Kansas Common Sense

Remembering D-Day 80 Years Later
On Thursday, the 80th anniversary of D-Day, I had the opportunity to speak at the Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene to recognize WWII veterans and General Eisenhower. It was an honor to be surrounded by members of the Greatest Generation who fought and sacrificed during WWII to prevail against tyranny and preserve the freedoms we hold dear.


While at the D-Day celebration in Abilene, I also announced a $17.5 million investment to expand and modernize the Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum and Boyhood Home. President Eisenhower stands as a model for leadership in our country. He was a boy from Abilene who became the Allied Commander during WWII and the President of the United States. This library is proof of the American dream, and it is as important as ever we continue to honor the legacy of General and President Eisenhower to educate and inspire another generation of leaders for our country. Thank you to Governor Laura Kelly for joining me at the event and to Executive Director for the Eisenhower Foundation Meredith Sleichter and her team for organizing this important event.

You can read more about the event here.


Lowering Kansas Energy Costs
In September of 2023, I joined Sen. Roger Marshall in calling on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to eliminate the burdensome costs Kansans pay to transmit state-produced energy to neighboring states. Kansas is home to an abundance of energy production, but families and businesses have been paying inflated transmission costs as a result of FERC procedure. This week, FERC announced that it will adjust electricity transmission costs that overly burdened Kansas residents. It is FERC’s statutory obligation to make sure costs are allocated in a manner that is roughly commensurate with the benefits received, and I am glad they will adopt a system that appropriately distributes energy costs.

You can read more about the announcement here.

Too Little Too Late at the Southern Border
This week, President Biden announced an executive order to limit asylum claims at the southern border in an attempt to slow the flow of migrants. While action by the President is needed, I am doubtful this executive order will make the necessary changes to ensure operational control of our border and make certain we know who, why and where people are crossing into our country. President Biden has the tools he needs to end the mass of illegal migrants crossing our southern border, and this executive order does too little too late.

Questioning FBI Director Wray
On Tuesday, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies hosted Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Wray to discuss the President’s FY2025 budget request for the FBI, as well as other challenges facing the bureau. As the Ranking Member of the subcommittee, I appreciated the director’s willingness to answer questions regarding the security challenges we face at the southern border, the threat that Russia poses to democracy both in Ukraine and abroad, and ways we can safeguard the United States from terrorists who have been inspired by the ongoing war in Gaza. 

We also discussed President Biden’s executive order to limit asylum claims at the southern border and how to prevent those on the terrorist watchlist from entering our country. I will continue to ensure that our intelligence agencies are equipped with the tools to protect our homeland from those who would seek to do us harm, and I look forward to working further with Director Wray to achieve that goal.

You can watch my questioning here.


Addressing Mail Delivery Delays in Kansas
This week, the United States Postal Service (USPS) responded to an inquiry from Sen. Roger Marshall and me regarding USPS’ failure to deliver mail on-time and six days a week. In response, USPS has announced that it will conduct an audit to evaluate efficiency of operations and delivery conditions at the Kansas City mail processing and distribution center, as well as the Robert L. Roberts Post Office in Kansas City, Kansas, and the Shawnee Mission Post Office in Mission, Kansas. Over the past year, I have heard from constituents expressing frustration with mail delays they have experienced. Kansans depend on the Postal Service for a variety of services like paying bills, mail-order prescriptions, and sending greeting cards to commemorate important events in our lives. USPS must abide by their statutory obligation to deliver mail on-time and six days a week. I will continue to monitor the ongoing delays and will advocate on behalf of all Kansans for a more efficient mail service.

Protecting Rural Nursing Homes from Federal Overreach
This week I joined my Senate colleagues in introducing a Congressional Review Act (CRA) Resolution of disapproval to overturn the final rule from the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that imposes burdensome federal staffing mandates on long-term care facilities. The CMS rule mandates LTC homes have a certain number of staff and patient care hours that are not feasible with the current workforce challenges facing the entire health care industry, especially in rural areas. The rule and new required standards would force many rural nursing and LTC homes to close their doors due to the inability to meet the staffing mandates. The administration should be working with Congress to expand access to health care in rural communities rather than adding more unrealistic regulations that will make it impossible for rural nursing homes to continue operating. Overturning this CMS mandate will support rural nursing homes and LTC homes and make certain they remain open to provide care and housing to the Kansans relying on them.

Protecting Local Pharmacies
This week, I spoke on the Senate floor about the need to regulate Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs). PBMs are threatening the survival of independent pharmacies in rural America through existing practices that have not come to fruition. The obscurity of their industry allowed PBMs to argue they are helping keep prescription costs lower for patients while ensuring higher reimbursements for pharmacies which is resulting in the closure of many local pharmacies across the country. I am urging Senate leadership and my colleagues to bring legislation to the floor so we can begin passing and implementing PBM reforms. Only with strict reforms, increased regulations and codified practices for PBMs can we protect local pharmacies.

You can watch my floor remarks here.


Supporting Veterans and Caregivers

I introduced legislation with Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) to better coordinate and manage health care for veterans who receive services through both Medicare and the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA). The Coordinating Care for Senior Veterans and Wounded Warriors Act would create a three-year pilot program where veterans who are enrolled in both Medicare and the VA health care system would be assigned a case manager to help develop individualized care plans and manage the delivery of health care services from these two government agencies. This would help eliminate gaps in care and duplication of services, improve quality of care and lower expenses for taxpayers.

I hear frequently from veterans and their caregivers in Kansas about the difficulties they face when trying to access health care they have earned from two different government health care systems. I would like to thank my colleague Sen. King for joining me on this legislation, and I am grateful to have the support of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, Wounded Warrior Project, the Paralyzed Veterans of America and AMVETS.

You can read the full text of the legislation here.


Discussing Kansas’ Involvement in NOAA
This week, I met with Rear Admiral Chad Cary, who currently serves as Deputy Director for Operations, NOAA Office of Marine and Aviation Operations (OMAO) and Deputy Director, NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps. RADM Cary has recently been nominated to serve as the next director of both OMAO and the NOAA Corps, and I appreciated the opportunity to speak with him ahead of the Senate’s consideration of his nomination. Kansas plays a significant role in contributing to NOAA’s mission in Textron’s manufacturing of the Beechcraft King Air 360 CER turboprop, which NOAA uses in support of coastal mapping, snow and soil moisture surveys, as well as emergency response missions. Similarly, I introduced legislation which was signed into law that established a NOAA pilot training pipeline at K-State-Salina by creating a first-of-its-kind program to prepare students to serve as officers within the NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps, one of the nation’s eight uniformed services. Thank you to RADM Cary for taking time to meet with me.


Coordinating with VA and Medicare
On Wednesday, the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee held a joint hearing with the Senate Special Committee on Aging to address how Congress can improve services for veterans and their family caregivers as they age. Approximately half of the 9 million veterans who are enrolled in the VA healthcare system are over the age of 65. I have introduced several pieces of legislation to improve VA’s caregiver program, expand home-and-community-based care opportunities for veterans, test innovative new care coordination initiatives and make it easier for caregivers to transition back to the workforce or into retirement once their caregiving days are over. During this hearing, witnesses also talked about the important role that State Veteran Homes play in caring for veterans as they get older. Kansas has two State Veteran Homes and there is a proposal to build another one in Topeka. However, the lack of sufficient funding for State Veterans Home construction projects leaves many states – Kansas included – waiting far too long before VA provides matching funds.

I would like to thank my colleagues on both the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee and Special Committee on Aging for their continued effort in support our nation’s veterans and their caregivers and the witnesses from the veteran community who testified before both committees.

You can watch my questioning here.


Meeting with AIPAC
On Wednesday, I met with representatives of AIPAC to discuss how the United States can best support Israel during its ongoing war against Hamas. In April, I voted in favor of the Israel Security Supplemental Appropriations Act, which provided emergency funding to replenish Israel’s Iron Dome defenses against militant rockets and to conduct operations against Hamas. It is essential for the United States to be a steadfast and reliable partner in the midst of so many dangers that threaten the world and our own nation’s peace and prosperity. Israel’s right to exist is not up for debate, and the United States will support and defend our greatest ally in the Middle East as it acts against those who wish to destroy the Jewish state.

Meetings with Kansans
Mize Family
It was great to see my longtime friend John Mize and his wife Karen of Olathe in my office on Tuesday, along with their children and grandchildren. John and I were legal colleagues before I served in Congress, and I spoke at his daughter Alison’s high school graduation commencement ceremony in 2001. Thank you to the Mizes for taking the time to visit with me.


National Feed and Grain Association
On Wednesday, I met with Kansas members of the National Grain and Feed Association in Washington, D.C. The National Grain and Feed Association represents grain, feed and related commercial businesses to enhance the growth and economic performance of U.S. agriculture. We discussed supply chain challenges facing the ag industry, including access to reliable rail service. We also discussed the upcoming farm bill, labor shortages and waterway infrastructure.


Visits Across Kansas
KMW Front End Loaders
On Thursday, I stopped in Sterling to visit KMW Front End Loaders. Founded in 1965, KMW originally manufactured soil packers and trailers for hauling swathers. Today, they are offering loaders, backhoes, grapples and other attachments for a global market—all manufactured and assembled in the United States between its Sterling, Lyons and Great Bend locations. Recently, KMW announced a $105 million investment to construct a new North American headquarters and a state-of-the-art production facility in Sterling.

Thanks to KMW CEO Wayne Buchberger for hosting me for the tour. I was also grateful to be joined by Sterling Mayor Richard Jones, Sterling City Manager Ian Hutcheson, Rice County Economic Development Director Stacy Clark, Sterling Chamber Interim Director Raechel Manley and First Bank Vice President Keith Geist.


Rush County Memorial Hospital
On Thursday, I toured Rush County Memorial Hospital and met with CEO Dr. Robert Ladd and the staff that provides quality healthcare in La Crosse. Last month, Rush County Hospital received approval to transition from a Critical Access Hospital to a Rural Emergency Hospital, which my legislation, the Rural Emergency Hospital Improvement Act, helped with. This designation allows rural hospitals facing closure the opportunity to receive critical resources from the federal government to remain open and caring for their communities.

Thank you to Dr. Ladd, CFO Bebra Hovorka, board member Brady Gos, Kara Jecha, Brad Penka and all the committed health care workers and staff members who took time to visit with me.

You can read more about the Rural Emergency Hospital Improvement Act here.


Remembering Bill Haw
Bill Haw was a rancher, entrepreneur and developer whose leadership and influence shaped major parts of Kansas City and the Flint Hills. I worked with Bill since my early days back in Kansas, and his love of the cattle industry and respect for the beauty of the Flint Hills reflected his care for people and his state. He was a great contributor in the agriculture, small business and economic industries across Kansas, and he will be missed. Robba and I will be praying for the Haw family during this time.

Remembering Les Mason
Kansas Representative Les Mason was a businessman, volunteer, leader and friend. He was a strong advocate for central Kansas and was committed to helping his community and state succeed by serving in the Kansas State Legislature and local organizations. Through his entrepreneurial spirit and willingness to serve others, Les created job opportunities and contributed to the success of McPherson. He was loved by many and will be missed. Robba and I are saddened by the news of his passing and are praying for his wife, Victoria, his three children and the entire Mason family.

You can read more about Les here.

Kansans in the Office

Capitol Tour
Ashley Blanton of Highland

Brandee Buckley of Atchison

Karlee Buckley of Atchison

Ashley Busenitz of Benton

Landon Busenitz of Benton

Matthew Byrum of Wichita

Trace Caudle of Denton

Umange Sunil Chandrasiri of Wichita

Aniston Clary of Highland

Travis Clary of Highland

Jackson Cole of Highland

Kimberly Cole of Highland

Chloe Cook of Overland Park

Jim Cook of Prairie Village

Kathi Cook of Prairie Village

Peter Cook of Overland Park

Patricia Davis of Claflin

Audrey Denton of Denton

Grace Ellis of Topeka

Ronald Ellis of Topeka

Rebecca Fawcett of Spring Hill

Richard Fawcett of Spring Hill

Jaxton Fuemmeler of Troy

Karen Fuemmeler of Troy

Sophia Gill of Wichita

Charlotte Gordon of Salina

Grace Gordon of Salina

Jack Gordon of Salina

Sharon Grace of Wichita

Theresa Greusel of Overland Park

Avery Hendrix of Wathena

Jamie Hendrix of Wathena

Alison Hiatt of Salina

Caroline Hiatt of Salina

Jared Hiatt of Salina

Will Hiatt of Salina

Charles Hitt of Olathe

Christine Hitt of Olathe

Joseph Hitt of Olathe

Oliver Hitt of Olathe

Olga Khakova of Newton

Abby Koch of Wichita

Karen Koch of Wichita

Amy Krug of Troy

Emily Krug of Troy

Stephanie Lockhart of Denton

Malle Meyer of Denton

Michelle Meyer of Denton

Alexandra Milanovich of Wichita

John Mize of Olathe

Karen Mize of Olathe

Ryan Mize of Olathe

Rebecca Morgan of Claflin

Brady Myers of Denton

Jackson Nelson of Salina

Jennifer Nelson of Salina

Lucas Nelson of Salina

Tim Nelson of Salina

Amber Nickel of Wichita

Brian O’Donnell of Overland Park

Cheryl O’Donnell of Overland Park

Prezton Pace of Highland

Martin Rangel of Wichita

Morgan Rangel of Wichita

Taylor Rangel of Wichita

Brett Reber of McPherson

Kathryn Reber of McPherson

Josie Reno of Benena

Justin Reno of Atchison

Taylor Rickard of Olathe

Anna Maria Root of Atchison

Theresa Root of Atchison

Aaron Sauerwein of Newton

Charlotte Sauerwein of Newton

Don Sauerwein of Newton

Joel Sauerwein of Lawrence

Cerae Smith of Wichita

Greg Standifer of Wichita

Lauren Standifer of Wichita

William Symns of Denton

Emily Taylor of Wichita

Ryan Taylor of Wichita

David Thorne of Wichita

James Thurber of Newton

Josiah Thurber of Newton

Kaeden Thurber of Newton

Krista Thurber of Newton

Waniga Perera of Wichita

Ramith Umange of Wichita

Vimanga Umange of Wichita

Bethany Weber of Topeka

Christopher Weber of Topeka

Nicolas Weber of Topeka

Rachel Weber of Topeka

Airxcel, Inc.
Anthony Wollschalger of Wichita

American Academy of Emergency Medicine
Stephanie Thorn of Fairway

American Israel Public Affairs Committee
Bonnie Siegel of Leawood

Association of Community Mental Health Centers of Kansas
Randy Callstrom of Kansas City

Tim DeWeese of Olathe

Mary Jones of Wichita

Lucas Moody of Emporia

Craig Poe of Hays

Michelle Ponce of Emporia

Ryan Speier of Overland Park

Kristin Stock of Topeka

Colin Thomasset of Topeka

William Warnes of Shawnee

Association of Kentucky Fried Chicken Franchisees
Matt Hansen of Lenexa

Brandon Robertson of Wichita

Samantha Schoenhofer of Wichita

Breakthrough T1D
Melissa Cooper of Kansas City

Kalli Pfeifer of Russell

Community Care Network of Kansas
Scott Anglemyer of Shawnee

Sonja Bachus of Topeka

Child Advocacy Centers
Lynette Cimino of Topeka

Kasey Dalke of Wichita

Donita Garner of Iola

Whitney Lovell of Pittsburg

Sidney Lowry of Shawnee

Allison McLain of Shawnee

Judith Rodman of Shawnee

Dorothy Sparks of Iola

Diana Schunn of Wichita

Bev Turner of Lawrence

Heartbeat International
Ella Jean Morgan of Cunningham

Kendra Morgan of Cunningham

Allison Reed of Hutchinson

Kansas Farm Bureau
Marieta Hauser of Johnson

Gina Montalbano Zesiger of Lawrence

Bryan Zesiger of Lawrence

Kansas Health Care Association
Scott Averill of Overbrook

Brian Barbeau of Mission

Polly Berkley of Topeka

Staci Cardenas of Washington

John Cervino of Kansas City

Kevin Crowley of Andover

Sherri Holman of Kansas City

Anthony Johnson of Kansas City

Corwin Lewis of Overland Park

Linda MowBray of Topeka

Chrissy Morgan of Wichita

Brett Pu of Shawnee

Kansas Livestock Association
Cole Sjeklocha of Silver Lake

Kansas State Flinchbaugh Center for Agriculture Policy
Jay Armstrong of Muscotah

Terry Nelson of Long Island

Mothers Against Drunk Driving
Matthew Bretz of Hutchinson

National Association of EMS Physicians
Kevin Joles of Lawrence

National Association of State Highway and Transportation Unions
Rocky Lindgren of Abilene

Rick Wiley of Westphalia

National Grain and Feed Association
Lance Adams of Maize

Adam Butler of Moundridge

Wyatt Brummer of Fairway

Blake Duden of Lenexa

Lawson Hemburger of Milan

Brock Lucas of Fairway

Bill Krueger of Overland Park

Max Mobley of Hutchinson

Lee Sabata of Overland Park

Thomas Sexter of Leawood

Open Door Health Services
Allison Meed of Hutchinson

Bev Nisly of Hutchinson 

Melissa Martin of Lawrence

Ethan Spurling of Lawrence

Eric Hannis of Wichita

United Nations Association of Greater Kansas City
Jessica Hernandez of Overland Park

Edward Hernandez Rodriguez of Overland Park

Jay Sjerven of Leawood

Karenbeth Zacharias of Overland Park

United States Global Leadership Coalition
Mike Beam of Manhattan

Doug Keesling of Chase

Usha Reddi of Manhattan

Earl Roemer of Scott City

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