Hosting World Food Programme Director Beasley at Food Packing Event
On Friday, I was with World Food Programme (WFP) Director David Beasley in Wichita to thank volunteers packing food for Ukrainian refugees. Director Beasley has served as the WFP Director for two presidents and brings an incredible passion for helping those in need. I am grateful for Director Beasley’s leadership and thank him for joining me in Kansas.
Announcing Schwan’s New Expansion in Salina
On Thursday morning, I was with Schwan’s leadership in Salina to announce a new expansion project for Tony’s Pizza facility and Schwan’s distribution center. I also had the opportunity to tour Schwan’s new 400,000 square-foot manufacturing facility. This facility will use 99 acres of locally sourced wheat each day. Salina residents and all Kansans should be proud of the investment made here at home following an international search. The expansion will bring 200 new jobs to the area, and I’m pleased to see partnerships with community and technical colleges that are being developed to provide a ready workforce. I look forward to the announcement of additional facilities and expansions to come in the future.
Historic Donation for McPherson College
Friday was an exciting day for McPherson College as it announced an historic $500 million match commitment from a generous anonymous donor. I appreciated being invited by McPherson College President Michael Schneider to participate in this announcement and particularly want to thank Melanie and Richard Lundquist for also announcing their $50 million commitment to the college. The Lundquists are a great example of how folks from outside of Kansas have recognized the talent Kansas has to offer and have chosen to invest in the education of our students.
This donation highlights the importance of a small college education and the unique programs offered by McPherson College, including the four-year automotive restoration degree and the community health care initiative to train students for careers in rural health care. Education gives individuals the chance at success and achieving their dreams. We can’t always determine the outcomes, but we can help provide the opportunities for success. That is what this gift will do for so many students. I appreciate Mayor Tom Brown, State Senator Rick Wilborn, Kansas Independent College Association President Matt Lindsey and McPherson College student Victoria Bruno for joining us at the announcement.
Touring Pinnacle Aerospace in Wellington
On Thursday, I was in Wellington to visit the site of Pinnacle Aerospace, a plant that currently builds metal components for commercial and general aviation, as well as for defense contracts and the rapidly growing space industry. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, I am committed to facilitating partnerships that will bring more jobs to Kansas where we have educational programs and a talented workforce to support this growing industry. These jobs do more than just support a strong state economy. They also protect our national security and contribute to keeping Americans safe.
During my discussion with Pinnacle Aerospace President Scott Brown, he told me that Wellington was selected because he was familiar with the local community and knew it was home to a skilled workforce. As Pinnacle Aerospace grows, Scott intends to hire 155 employees within the next five years. I want to thank Scott, Occidental Management President and CEO Gary Oborny and Pinnacle Aerospace General Manager Doug Mattingly for hosting me and for their efforts to invest in our state. I also appreciate State Representative Bill Rhiley joining me for this tour.
Speaking to the Wichita Chamber of Commerce
On Thursday, I joined members of the Wichita Chamber of Commerce to discuss a number of issues important to the community. The discussion included enhancing Wichita’s role as Air Capital of the World, supporting economic development in the region, rising inflation, the importance of energy independence and concerns about draining the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and national security, particularly related to China and Russia. We also spoke about the importance of investing in the community and in our local law enforcement, as well as remaining engaged in civic organizations.
Thank you to Wichita Chamber Chair Damon Young and CEO Jon Rolfe for the invitation. Special thanks to Coleen Jennison of Cox Communications for the introduction. Thank you as well to the local, county and state elected officials who joined us.
Providing Keynote Address for Associated General Contractors of Kansas
It was great to join members of the Associated General Contractors of Kansas (AGC of Kansas) to provide the keynote address for their Annual Officer Installation Meeting. During my remarks, I thanked this group for its leadership in workforce development and emphasis on the importance of promoting a strong work ethic in pursuit of the American Dream. We also discussed concerns about inflation and the administration’s energy policy.
It was also an honor to administer the oath of office for AGC of Kansas’ incoming Officers and Board of Directors. I want to congratulate incoming Board Chair Dean Youngers and thank outgoing Chair John Walker for his service. Congratulations as well to my friend Dr. Steve Scott, recently retired Pittsburg State University President, on receiving the AGC Outstanding Leadership Award in recognition of his successful work growing Pittsburg State’s School of Construction and forging a strong partnership between the construction industry and our state’s educational institutions. I was also honored to receive the Kansas Construction Industry Award during this event. Thank you to AGC of Kansas Executive Vice President Mike Gibson for the invitation and to the local and state officials who joined as well.
Visiting Kansas Schools
On Monday, I toured Washburn Tech in Topeka with Dr. Mike Strohschein, Dean of Washburn Tech, and Marshall Meek, Washburn University Interim President. It was great to see firsthand the work being done on campus to train the next generation of professionals in trades that are in high demand in today’s job market. At Washburn Tech, students are equipped for careers in technical fields and are prepared to enter the workforce immediately upon graduation.
I want to thank Dean Strohschein and Interim President Meek for hosting me and for their efforts to teach Kansans valuable skills.
During a visit to Sterling College this week, I toured the new Gleason Physical Education Center, which recently opened to students after a major addition and renovation. The students and staff are thrilled to have this upgraded facility, and it now plays an important role in student recruitment. In addition to housing Sterling College’s athletics, the Gleason Center also provides classrooms for physical education programs.
Private colleges like Sterling College have a significant economic impact for our Kansas communities, contributing a combined $1.1 billion to our state’s economy just last year alone. I want to thank Dr. Rich and his team for the opportunity to visit.
Lyndon High School
With the fall semester well underway, it was great to stop by Lyndon High School to hear from students and meet with administrators. I appreciate Brad Marcotte, Lyndon High School Superintendent, and the students for giving me a tour this week.
Smoky Valley High School
I enjoyed the chance to visit with students at Smoky Valley High School in Lindsborg earlier this week. Thank you to Principal Scott Lee for hosting me during this tour.
Hoxie High School
I also visited Hoxie High School to visit with students and faculty members about the fall semester. Thank you to Principal Carey Fose for hosting me.
Wheatland High School
I also visited Wheatland High School this week. I want to thank Superintendent Gary Krause for his invitation and tour.
Visiting Hill City
This week, I was at the USDA Service Center in Hill City to visit the offices of the National Resources Conservation Service and Farm Service Agency. I also stopped to speak with folks at the Money Truck Center, Hill City Times and First State Bank. It was great to visit with Hill City residents and to hear an update on what is happening in the area.
Veterans Day Parade in Independence
I enjoyed the chance to visit with folks in Independence on Saturday during the Veterans Day Parade. Thanks to everyone from the community who joined for this great event. It was a special honor to speak with Jack DeVera who served during Vietnam and whose son also served in the military. There is no group of Americans I hold in higher regard than our nation’s veterans, and I want thank each of them for their sacrifices and dedication to our country.
Military Family Month
November is Military Family Month, a time to recognize and thank our military spouses and families for their sacrifices and dedication. I recently met Monica Bassett, the 2022 Army Spouse of the Year, who is stationed at Fort Riley with her husband. Her story is a true inspiration and example of service to one’s country.
Kansans in the Office
Courtney Allen of Wichita
Jeffery Bartel of Wichita
Erin Bartel of Wichita
Patricia Case of Louisburg
Anne Erbert of Hays
Ava Erbert of Hays
Bryan House of Paola
Leigh House of Paola
George Hopper of Topeka
Cindy Hopper of Topeka
Bella Hopper of Topeka
Janie Jones of Topeka
Loy Paxton of Topeka
James Rockers of Louisburg
Steve Stoltenberg of Olathe
Wanda Stoltenberg of Olathe
Note: Fields marked with an * are required.