We Are Headed to Manhattan!
As parents of four children, my wife, Angela, and I can only imagine the horror of the parents, family and friends when they received word of the heinous acts of violence in Newtown, Connecticut. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims, the children and adults who witnessed the horror, and the families of those who are attempting to deal and cope with such tragedy and loss.
We are excited to announce that our staff will open what we believe may be the first-ever congressional office in Manhattan in January. This is in addition to the offices we already have in Dodge City, Salina, and Hutchinson. More details about the location and hours will be announced soon, but we look forward to serving this new area of the Big First! Our staff currently working for you in Salina will travel to Riley and Pottawatomie Counties to provide in-person constituent services. Of course technology allows us the ability to do much of it without being face-to-face, but nonetheless it is important for this thriving region to have regular access to our team.
During my first two years in Congress we have maintained a solid Kansas presence. I held town halls in each of the Big First's 69 counties in 2011 and again in 2012 -- 140 town halls in total! Staff have held satellite office hours in every county as well. We hosted telephone town halls nearly every month, and most importantly, I come back to Kansas every weekend. Our priorities in Washington are set by the thousands of Kansans who have given their views to my staff and me. The addition of this satellite office will continue this tradition.
Photo from the announcement at the Manhattan Regional Airport.
Still Waiting for Answers
As I shared with you in last week’s update, we are still waiting for an explanation as to why GOP leadership removed us from the House Budget and Agriculture Committees. However, I did receive a rather bland letter from Speaker Boehner that confirmed the existence of a secret “scorecard” that was used – at least in part – to punish me and the Kansans I represent. My voting card belongs to the people of the First District of Kansas - not to anyone in Washington, D.C. And, I will not surrender my independence nor my conservative views. Nor will I apologize for using my elected position to speak for you - for that is my solemn duty. You can read the entire letter here.
Please also take a few minutes to watch my appearances on Fox Business Network and MSNBC where I discuss not only the committee assignments, but also the looming Washington-manufactured fiscal cliff.
We are just days away from automatic tax increases, and I am afraid that there are many in Washington who are ready to cave into the President's insistence for more money to spend. In fact, we heard this weekend that Speaker Boehner proposed increasing taxes and raising the debt limit in order to acquiesce to a deal with President Obama. This is exactly what I feared would happen.
Washington insiders of both political parties are fixated on averting a public relations disaster instead of economic and fiscal disaster. Because politicians in Washington fear a few days of bad news, they are willing to compromise the nation’s economic and fiscal health. The problem is still that Washington spends too much – not that we take in too little. President Obama’s plan to tax the so-called “rich” – many of whom are small business owners that create jobs – would have little to no impact on the deficit, raising perhaps enough money to cover about a week’s worth of spending.
We are back in session this week to await legislation that might come forth out of the back room from the Speaker and the President. And, as you can guess, I am not very hopeful. But despite any punishment or threat of punishment, I will not give up on our nation or our future.
Guests in the Office
Your D.C. staff and I had the privilege of meeting with Terry Holdren of Kansas Farm Bureau, Dalton Henry with the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers, and Salina High School students (via Skype) who are entering C-SPAN’s “Student Cam” competition. When I was at the Manhattan Regional Airport on Friday to announce the opening of our new office, staff and I also received a briefing from Peter Van Kuren (Airport Director), Ron Fehr (City Manager), Loren Pepperd (Mayor), and Rich Jankovich (City Commissioner).
Member of Congress