As I write this newsletter, I know the drop in oil and gas valuation in the 117th District is taking a toll on jobs and county budgets. I will continue to share this information with my fellow legislators as we move forward with our state budget concerns.
On Wednesday, the Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism headed by Linda Craghead, wife of Jetmore native Gaylen Craghead hosted tourism groups from across the state. Southwest Kansas organizations pooled their resources and teamed to support tourism in southwest Kansas.
Tourism is important to Kansas. Kansas hosted 33.7 million visitors in 2013. There are at least 91,265 jobs connected to tourism. Tourism activity brings in $556 million in state and local government revenues. Travelers spending $6.5 billion generated a travel economic impact of $9.5 billion in 2013 as traveler dollars flowed through the Kansas economy.
The Kansas American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars organizations come to Topeka annually to meet with legislators. I had the opportunity to discuss legislative priorities with the following:
* Herb Schwartzkopf, VFW adjutant/quartermaster, Ransom.
* Terry Warner, American Legion, 7th District, vice commander, La Crosse.
* Dan Stacy, 8th District, vice commander, Dodge City.
* Roy Dixon, 8th District, Kansas Government Affairs Committee and Garden City American Legion Post Commander.
* Gary Foos, Bazine, longtime friend and 8th District commander, was ill so I will catch up with him later.
Our American Legion and VFW & Auxiliaries organization members and officers drive many miles and participate in events including color guard and firing squads at funerals in service to their comrades and their families. Don't hesitate to call on your local service organization when you need help. Also, a special thanks to all the community members for participating in fundraising events.
Rep. John Ewy, R-Jetmore, represents the 117th District in the Kansas House.
On Thursday morning, I had the opportunity to set in on the Kansas Farm Bureau Board/Legislative Breakfast. Agriculture issues were discussed by KFB officers. Members also were concerned about issues facing their communities and schools.
A special thanks to Paul Wasko and Sheryl MacNair of Hodgeman County for keeping me posted on events.
At noon Thursday, I attended the annual Kansas Association of Community College and Phi Theta Kappa gathering as they honored the 20th annual Kansas All-State Academic Team. The 117th District is home to Barton Community College, Dodge City Community College, Garden City Community College and Pratt Community College.
The All State-State Academic Team included students from each of the community colleges. The honored students included: Branson Hoffman and Kami Maxwell of Barton Community College; Amsi Anaya and Jordan Olivarez of Dodge City Community College; Noelle Doty and Triffon Tatarin, Garden City Community College; and Callie Hobkirk and Shannon Neifert of Pratt Community College.
On Thursday evening, I visited with Dr. Randy Schmidt, Kinsley. He was attending the Kansas Chiropractic Association's annual meeting. He reminded me doctors of chiropractic in Kansas are licensed as practitioners of the healing arts and are able to diagnose and treat the human condition on all of its diseases. As one of only four provider types licensed by the Kansas Healing Arts Act, they have a duty to assist in protecting the public whenever possible.
The Kansas County Treasurers Association also was having their meeting in Topeka this week. I visited at length with Christie Bittel, Rush County treasurer and KCTA President, and Debra Pennington, Ford County treasurer. We discussed a wide variety of issues they face in trying to provide the best possible service in a climate of ever-changing rules.