Kansas Common Sense
May 20 2019
On Friday, we recognized the 65th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Brown v. Topeka Board of Education that started the legal process of integrating schools across the nation. On this critical day in American history, we remember the legacy left behind by Linda Brown, her parents, and the 13 Kansans whose courage and persistence shifted our nation toward equality.
Honoring this legacy requires all Americans to uphold the self-evident truth that all people are created equal. Let us remember Brown v. Topeka Board of Education, and in doing so, I ask every American to commit to racial justice and equal opportunity.
I also joined the Kansas delegation in introducing a resolution recognizing the 65th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision and its importance to Kansas and our country. Following this introduction, I took to the Senate floor to honor these Kansans and their historic contributions to racial justice and equality. To watch these remarks, click here.
In 2004, on the 50th anniversary of this landmark decision, I welcomed President George W. Bush to Topeka to participate in events recognizing this day and the celebrating the grand opening of the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site. During his remarks, President Bush said the following: "America has yet to reach the high calling of its own ideals. Yet we're a nation that strives to do right. And we honor those who expose our failures, correct our course, and make us a better people. On this day, in this place, we remember with gratitude the good souls who saw a great wrong, and stood their ground, and won their case. And we celebrate a milestone in the history of our glorious nation."
Fighting Cancer is a Team Sport
On Friday, I hosted National Cancer Institute (NCI) Director Dr. Douglas Lowy in Kansas City to see firsthand the work being done by our region’s top providers, scientists and researchers as it relates to cancer research, treatment and prevention efforts.
We began the day at Children’s Mercy Kansas City, where Dr. Lowy and Children’s Mercy President and CEO Dr. Paul Kempinski, The University of Kansas Cancer Center Director Dr. Roy Jensen, and Dr. Michael Artman, Chair of Pediatrics at Children’s Mercy and University of Kansas School of Medicine, provided updates to over 100 KC-area healthcare providers, scientists, researchers and students on their respective efforts to fight cancer and improve the health and well-being of patients across our nation during a “Progress and Opportunity in Cancer Research” symposium.
In his opening remarks, Dr. Lowy noted that, “cancer research has become a team sport.” Nowhere is that more accurate than right here at home. In conjunction with Children’s Mercy, the KU Medical Center, The University of Kansas Health System leadership, we conveyed to Dr. Lowy how these partnerships are improving outcomes for Kansans fighting cancer and other pervasive diseases.
It was also an honor to have Katrina Case, Ellie Falkner and Juan Pineda Gomez, KC-area high school students who completed projects related to cancer research during the 2019 Kansas BioGENEius Challenge, in the audience. These students are already making a difference in our efforts to fight cancer, and we are proud of them.
After the symposium, the group took a hard-hat tour of Children’s Mercy’s Children’s Research Institute, followed by a discussion at the University of Kansas Clinical Research Center. These discussions offered Dr. Lowy an up-close view of Kansas City’s teamwork in fighting cancer and how NIH dollars are being utilized. The University of Kansas Medical Center saw nearly $59 million dollars in NIH funding over $9 million in NCI funding in 2018.
I will continue leveraging my role as a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee with funding jurisdiction over the NCI and the National Institutes of Health to promote scientific research and make certain that our scientists and researchers have the tools they need to continue propelling our country’s health outcomes forward.
Honoring Fallen Law Enforcement Officers During National Police Week
Thousands of law enforcement officers made the trip to Washington, D.C. to recognize National Police Week. This week-long recognition included numerous events to honor fallen law enforcement officers and to celebrate the work that men and women in uniform do every day in communities across our nation.
During this important week, we honor the service and sacrifice of our nation's fallen law enforcement officers. Let us never forget Officers Theresa King, Patrick Rohrer, Deputy Sheriff Robert Kunze, Jefferson County Undersheriff George Burnau and all those who have died in the line of duty while protecting Kansans.
We’re also reminded that law enforcement need our support and we recommit to supporting police officers across our country. We must provide the tools these men and women need to build and strengthen the bonds of trust with those they serve, and provide our best efforts to address the underlying challenges of our society, and of our country, that face each and every community. I delivered remarks on the Senate floor to honor our men and women in uniform and to recognize my own staff member and ATF Special Agent Matt Beccio. To view these remarks, click here.
It Is Imperative that Congress Pass a Disaster Bill
As many Kansans know, our state and swaths of the Midwest have been devastated by recent flooding, and efforts to provide assistance to these struggling farmers and ranchers has stalled in Congress. I delivered remarks on the Senate floor stressing the importance of Congress passing a disaster relief bill to assist producers who have been impacted by this flooding.
Earlier this year, I visited areas of Kansas that were underwater and saw farm ground that cannot be planted or put in productive use until significant time, effort and resources are invested in restoring that land. Continued rainfall across the state and region has threatened to cause additional flooding in many areas, as well as delayed planting for many farmers. It is important that Congress meet the challenge of providing assistance to those producers, many of whom lost everything.
With the market uncertainty due to trade disputes, farmers have more grain in storage than usual, waiting for prices to increase. When that grain is wiped out by floods, it is very similar to the family’s savings account drained of cash. Currently, disaster programs are not equipped to help these producers who lost a year’s worth of work and income when their stored grain was damaged or destroyed. Congress has the opportunity in the disaster bill to give USDA the authority to cover lost stored grain and to help get these producers back on their feet. To view these floor remarks, click here.
Celebrating Apollo 11 and Recommitting to American Dominance in Space
I was honored to join Vice President Mike Pence, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and others to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission at the National Air and Space Museum on Wednesday. As we honor the legacy of Apollo 11 and their unprecedented first trip to the moon, America is preparing to take the next giant leap in space exploration.
Our greatest achievements remain ahead of us. And as the chief appropriator for NASA, I will work with the White House, President Trump, Vice President Pence, NASA Administrator Bridenstine and my appropriations subcommittee to make certain NASA has the resources to land the first woman on the Moon and build lasting infrastructure to support missions to Mars and beyond.
Call Him Colonel Dole
On Thursday, I joined U.S. Army Chief of Staff General Mark A. Milley to witness and celebrate the military promotion of Senator Bob Dole to the rank of Colonel.
This promotion comes after the passage of our legislation to grant this promotion, and I’m honored to have played a small part in the recognition and elevation of this great Kansan and American. Thank you, Colonel Dole, for your dedicated and constant service to our nation.
Meeting with Kansas Women in the Eisenhower Series
It was great to meet with this year’s Dwight D. Eisenhower Excellence in Public Service Series class during their annual visit to Washington, D.C. One of the issues we discussed was how we can work together to encourage more civic participation across our communities, especially among young women. I always enjoy getting advice from these amazing leaders from across our state, and I am grateful for all their work to benefit Kansans.
Spending Time with Kansas Participants in the Team America Rocket Challenge
This week, I met with Kansas teams from De Soto and Wichita who qualified as the top 100 out of 900 teams to participate in the Team America Rocketry Challenge National Finals on Saturday in Virginia. The Team America Rocketry Challenge is the world’s largest student rocket contest, which nearly 5,000 students from across the nation compete in each year. These talented Kansas students designed, built and successfully flew a rocket carrying three raw eggs in a capsule that climbed to an altitude of 850 feet and returned it to ground with the eggs intact within 40-45 seconds. I was pleased to hear of their aspirations to pursue careers in STEM, and especially loved to hear the admiration and appreciation they have for their teachers and sponsors, who in many cases have inspired their interest for this topic.
Emerald City Rocket Club
Truesdell Middle School Rocket Club
Questioning Financial Regulators During a Senate Banking Committee Hearing
On Wednesday, in a Senate Banking Committee hearing, I questioned leaders of our banks’ federal regulators on their supervision and examination policies. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Chairman Jelena McWilliams, Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting, National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Chairman Rodney Hood, and Federal Reserve Vice Chairman of Supervision Randal Quarles discussed financial oversight, regulatory reform efforts and the strength of our nation’s banking and financial system. While there may be disagreements about the extent of regulations needed for our nation’s biggest banks, I made clear to the leaders of these regulatory agencies that overly burdensome regulations intended only for the largest lenders are hurting our nation’s community banks. Like hospitals and schools, banks are another lifeline in our rural communities. These important institutions need more access to credit, not less, and I will continue working with my Senate colleagues and the federal regulators to ensure our community banks can thrive. Click here to watch this questioning.
Meeting with the Kansas City Area Development Council
On Thursday, I met with the Kansas City Area Development Council (KCADC) to discuss the selection of the Greater Kansas City Area as one of three finalists to be the future home of the USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). As a member of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, I support efforts to relocate these agencies outside of Washington D.C. because I believe government agencies are most effective when located close to the people they serve. Home to approximately 5,000 USDA employees and contractors, as well as the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor, Kansas City is a conveniently located and thriving area that would be a great place to relocate these agencies. Additionally, moving ERS and NIFA from Washington, D.C. to Kansas City would not only save money for taxpayers, but also result in over 500 high-paying jobs moving to the area.
I am helping lead the effort in Congress to relocate ERS and NIFA to Kansas City, including making the case for our state to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue at a recent hearing. I appreciate KCADC’s partnership in this effort and look forward to continuing to fight for ERS and NIFA to be located in Kansas City.
Meeting with FAA Administrator Nominee Stephen Dickson
On Tuesday, I met with FAA Administrator Nominee Stephen Dickson to discus aircraft manufacturing and certification, contract towers and rural airport infrastructure. Mr. Dickson has a long record of service and experience. He served in the U.S. Air Force until 1991, then joined Delta Air Lines as a pilot and later retired as Delta’s Senior Vice President of Flight Operations. I enjoyed discussing Kansas’ rich history in aviation and look forward to his speedy confirmation.
Joining Fellow Members of the Army Caucus to Hear from Army Leaders
On Thursday morning I had the opportunity to sit down with members of the Senate Army Caucus and our Army’s top leaders for a productive conversation about current issues impacting the state of our army. Among several topics, we discussed how we can best protect our army’s assets from evolving and persistent cyber threats. I believe that as the Army looks to rapidly procure additional systems that are reliant on technology, the Army needs to make cyber readiness a priority. Our defense industry partners have some responsibility for identifying and fixing cyber vulnerabilities, but the Army needs to be part of the process. Our great cyber warriors within our Kansas National Guard in the 177th Information Aggressor Squadron exemplifies the talent that exists within the National Guard and I believe the Army can leverage their skillsets in the address of cyber vulnerabilities.
Meeting with Kansas Realtors
This week, I met with a number of Kansas real estate professionals who were participating in the the National Association of Realtors (NAR) Hill Day. The United States is the beneficiary of the world’s strongest mortgage financing system and I continue to believe the real estate industry provides a gateway to the American dream of homeownership.
Our conversation centered around the importance of reauthorizing the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), as well as ways to improve the mortgage finance system that guides lending and borrowing for homebuyers. We also discussed ways to promote a more inclusive environment in homeownership and the value of affordable housing infrastructure across the country.
Hearing Updates from Kansas VA Healthcare Leadership
I was happy to see the leadership of our VA Veteran Integrated Service Network (VISN 15) in DC this week. Network Director Dr. William Patterson, Eastern KS Director Rudy Klopfer, Kansas City Director Kathleen Fogarty and Wichita Director Rick Ament stopped by to represent the healthcare needs of our veteran population. VISN 15, otherwise known as the VA Heartland Network, is one of the most rural of the 18 VISNs across the country. There are great challenges that come with providing healthcare in a rural area, and I believe that the implementation of the VA MISSION Act will help to improve the quality of care for our veterans by increasing access to medical resources readily available within a veteran’s community.
Now Accepting Fall 2019 Internship Applications
My own interest in public service was sparked by an internship for Kansas First District Congressman Keith Sebelius in 1974. As an intern, I had the chance to learn firsthand how a Congressional office operates and how the legislative process works. I am proud to be able to offer this same opportunity in my Senate office today, where I have interns year-round working closely with my staff on behalf of Kansans.
Applications for internships in my Washington, D.C. and Kansas offices for the fall 2019 session are due June 14. Congressional internships are open to qualified undergraduate and graduate students who have an interest in public service and have achieved academic excellence. Click here for more information and to apply.
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.
Very truly yours,
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Kansans in the Office
Joel Delagardelle of Overland Park
Jay Brame of Prairie Village
Martin Draper of Manhattan
Megan Rolf of Manhattan
Aaron Lackamp of Lenexa
Claire Lackamp of Lenexa
Scott Anderson of Lawrence
Maegan Butterberg of Topeka
American College of Physicians
Rami Diab of Wichita
Isaac Opole of Leawood
Rebecca Opole of Leawood
Benjamin Quick of Leawood
Ky Stoltzfus of Wichita
Donna Sweet of Wichita
Jerrica Warner of Kansas City
Phillip Bradley of Lawrence
JJ Johns of Emporia
Callahan Akins of Overland Park
Charleston Akins of Overland Park
Charlotte Akins of Overland Park
Claire Akins of Overland Park
Hattie Akins of Overland Park
Henry Akins of Overland Park
Erica Ash of Mission Hills
Ryan Ash of Mission Hills
Scott Black of Shawnee
Ruth Blick of Prairie Village
Bryan Clark of Atchison
Josh Deibert of Shawnee
Matthew Diebert of Shawnee
Paula Flores of Garden City
Ronald Gish of Topeka
Kristen Hoffman of Shawnee
Mandi Nance of Hartford
Robert Nance of Hartford
Lindsey Murphy of Kansas City
Mike Murphy of WaKeeney
Monique Phillips of WaKeeney
Travis Phillips of WaKeeney
Garrison Riley of De Soto
Christopher Yeo of Hartford
Miranda Young of Shawnee
Amy Bankston of Wichita
Barbra Donovan of Hanover
DeAnn Hill of Baxter Hills
Rhonda McGraw of Olathe
Christy McNally of Mulberry
Terri Mujica McLain of Leawood
Julia Nelson of Long Island
Sandra Pickert of Wichita
Katie Sawyer of McPherson
Sophie Sawyer of Overland Park
Missey Smith of Overland Park
Laurel Stiffler of Shawnee
Sara Shipman of Topeka
Emerald City Rocket Club
Scott Blanck of Shawnee
Joshua Deibert of Shawnee
Matthew Deibert of Shawnee
Kristen Hoffman of Shawnee
Garrison Riley of De Soto
Miranda Young of Shawnee
Heating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Distribution
Tyler Chorney of Wichita
Chris Forth of Wichita
Phillip Martin of Wichita
Gary Mason of Maize
Kansas Association of Realtors
Doug Barrington of Topeka
Linda Briden of Iola
John Brocker of Iola
Steven Burch of Junction City
Greta-Carter Wilson of Lawrence
Dennis Clary of Wichita
Scott Deneve of Overland Park
Jon Fort of Garden City
Elita Fry of Rose Hill
Kern Gehle of Topeka
Brian Jones of Pittsburg
Steven LaRue of Lawrence
Marsha McConnell of Hutchinson
John McKenzie of Wichita
Deborah McMullen of Lawrence
Monica Miller of Paola
Kathleen Minden of Paola
Natalie Moyer of Wichita
Steven Moyer of Overland Park
Max Palmer of Prairie Village
Margaret Pendleton of Manhattan
Chris Rost of Salina
Dan Sight of Leawood
Patrick Vogelsberg of Topeka
Henry Wertin of Lawrence
Sydney West of Olathe
Todd Woodburn of Wichita
Christian Zarif of Overland Park
Kansas Motor Carrier Association
Kimberly Bonhart of Olathe
Terry Budimlija of Lenexa
Kay Hendrix of Topeka
Mark Munds of Wichita
Tony Whitaker of Topeka
Kansas State Troopers Association
Bryan Clark of Atchison
Trooper Lindsey Murphy of Kansas City
Capt. Michael Murphy of WaKeeney
Lt. Travis Phillips of WaKeeney
National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors
Arthur Allen of Wichita
Steven Elliot of Wichita
National Ready Mixed Concrete Association
Andrew Groth of Overland Park
Dave Henderson of Ellis
Mike Porter of Neodesha
John Rathbun of Lawrence
Amy St. Pierre of Overland Park
National Turfgrass Federation
Mark Johnson of Lawrence
Nelson Poultry Farms
Greg Nelson of Manhattan
Promotional Products Association
Brian Porter of Overland Park
Jody Scoby of Hays
Truesdell Middle School TARC Team
Terrell Davis of Wichita
Kayden Eskins of Wichita
TyErra Field of Wichita
Chad Giovard of Wichita
Steve Hamous of Wichita
David Harwood of Leawood
Reagan Harwood of Leawood
Kalon Kirk of Wichita
Jeff Lackey of Conway Springs
Austin Leiker-Walter of Wichita
Madeleine Leiker-Walter of Wichita
Bill Lindsay of Wichita
Leslie Love of Wichita
Dean McDaniel of Council Grove
Chris Rech of Emporia
Ian Sweetwater of Wichita
Michael White of Topeka
USACE Kansas City District
Jennifer Switzer 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 letter, a Facebook comment, or a phone call, who wish to make their voice heard.
Very truly yours,
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