AG Derek Schmidt Urges Senate to Confirm Nomination of William P. Barr as US Attorney General

TOPEKA –– Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt today urged the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee to confirm the nomination of William P. Barr as the next U.S. Attorney General.

 

In a letter to the committee, Schmidt and 20 other state attorneys general offered support for Barr’s nomination, describing him as “eminently qualified.” Barr previously served as U.S. Attorney General under President George H.W. Bush.

 

“In reviewing Mr. Barr’s extensive record of service and achievement, it is clear to us that he exemplifies two of the most crucial traits Americans look for in an Attorney General: independence and a commitment to the even-handed application of the law,” the attorneys general wrote. “His record shows he is willing to recognize limits to executive branch authority when his legal analysis concludes thusly. Just as Mr. Barr’s stance on the separation of powers doctrine gives reassurance to us as state officials, so too ought it give reassurance to you as members of the federal legislative branch.”

 

The attorneys general also stressed the importance of regular collaboration between state attorneys general and the U.S. Department of Justice, and Barr’s extraordinary interest in working with state legal and law enforcement officials to continue keeping the American people safe.

Criminal Justice Services Implements New Notification System

LAWRENCE, KS – Douglas County Criminal Justice Services began using a new software program, CE Pretrial, in December to notify defendants about upcoming court dates.
The system is similar to what many health care providers use to notify clients about appointments.
Clients who have a case in pretrial status receive two notifications through a phone call or text message. The first notification is sent two days before their court hearing, and the second one is
sent on the day of the hearing.
There have been 964 reminders sent by voice message and 105 sent by text message between Dec.  3, 2018, when the program started, and Jan. 10, 2019.
“We hope this new notification system will reduce our failure to appear rate, which is one of the top reasons people are placed in the Douglas County Correctional Facility,”
said Robert Bieniecki,  Douglas County Criminal Justice Coordinator.
“It’s a tool to help defendants succeed and increase their success.”
In 2017, 5,353 were booked into the Douglas County Correctional Facility and the most common charge was, failure to appear, which accounted for 28.6 percent of them.
Pam Weigand, Director of Douglas County Criminal Justice Services, also believes the new notification system will help reduce the failure to appear rate in Douglas County.
“I am excited that this program is up and running.”
Douglas County Commissioners approved the CE Pretrial software in spring 2017. The cost of the system is $7,500 annually.

Congressman Steve Watkins Accepts Invitation To Join The Bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Steve Watkins joined the ‘Problem Solvers Caucus’ January 10, 2019.  Made up of an equal number of Republican and Democrat members of Congress who come together weekly to engage in a common-sense bipartisan approach to addressing our nation’s problems.  Congressman Watkins issued the following statement:

“Kansans sent me to Washington to deliver results. I look forward to working with members of both parties in the Problems Solvers Caucus to deliver common-sense legislation that benefits everyday Kansans.”

274 Victims to Receive Support

TOPEKA -- The Kansas Crime Victims Compensation Board yesterday
awarded financial assistance to 274 victims of violent crime at its January meeting,
Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said.
Awards were made in 127 new cases. Additional expenses were paid in 147 previously
submitted cases. The awards totaled $225,584.58.
The Division of Crime Victims Compensation in Schmidt's office administers the Crime
Victims Compensation program, which was established in 1978 to help victims of
violent crime pay for their unexpected expenses such as medical treatment, mental
health counseling, lost wages, dependent support and funeral expenses.
The state's three-member Crime Victims Compensation Board determines claims that are
eligible for payment and how much money will be awarded to each claimant. Awards are
limited to a maximum total amount of $25,000 with limitations of $5,000 for funeral
expense, $5,000 for outpatient mental health counseling, $10,000 for inpatient
mental health treatment and $1,500 for grief counseling for family survivors of
homicide victims.
A portion of assessed court costs and fines, inmate wages, parole fees and
restitution paid by convicted offenders provides funding to the program.
For more information about the Crime Victims Compensation program call (785)
296-2359 or visit the attorney general's website at www.ag.ks.gov.

War Hero, Triple-Amputee Veteran behind “Fund the Wall” GoFundMe Announces New Organization to Build U.S. Southern Border Wall

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Heartened by the overwhelming support of fellow Americans who have donated over $20 million to the viral GoFundMe campaign “We the People Will Fund the Wall,” war hero and triple-amputee veteran Brian Kolfage announced the launch of a 501(c)4 called “We Build the Wall, Inc.” which will fund the private construction of a wall along the United States’ Southern Border.

“We are grateful for the President’s steadfast commitment to border security, the single most important issue plaguing our country,” said Kolfage. “Rather than subsidizing the federal government, which has betrayed the American people by obstructing President Donald Trump’s agenda, ‘We Build the Wall’ is taking the President’s signature campaign promise into our own hands. I personally will not take a penny of compensation from these donations incurred in the furtherance of this mission.”

Kolfage launched “Fund the Wall” on December 17th, and so far, the campaign has raised over $20 million from more than 330,000 American patriots across the country.

“Better equipped than our own federal government, we have made significant progress in less than a month, having begun extensive due diligence and commenced feasibility studies,” Kolfage commented. “We are already taking action on identifying the most densely crossed areas of the border, soliciting affected landowners along the Southern border, and ascertaining the willingness of border landowners to provide no or low-cost easements on their property for wall construction.”

“We Build the Wall” has assembled a board of directors led by Kolfage and engaged an impressive team of advisors to provide critical guidance on the project’s legal, engineering, contracting, environmental, accounting, maintenance, and real estate issues and serve on the advisory board and or the construction, finance and or audit committees:

Kris Kobach 

Secretary Kobach served as the Secretary of State of the State of Kansas from 2011-2019. A leader in the national effort to stop voter fraud, he drafted and pushed for the Kansas Secure and Fair Elections (SAFE) Act of 2011, which made Kansas the first state in the Union to combine photo ID requirements at the polls, equivalent ID requirements for mail-in ballots, and proof of citizenship at the time of registration.

John Daniel Moran, Jr.

Mr. Moran is an American businessman, entrepreneur and industrialist best known for his role as President & CEO of Moran Industries, Inc., a premier warehousing, logistics and transportation company based in Pennsylvania that was founded in 1975.

Erik Prince

Mr. Prince is an American businessman and Navy SEAL best known as the founder of the security firm Blackwater. He serves as Chairman of Frontier Resource Group, a private equity fund investing in natural resource opportunities in frontier markets.

Dr. Robert S. Spalding III, Brig Gen, USAF (Ret.)

General Spalding is an accomplished innovator in government and a national security policy strategist. He was the chief architect of the framework for national competition in the Trump Administration’s widely praised National Security Strategy (NSS), and the Senior Director for Strategy to the President.

“Angel Dad” Steve Ronnebeck

Mr. Ronnebeck lost his 21-year-old son Grant, who was brutally executed by a criminal illegal immigrant over for a pack of cigarettes while working at a convenience store in 2015. Steve has dedicated himself to protecting other families from suffering needless tragedies at the hands of people who have no business being here in the first place through his work with the Ronnebeck Foundation. He is frequently seen campaigning with President Trump.

“Angel Mom” Mary Ann Mendoza 

Ms. Mendoza lost her son Brandon in 2014, after his police car was hit by an intoxicated driver who was in the U.S. illegally. She is one of several parents who have been meeting with President Trump about how to tighten restrictions on immigrants in the country illegally.

Sara Carter

Ms. Carter is an award-winning Fox News commentator who specializes in reporting on the border and opioid crisis.

Sheriff David Clarke

Sheriff Clarke is an American former law enforcement official who served as Sheriff of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin. He is an outspoken activist and commentator on illegal immigration.

Congressman Tom Tancredo

Mr. Tancredo is a former United States Congressman who has been referred to as Congress’ most vociferous critic of current immigration policy. He served in the Reagan Administration and ran for President of the United States in the 2008 election.

“When government fails in its most important duties — protecting its citizens and preserving the country’s sovereignty — We the People have the right to do it ourselves,” said Kris Kobach, who led the Presidential Commission on Election Integrity with Vice President Mike Pence and helped launch the Administration’s immigration reforms.

“Our team firmly believes that we can complete our segments of the wall for less than half of the government’s estimated costs on a per mile basis, and in a much shorter time frame,” said Erik Prince, an expert in security and logistics for some of the most challenging projects across the globe.

“With millions of citizens united behind our mission, we look forward to taking a hands-on role in securing our porous Southern Border and protecting Americans from the tragedy my family suffered due to our flawed immigration system,” said Mary Ann Mendoza, whose son was killed by an illegal alien in Arizona. “We have taken it upon ourselves to prevent the illegal entry of foreign invaders who suppress our workers’ wages, bring opioids that fall into our children’s hands, and commit violent crimes.”

Given the organization’s new tax-exempt status, those who have contributed to the “Fund the Wall” campaign can opt-in such that these donations will be transferred to the “We Build the Wall” fund.

Organizers say, to make a contribution to “We Build the Wall,” please visit: https://www.gofundme.com/TheTrumpWall. Please visit http://www.webuildthewall.us for more information.

ABOUT BRIAN KOLFAGE

Brian Kolfage was born in Detroit and grew up in Waikiki, Hawaii. The Air Force sent him to Iraq in 2003. He was hand-picked to perform security for high profile missions in direct support of IRAQI FREEDOM where he performed high risk combat convoy security operations ensuring all assets remained safe and secure, with zero loses.

On September 11, 2004, during his second tour, his airbase in Balad, Iraq fell under rocket attack. He was thrown into the air, losing both of his legs and his right arm instantly. He remained conscious the entire time. The doctors at Walter Reed National Medical Center began to prepare Mr. Kolfage’s family for his death. He remained in a coma for three weeks but made a miraculous recovery. With incredible determination, He walked out of Walter Reed only 11 months after being injured.

In 2005-2007 he worked as a United States Air Force civilian overseeing personnel security by administering the foreign travel program: briefed/outlined potential known security threats abroad–zero incidents. He masterfully oversaw a security/force protection training program for 105+ personnel.

In 2017, Mr. Kolfage co-founded Military Grade Coffee Company which became a top 50 grocery product on Amazon in 1 year. He worked on Congresswoman Gabby Gifford’s Veterans Advisory Committee, from 2009-2011. Mr. Kolfage is the most severely wounded Airman to survive any war. He is driven by his love for life, his country and his family. In 2014, he earned his bachelor’s in architecture design at the University of Arizona.

Pat Roberts Announces Retirement

Senator Pat Roberts made it official.  In November, word began circulating that Roberts would make an announcement about his future, after the first of the year. This past week, Roberts made good on that promise.  HIs announcment, that he was retiring and would not seek re-election in 2020, is what many had expected.

Politico reported the announcement,

Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) announced Friday that he will retire in 2020 instead of running for reelection.

Roberts, 82, has served four terms in the Senate and last won reelection in 2014 after facing a bruising Republican primary. His retirement has already sparked interest in his seat from a number of other Kansas Republicans, heralding a potentially crowded 2020 primary — though Democrats hope they can make the race competitive after winning the governorship in 2018.

Comments from Other Leaders

In a statement to the Gazette, Governor Jeff Colyer said,

“Senator Pat Roberts has spent more than 30 years serving the people of Kansas, and during that time he has been a shining example of statesmanship. The work that he has done for our state, especially in the agricultural sector, is second to none. Throughout his time in office, Kansans have been able to rely on Pat Roberts’ expertise, energy, and gravitas. It is essential that our next U.S. Senator bring these same qualities to the job.”

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt also released a statement saying,

“Pat Roberts has long been a solid cornerpost in the sometimes-unfenced chaos that can be Washington, D.C. From his unparalleled leadership for Kansas agriculture to his unwavering support for the U.S. military and America’s ever-evolving national security requirements, Pat always has led with the needs of Kansas foremost on his mind. I am personally saddened to know he plans to exit the stage. In this strident political era, Pat Roberts’ often humorous and frequently tempered conservative voice will be sorely missed. Thanks for your lifetime of public service, Pat.”

Who Will Replace the Senator?

Neither statement indicated one way or the other, whether they would run for the seat being vacated next year.  However, the list of potential Republicans wiching to run for the seat is growing.

Representative Dr. Roger Marshall, who has confirmed he is considering a run.

Wink Hartman, who was Kris Kobach’s Lieutenant Governor runningmate, is said seriously considering a run also.

Kobach, is also reportedly considering a run.

On the Democratic side former U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom, had confirmed last month that he was considering a run.  He currently is the only Democrat known to be considering the seat.

 

 

Elizabeth Warren Announces A Presidential Run

Elizabeth Warren, the U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, who came to national prominence even before she was elected Senator, announced she was exploring the possibility of a run on New Year’s Eve. Warren is the one credited with the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFBP), which is a federal agency designed to protect Americans from unfair, deceptive, or predatory financial lenders.

Senator Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts Democrat and a sharp critic of big banks and unregulated capitalism, entered the 2020 race for president on Monday, becoming the first major candidate in what is likely to be a long and crowded primary marked by ideological and generational divisions in a Democratic Party determined to beat President Trump.

 – New York Times

Prominent

As the most prominent Democrat to announce that she was running, she is the current front-runner, in a party that expects two dozen candidates to run in the 2020 race for President.  Although the New York Times also said in its article,

The competition for the Democratic nomination is poised to be the most wide open since perhaps 1992: The party has no single leader, no obvious front-runner for 2020, and no broadly unifying ideology as it moves away from a quarter-century of dominance by the Clintons and Barack Obama.

Critics

In Baldwin City, KS there were fans and critics alike.  While most didn’t comment, one of those critics, Amy Owens, Baldwin City, said,

She dont have a freaking clue. Working families are better than ever!!  They are working…there are jobs everywhere.

In Iowa

By this past weekend, Warren was on the campaign trail in Iowa, one of the first states to vote in the 2020 election cycle.  While in Iowa, she told a crowd,

You could pay a mortgage, you could keep the utilities on and you could put food on the table. Today, a minimum wage job in America full-time will not keep a mama and a baby out of poverty. And that is wrong, and it’s why I’m in this fight.

     – NPR

According to her website, she grew up on the ragged edge of the middle class in Oklahoma and became a teacher, a law professor, and a US Senator because “America invested in kids like her.”  The website continues by saying that she spent her career taking on powerful interests and fighting to give every kid the same chance (that she was given) to succeed.