I want to thank everyone for their continued support for our team! We have a jam-packed August, and if we haven’t already, we’ll soon be in a community near you! Yesterday we kicked off our Community Coffee tour in Meade County. Thank you to all who joined for coffee and conversations! Today the tour continues I’ll be stopping in Herington today and Ashland on Monday.
It’s clear from yesterday’s conversations that Kansans continue to express concerns about the cost of health care. Health care remains a top priority for me – it’s what I have done all my life. I, too, have been disappointed by Congress’ inability to pass major health care legislation during this 115th Congress, and even more disappointed in our lack of focus on controlling costs through transparency, innovation, and consumerism. I promise that I will continue to move the ball on this and advocate for necessary reforms.
Click HERE to see the full Community Coffee schedule.
I hope to see you on the road!
Visit to the Big Red One for #VictoryWeek
I was honored to spend time at Fort Riley this week, helping troops celebrate Victory Week and the decades of success and leadership of one of the Army’s oldest divisions, the Big Red One. Victory week is an annual celebration encouraging camaraderie on the base. Each soldier competes with their unit in team sports like, flag football, softball, and soccer to earn points towards “the cup.” At the end of the week, the points are counted, and the unit with the highest
points wins the Commander’s Cup.
During my time at the base, I had the opportunity to meet with 1st Infantry Division Commanding General, John Kolasheski.Major General Kolasheski was most recently Deputy Chief of Staff for U.S. Armed Forces Command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and has previously served two tours of duty with the 1st Infantry Division. It’s an honor to get to know and work with the 1st Infantry Division Commanding General, Kolasheski and discuss his vision and how we can help Fort Riley and the 1ID soldiers who serve our country.
I also enjoyed visiting with community members at an evening barbecue and speaking with soldiers about their experiences at Fort Riley. I am proud of this Congress’ ongoing support for our military and the continued push to rebuild our armed forces, increase pay, and boost funding to provide the resources our men and women in uniform need to keep us safe.
While at Fort Riley this week, I also had the opportunity to tour the Advanced Turbine Engine Army Maintenance (ATEAM) Program. This program at the Marshall Army Airfield is home to the state of the art turbine engine rebuilding program. The ATEAM has almost quadrupled the lifecycle of the AGT 1500 engine from the early 1990s. This program’s unmatched expertise and technical skills are invaluable. This team does excellent work at reducing fleet sustainment costs and increasing readiness both here and abroad.
Taking care of our Vets
My district is home to seven Veterans Administration (VA) community-based outpatient clinics (CBOC) that provide health care services to veterans utilizing the VA healthcare program. This week I toured the Junction City and Dodge City CBOCs to learn more about the services and physicians that provide care for our veterans.
This Congress is dedicated to taking care of our veterans; in fact, the House recently funded the VA the largest amount in history. The purpose of significantly increasing our funding to the VA is that our clinics, like those in my district, have the staff and resources necessary to provide care for our veterans.
Officials at both locations noted that additional funds would go a long way with increasing staff and growing outreach efforts to ensure all veterans, no matter their age or location, receive the health care they need and deserve. Our veterans deserve timely, quality health care and should have the opportunity to have a say in their care.
Gearing up for school, focusing on safety
As kids prepare to go back to school, they gear up with their supplies and are anxious to see old friends and make new ones. But for parents across the district, some are stricken with worry for their child’s safety.
As a father of four, it breaks my heart to see the lack of certainty of our children’s safety in public spaces. This week, I spoke with USD 443 Superintendent Dr. Fred Dierksen, and Vice Principal Jacque Feist about
Dodge City’s efforts and initiatives to ensure a safe environment for all students.
We discussed securing entryways, completing drills and making hotlines available to both students and teachers for tips on unusual or aggressive behavior.
I am a cosponsor of the Student, Teachers, and Officers Preventing (STOP) School Violence Act, which passed the House in March, and the Securing Our Schools (SOS) Act. These pieces of legislation provide our students, educators, and law enforcement officers with the resources to report and better understand the warning signs. We must identify threats and prevent violence with training, coordination, and intervention, and I’m proud to support legislation that addresses these issues.
Airports help rural areas stay competitive
Home to the Air Capital of the world, Kansas as a whole, heavily relies on our aircraft industry. Across the Big First we have six airports that are vital to the long-term prosperity of our district. Communities like Moundridge are using their airports as an economic development opportunity to diversify and grow their local economies.
This week I toured Southwind Global Aviation, located at the Moundridge municipal airport. The company contracts with Textron Aviation to deliver planes manufactured in Independence, Kan., to customers around the world. Because of Southwind’s success, Moundridge officials are in the planning phase of a runway expansion project that would allow the company to bring in larger jets for delivery. As part of the project, the community would add additional hangar space for new companies and individuals wanting to call Moundridge home.
Airports are a vital component to keeping our rural areas competitive, and I’m proud to see communities like Moundridge utilize their infrastructure assets for economic growth.
“Year of the Tree”
2018 is the “Year of the Tree,” for Rotary Clubs across the country. I joined my hometown Rotary club this week in its tree dedication ceremony. The Great Bend Rotary dedicated a Ginkgo tree for the year’s theme.
In 1940, Boy Scout Troop #110 planted a Ginkgo tree near the Barton County Courthouse that was also sponsored by The Great Bend Rotary Club. Today there are three known Ginkgo trees in Great Bend. One Ginkgo tree is located at the corner of 16th Street and Jackson, one is at 2611 Broadway, and one is at the north end of the Barton County Court House Square.
The dedication was led by my friend Lee Musil, President of the Great Bend Rotary. Dr. Franklin Reinhardt, an original member of the #110 Boy Scout Troop, joined us for the occasion. I was glad to be a part of this dedication with some of my hometown friends, one of the many perks of being back home in the First District.