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I want you to see some of the big momentum shift we've seen across the 4th District, thanks to your support. Our progressive people power is growing:
1) Today in Halstead Old Settlers Day Parade!
Our Gun Responsibility and Commonsense Gun Reform
On Valentine’s Day, we lost 17 children and teachers in Parkland, Florida, in another devastating school shooting. I know most politicians reacted immediately, offering “thoughts and prayers” or demanding “common sense gun reform,” but this time it’s different. The victims of this shooting are speaking out. I am inspired by our young people engaging our leaders to demand change and taking action. It is time for a real dialogue about how we protect our kids at school.
It is not helpful for me to immediately claim to have the perfect solution; it is my job to listen. Before I spoke out on this issue, I needed to listen to my friends and family, to volunteers and supporters, to those who vehemently support the Second Amendment and those who demand action. I place equal value on the opinions of those who agree with me and those who do not.
The common thread that unites us all is heartache, fear, and above all, pain. This cannot become the new normal. We must do better.
As a starting point, I believe there are reforms that must happen to reduce the opportunity for gun violence for all people, but particularly against the most vulnerable: our children. Those proposals, explained in greater detail below, are:
- Repeal the “Dickey Amendment” that Prohibits Research Studies on Gun Violence
- Universal Background Checks, Mental Health Screenings and Regulating “Bump Stocks”
- Increased Funding for Teachers and School Counselors to Support Our At-Risk Students
- Require Training To Purchase Firearms, and Set a Consistent Purchase Age
- Require Permits for Concealed Carry
- Providing Security Device with Each Gun Sale
- Strong Enforcement of Existing Criminal Laws
It is long past the time for us all come together and figure out how we protect our kids. We will never find an answer for any hard question without first starting a basic discussion.
Today, former US Attorney Barry Grissom added his voice to the growing chorus of Kansans calling out for reform of our broken marijuana laws.
Kansas has had a tough battle in recent years. Gov. Brownback’s “tax experiment” has ravaged the state’s budget. We were promised 100,000 new jobs which would then add funding for our schools and balance our budget. The jobs never materialized and by 2014, our state’s tax revenue fell behind even the most modest of projections. Unemployment rates and budget deficits ballooned -- all while school funding, support for social safety nets and the state’s bond rating was cut.
Two years into the Brownback fiasco, Kansas dropped to 41st in the nation in personal income growth (down from 12th a few years prior). The state’s lack of operating revenue was forcing public schools to shut their doors early while infrastructure improvement projects, Medicaid and state university funding was being scaled back. It will take decades for us to recover.
But as former US Attorney Barry Grissom points out in his Wichita Eagle editorial today, there is a way out of this mess -- marijuana law reform.
As we move past 2017, it would be easy to dwell on the negativity that dominated the headlines. But 2017 had bright spots.
Here in Kansas, we managed to end Gov. Brownback’s terrible tax experiment, our Women’s March gained national attention and multitudes of new grassroots organizations sprung up mobilizing and empowering masses of new activists and volunteers.
Today our elected officials in Washington did what we Kansans knew they should not do: they passed reconciled tax reform bills that primarily benefit the wealthiest and most connected -- the donors that bankroll right-wing campaigns. Worse? The bill will end up raising taxes on the working and middle class.
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Today, on a party-line vote, the Federal Communications Commision voted to end Net Neutrality. As it stood, internet service providers were forced to allow equal access to sites and content. Now the internet will be governed by the whims of monopolistic corporations and their shareholders, affecting everything from speed to content.
Last week, our senators, including Sen. Jerry Moran and Sen. Pat Roberts, followed the destructive path laid before them by Congress and passed their tax reform bill in a totally partisan manner... But what does that mean for you?