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Recognizing This Season of Giving
Wishing You and Your Family a Safe Thanksgiving
Robba and I hope you and your family had a meaningful Thanksgiving, and that you found time to connect with friends and loved ones to give thanks.
I am especially grateful to our servicemembers, first responders and law enforcement officers who could not be with their families on Thursday. Please keep them in your prayers this holiday season as they work to defend our country and keep our communities safe.
Joining Topeka Rescue Mission Ahead of Thanksgiving
Topeka Rescue Mission provides shelter to more than 140 individuals every night and provides programs to help individuals receive the skills and training they need to find meaningful work. Their mission began in 1953, and on Monday I joined members and volunteers of Topeka Rescue Mission as they passed out hand warmers, sleeping bags and food to those living without permanent housing.
In Kansas, nearly 2,500 people experience homelessness on any given night. It is important to see firsthand what people are going through and begin to comprehend the challenges our homeless population face each and every day. Especially during this season of giving thanks, it is not only important to be grateful for the everyday comforts we take for granted, but to take stock of the many ways we can take action to lend a hand to those in need. To those who dedicate their time and purpose to helping those less fortunate, thank you.
Thank you to Topeka Rescue Mission Executive Director Barry Feaker, Director of MAP Haleigh Hipsher and Assistant Director of MAP Holton Witman for the commitment they provide to those seeking assistance, and to VA Eastern Kansas Health Care System Homeless Veterans Coordinator Katherine Rose for her work to improve the lives of the homeless veterans in Kansas.
Discussing Inflation and Soaring Gas Prices
President Biden’s decision to draw from the strategic reserve will not solve the current energy crisis and is merely a Band-Aid to the soaring gas prices Kansans are facing this holiday season. President Biden’s call for OPEC and Russia to increase oil production while seeking to hinder oil production here at home is nonsensical and severely diminishes American energy independence.
We need an all-of-the-above energy plan that bolsters domestic production, supports innovation and not more red tape and new taxes. We also must not rely on foreign imports, like Russia, for energy. Producing energy here at home is the best solution for lower gas prices. Watch more here from Fox News.
KU Clinical and Translational Science Institute Leading Medical Research
This week, I visited the University of Kansas Medical Center with Sen. Roy Blunt to discuss the importance of the medical research, education and training happening through the Frontiers program. I was pleased to welcome Garden City native and National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) Acting Director Dr. Joni Rutter back to Kansas. As part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), NCATS focuses on providing more rapid medical research treatment discoveries to more patients.
As a recipient of the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) Program which provides support for the NCATS mission, Frontiers: University of Kansas Clinical and Translational Science Institute is at the forefront of turning research into real, medical treatments that can help people across the country.
Frontiers is among an elite group of institutions across the country that are focused on advancing clinical and translational science, and I appreciated the opportunity to co-host this discussion with Sen. Blunt and KU Chancellor Doug Girod. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee that helps fund NIH and NCATS, I am committed to providing the necessary resources needed to advance our medical research and ultimately save lives because of more medical breakthroughs. In addition, the excellent work of KU Frontiers and their consortium of members across Kansas is leading the way in demonstrating the essential role regional partnerships hold in medical advancements.
Thank you to Dr. Rutter and Frontiers Director Dr. Mario Castro for their informative presentations and to everyone who joined us including Dr. Meredith Temple-O’Connor and Dr. Michael Kurilla from the NCATS team, KU’s Department of Internal Medicine Chair Dr. Matthias Salathe, Children’s Mercy Executive Director and Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Tom Curran and Deputy Director of the Children’s Mercy Research Institute Dr. Steve Leeder.
Announcing USDA Investment in Kansas Small and Midsized Meatpackers
On Tuesday, I announced an investment in eight Kansas small and midsized meatpackers through the Meat and Poultry Inspection Readiness Grant (MPIRG) program. This program was created by my legislation, the Requiring Assistance to Meat Processers for Upgrading Plants (RAMP-UP) Act, for small and midsized meatpacking plants to make the necessary investments to become federally inspected. Currently, meatpacking facilities can only make sales across state lines if they are federally inspected.
Small meatpackers in Kansas are a vital component in our supply chain, providing new market opportunities for regional livestock producers and helping meet a growing, nationwide demand for quality meat and poultry. I introduced the RAMP-UP Act to equip small meatpackers with the necessary resources to adhere to federal standards, and I am pleased to see the resulting investment will help meatpackers across Kansas expand their businesses and reach a wider customer base with the ability to sell their products across state lines.
Supporting Our Law Enforcement
Highlighting the Regional De-Escalation Training Center at Fort Hays State
On Tuesday, I was pleased to take part in highlighting the National De-Escalation Training Center Grant Acceptance Ceremony at Fort Hays State University.
One of the first of its kind, the establishment of the Regional De-Escalation Training Center at Fort Hays with the help of this federal grant will provide comprehensive and advanced training to departments and agencies not only in Kansas but across the multi-state region. De-escalation training equips law enforcement with the knowledge and techniques needed to assess the level of danger and turn down the heat on volatile situations. It helps to provide the safest possible outcome for both the officer and the individuals they serve within their communities. Now more than ever, it takes a special kind of person to be a law enforcement officer, and I am committed to ensuring they have the tools they need to keep their communities safe.
Thank you to Fort Hays State President Tisa Mason, University Police Chief Ed Howell and Department of Criminal Justice Chair Dr. Tamara Lynn for inviting me to join you. And to all of the law enforcement professionals who I spoke with and who answer the call to serve, thank you.
Speaking with Leadership and Faculty at Plainville USD 270
This week, I met with Plainville Board of Education President Nathan Grebowiec to see firsthand how the district is using federal funding at USD 270. Faculty shared their thoughts and concerns about how the pandemic has created new challenges in detecting at-risk students.
USD 270 has been recognized in several categories through the Kansas State Department of Education Kansans Can Star Recognition Program last week. USD 270 received the Kansas Education Commissioner’s Award with Highest Distinction, along with the Silver Award in Postsecondary Success and Bronze Award in High School Graduation. These awards serve as a testament to the dedication of the teachers and staff who work to teach and prepare the students who are the future of our communities.
I appreciate Senior Class President Ben Hansen and Sophomore Class President Kaydence Grebowiec for accompanying me on the tour. Thank you to Superintendent Lisa Gehring, Principal Jeremy Krob and Board Member Chris Hansen for speaking with me this week.
Addressing Hill City Rotary
It was great to speak with Hill City Rotarians this week, where we discussed the importance of small businesses to their communities, reaching out to veterans this holiday season and concerns about inflation. I appreciate their efforts to speak with me about the issues important to them before the Thanksgiving holiday.
Thank you to Hill City Rotary members, including Melissa Atkins, Anna Waugh, Kylee Shaz, Julie Davis, Bryant Muir and Kelton Schuckman for the work they do each and every day to better their community. Civic clubs – and their mission to help others – embody what this week is about.
Checking In With Rural Kansas Communities
While I was in Palco this week, it was great to catch up with lifetime local Mary Keller and Anna Luna of Midland Marketing.
From the grocery store to the post office to the local businesses along Main Street, thank you to everyone who took time out of their day to speak with me.
I also visited Ellsworth this week, and I appreciated those who spoke with me throughout town and as I visited the county courthouse. The conversations I have with Kansans inform my work in Washington.
Flipping the Coin at the 2A State Championship Game
On Saturday, it was great to perform the coin toss for the 2A State Football Championship between the Beloit Trojans and the Rossville Bulldogs.
Congratulations to both teams on your incredible seasons, and congrats to the Rossville Bulldogs on winning the state championship! Thank you to the Kansas State High School Activities Association for inviting me to be a part of the game in Salina.
Remembering Dan Lykins
Dan was a Kansan through and through and always fought for what he thought was best for our state. He put up a long, hard fight against cancer and continued working as an attorney throughout his treatments. I am grateful for Dan’s service to our state and always appreciated how he advocated for every-day Kansans.
Robba and I had the opportunity of getting to know Dan while he and Robba served together on the Kansas Board of Regents. We are saddened to hear of his passing, and our heartfelt condolences are with Dan’s family and friends.
Remembering Ulysses Lee “Rip” Gooch
Rip was a trailblazer who spent his entire life serving others. It was an honor to serve with Rip in the Kansas State Senate. He was highly respected on both sides of the aisle, and even after his retirement, Rip continued to be a strong advocate for the community. Rip’s passion for aviation and dedication to civil rights will leave a lasting legacy in our state.
Robba and I extend our heartfelt condolences to Rip’s family and loved ones.
Happy Hanukkah to everyone celebrating in Kansas and around the world!
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,