms across the country to help encourage and enable technology use in the classroom in this digital age.

Computers are a central and invaluable part of classroom learning, and I am grateful to play a part in providing students the tools they need by securing the donation of these computers. We chose these schools based on a demonstrated need for new technological resources to help make certain these students do not get left behind in the digital age as digital fluency is becoming increasingly more important to employers in all fields. I will continue working with local educators, parents, students and businesses to make certain our students are prepared for the workforce.

Five computers were delivered to each of the following schools:

  • Ashland Jr/Sr High School
  • Elkhart High School
  • Kinsley Jr/Sr High School
  • Hill City Jr/Sr High School
  • Lincoln Jr/Sr High School

To read more on this program and the schools that received these computers, click here.

Landmark, Bipartisan Opioids Relief Package Signed into Law
I am pleased the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, a targeted opioid package that will enable us to better prevent opioid-related deaths and treat opioid addiction, is now law. This bipartisan legislation supports research and innovation for non-addictive opioid alternatives, reauthorizes grants to states most impacted by opioids, and bolsters our customs and border protection to halt the flow of foreign, synthetic opioids – like fentanyl – to our communities.

The provisions included in this legislation will better help reduce the number of dangerous drugs in our country and expand treatments for those suffering from opioid addiction. We will be able to lessen the burden of opioids on our country additionally through increased efforts at NIH for research on non-addictive pain management, and additional investments in mental health will help reduce the burden of opioids on our country. This is only the next step, not the final one, in our fight against these addictive and dangerous drugs. I will continue to work with my colleagues to end the scourge of addiction.

Meeting with U.S. Diplomats and Foreign Officials in Eastern Europe
Last week, I traveled with Senate colleagues to Europe to consult with elected officials, U.S. State Department personnel and foreign leaders about a number of important strategic interests to the United States, such as national security, continued Russian aggression and ongoing counterterrorism and intelligence efforts. On each of our stops, I had the privilege to visit with and learn from our country’s men and women working to promote U.S. diplomacy abroad. As a member of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, and as Chairman of the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies subcommittee overseeing law enforcement funding, this trip was important to better understand how taxpayer funding is being utilized to accomplish strategic objectives abroad. 

On one of our stops in Chisinau, Moldova, I met with elected officials, including the Moldovan Speaker and members of Parliament, and received vital input on a range of topics. During our stop in Moldova, I also met fellow Kansan and McPherson native Charles Vetter, a commissioned Foreign Service Officer within the U.S. State Department. Charles works tirelessly to support American ideals and foreign policy overseas, and his distinguished service to our country and the State Department should make McPherson and all of Kansas proud.

In Vienna, the delegation met with U.S. State Department embassy staff. I also met with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Legal Attaché and their team on issues such as ongoing counterterrorism efforts, the growing prevalence of cybercrime and other law enforcement related matters. Our last stop in Europe was Tallinn, Estonia, where U.S. Embassy staff discussed various issues such as Russian aggression, the U.S. and Estonia’s military cooperation, collaboration and continued commitment, the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security’s recent efforts to stop the proliferation of certain dangerous products while also promoting U.S. exports abroad, the FBI’s role promoting U.S. security abroad, and many more.


Meeting with Kansas Cadets at the United States Air Force Academy
Over the weekend, I joined several Kansas cadets at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs for a church service and lunch. One of the most meaningful responsibilities I have as a United States Senator is nominating young Kansans for our service academies as they work to serve our nation. At the Academy, these young men and women experience a world class education, go through rigorous training, develop core values and strengthen their leadership skills. The cadets I met with are some of Kansas’ best and brightest and I am proud to see how well they represent our state.

Thanks to all of the cadets who spent their lunch hour with me, including Luke Socolofsky, Jacob Taylor, Cole Dudley, Nicholas Clark, Vance Thompson, Cole Resnik, Leah Wiegers, Charlie Bermel and Joe Harms.

Touring Colby Community College’s Vet Tech Program
On Monday, I was in Thomas County where I toured Colby Community College (CCC). During my visit, I met with CCC President Dr. Seth Carter regarding the school’s latest initiatives and news. I also visited with Director of the Veterinary Technology Program Dr. Jennifer Martin who shared with me how students receive training through advanced technologies in veterinary medicine and their access to quality lab equipment. While on my tour of their facility, I was able to talk with students, who shared with me their experiences at the school, as well as their perspective on the current state of higher education. I appreciate the efforts of all the educators and staff at these institutions for working to help Kansas students have bright futures. Thanks to Dr. Carter, Dr Martin and the Board of Trustees for hosting my visit.


Visiting Wheatland High School in Grainfield
Following my visit to Colby Community College, I was in Grainfield to tour and visit with students and staff at Wheatland High School. I visited with the math, science and art classes, and was happy to hear from many students on their fall semester, future plans and more. As we work to make careers in STEM a possibility for all students across Kansas, Wheatland High School should be commended for the special focus they place on STEM education and career-focused classes for their students. Thank you to Senior Class President Angel Mong, Student Body Vice President Ethan Beckman and Student Body President Morgan Zimmerman for leading my tour of the school, who I'm pictured with below. Thanks also to Principal Todd Flinn and Superintendent Gary Kraus for arranging my visit.


Kansans in the Office

CBW Bank
Suchitra Padmanabhan of Weir

Kansas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Breta Alstrom of Halstead
Carol Gilmore of Lawrence
Jennifer Morris of Hiawatha
Caitlyn Neuendorf of Goddard
Johannah Schrader of Hiawatha 

LMI Aerospace
John McMahon of Lenexa

Capitol Tour
Timothy Alsin of Shawnee
Kristine Alsin of Shawnee
Deborah Brehm of Wichita
Gordon Buss of Wichita
Shane Cordes of Overland Park
Jennifer Cordes of Overland Park
Shane Cordes of Overland Park
James Cordes of Overland Park
Liam Cordes of Overland Park
Jackie Demott of Ft. Scott
Joyce Earp of Ft. Scott
Pat Graham of Gillette
Jolene Graham of Gillette
Col. Christopher Haar of Silver Lake
Shelly Haar of Silver Lake
Andrew Haar of Silver Lake
Carolyn Haar of Silver Lake
Alexandria Haar of Lawrence
Judy Holt of Ft. Scott
David Johannes of Overland Park
Lauren Johannes of Overland Park
Lisa Johannes of Overland Park
Alexander Johannes of Overland Park
Johna Lederhouse of Ft. Scott
Elizabeth Maddox of Covington
Janet Schill of Falling Water
Lynda Sims of Topeka
Keith Vogts of Manhattan
Shirley Vogts of Manhattan
Neil Wieland of Atchison
Sylvia Zimmerman of Liberal

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.

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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