Kansas Common Sense

Visiting with Kansas Cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy
This week I enjoyed getting to visit with Kansas cadets at the United States Air Force Academy. One of my most meaningful responsibilities as a U.S. Senator is nominating young Kansans to attend our nation’s service academies, and to support them in accomplishing their desires to serve their country. These men and women are some of Kansas’ best and brightest. Having Kansans at our service academies is just one of the many ways our state is playing a pivotal role in fortifying our nation's current and future defense. 

I want to thank Cadet Malachi Feil from Wichita, Cadet Robert Wright from Wichita, Cadet Lauren Steinlage from Olathe, Cadet Andrew Emerson from Topeka, Cadet Nelson Loosli from Dodge City, Cadet Chase Dwonrnicki from Wichita, Cadet Michaela Birkholz, Cadet Tyler Simms from Olathe, Cadet Zachary Bollinger from Hesston, and Cadet Mason Vasta from Overland Park for joining me at lunch.

Update on Quivira National Wildlife Refuge
On Thursday, I spoke with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Director, Martha Williams, to discuss concerns about her agency’s Request to Secure Water with the Kansas Depart of Agriculture-Division of Water Resources related to senior water rights of the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge in south-central Kansas. I reiterated concerns from Kansans on the potential uncertainty and unpredictability for farmers and ranchers, which could devastate rural Kansas communities and the agricultural economy. I re-emphasized and asked Director Williams to meet with and continue working with local stakeholders and state leaders to find a solution that works for everyone.

Open House at Colmery O’Neil VA Medical Center
On Friday morning, I spoke at the ribbon cutting for the expansion of Colmery-O’Neil VA Emergency Department, This is the completion of Phase Two of the expansion, providing six additional beds for a total of eleven beds available for patient care. The enhancements to the facility include single occupancy rooms for enhanced privacy as well as two additional trauma bays and two behavioral health rooms, providing a secure environment for veterans experiencing a mental health crisis. An additional service is the participation in the VA National Telestroke Program (NTSP) which serves veterans with acute stroke symptoms at VA emergency departments, urgent care centers and hospitals in order is provide acute stroke expertise to front-line staff via videoconference with a telestroke neurologist. 

Thank you to Director Rudy Klopfer, Emergency Department Chief Dr. Stephanie Davis and everyone in the Eastern Kansas VA Health System, as well as Bill Turner, Director of the Kansas Commission of Veterans Affairs, for your commitment to serving our veterans.

Captain Richard Federico, Nominee for 10th Circuit Court of Appeals
While in Topeka, I met with Captain Richard Federico to discuss his nomination to serve on the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, which has jurisdiction over Kansas. I appreciated the opportunity to ask him more about his career and how he views the role of a judge. I look forward to hearing his testimony at his confirmation hearing.

Attending Kansas Agriculture Summit Reception
On Wednesday, I attended the 2023 Governor’s Summit on Agricultural Growth reception in Manhattan. I enjoyed speaking with Kansans on the upcoming farm bill, hunger and water issues and new growth opportunities for the agricultural industry. It’s important that I hear from producers and industry professionals to support our Kansas farmers and ranchers.