Embracing Kansas' fine way of life

Kansas is a great place. We know our neighbors and look after them. We teach our children to be moral, responsible citizens. And we work hard to provide for our families and build a better future. The pioneering spirit of Kansans years ago lives on in us today. We are independent people who want to make a difference. I appreciate you allowing me the opportunity to make a difference in the U.S. House of Representatives.

On Jan. 3, I began a new journey and now have the honor of representing all Kansans in the U.S. Senate. We lead a special way of life in Kansas, one worth preserving for the next generation. That fight will continue to be my focus.

As a senior member of the House Agriculture Committee, I worked on legislation that will help Kansas farms and ranches remain viable, so they can be passed on to the next generation. This included fighting for estate tax reform, working to open markets overseas, writing farm bills and preserving the viability of crop insurance. These things are important regardless of your job or where you live in Kansas because agriculture matters. It is a mainstay of our economy and when agriculture is successful, Kansas is successful.

Improving the quality of life for the nearly 250,000 veterans living in our state has also been a top priority. As a member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, I was a staunch advocate for veterans who had trouble getting the health care they needed because the VA hospital or health clinic was too far away. I oversaw the development of five new VA outpatient clinics in western and central Kansas that have brought care closer to home.

During my time on the House Transportation Committee, I authored legislation to improve highways and railways in Kansas, while also protecting and promoting the aviation industry in our state.

In rural Kansas communities, access to quality health care is essential to the prosperity and survival of the towns we call home. As co-chairman of the House Rural Health Care Coalition, I led the fight to save rural hospitals, sponsored legislation to bring more physicians to under-served areas and worked to restore Medicare funding for small hospitals. I worked to make sure that Kansans have access to a pharmacist within their own communities.

I have made it a priority to stay connected to the Kansans I represent, so I have returned home each weekend, and have held annual town hall meetings in each of the 69 counties I represented. I will continue to return home and travel throughout all 105 counties in our state to hear from Kansans directly. I will not forget where I came from and the Kansans who helped me along the way.

My generation has a responsibility to the next generation of Americans, to be good stewards of what we have been given. As I begin this new journey, I remain committed to do what is necessary today, so our children and grandchildren can enjoy the same freedoms and opportunities that we have in Kansas and in this great country.