Opinion: Puerto Rico Statehood

I have been thinking for months that I needed to open write this letter, to every member of Congress. Sadly, I kept putting it off. Perhaps though it was a matter of timing. On March  28, a couple of members of Congress brought my thoughts before Congress. In a comment on a friend’s Facebook post, I stated my opinion. This two-sentence comment was just a few hours before Representative Darren Soto (D-FL), introduced legislation Thursday to make Puerto Rico the nation’s 51st state. His co-sponsor is the shadow member of Congress from Puerto Rico. She is a “shadow member,” because since she is from a U.S. Territory she cannot vote on the floor of Congress. Each territory has a shadow member, they can vote in committees and cosponsor bills, but they cannot cast an actual vote in Congress. Which is part of the crux of the issue! Puerto Rico residents are U. S. Citizens but they have no true representation in Congress.

Furthermore, the residents can vote in presidential primaries, but they cannot vote in Presidential general elections or even Congressional elections. That simply is not right. It is time to stop treating them like an unwanted stepchild and fully admit them as the 51st state, with the full rights of all other U.S. Citizens. They are U.S. Citizens and should be treated as such. The territory should become the 51st state.

They have voted to be admitted. In fact, there have been four votes for statehood. The most recent in June 2017, in which the residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of.  Let’s stop playing around and get our 51st state, without haste.  After that, I believe our other U.S. territories should become states as well. Those other territories are American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Like Puerto Rico, the residents are U.S. Citizens, but cannot vote in the Federal general elections. It is time to make this right. However, we must start with Puerto Rico, without delay, which has voted in favor of becoming a state.

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D. Kevin Surbaugh
1003 9th St
Baldwin City, KS 66006
785-304-4041

LaTurner responds to Senator Suellentrop’s Offensive Twitter Comments

 Following U.S. Senate Candidate Jake LaTurner’s announcement of exceeding his campaign’s first quarter fundraising goal, Wichita Senator Gene Suellentrop tweeted his personal feelings regarding LaTurner’s run in a statement that included unfounded personal attacks on LaTurner’s role as a young father.

screenshot of the offensive tweet
screenshot of the offensive tweet

In response to this personal attack, LaTurner and his wife Suzanne issued the following statements:

“My wife Suzanne and I are greatly offended at Senator Suellentrop’s attack. His comments are a cowardly attempt to apply social shame against us for our parenting without a full knowledge of the facts,” said LaTurner. “Raising our four children to be God-fearing, civic-minded, good people is the most important work of our life. I read to them almost nightly. We go play ball in the back yard; we go fishing; we go to mass together every Sunday. We feel blessed every day. We also try to teach them about service and sacrifice for our community, our state, and our country.

In the future, Gene should be a man, pick up the phone and give me his judgmental comments personally.”

Suzanne LaTurner added:

“The accusation that Jake would not be present for our children is repulsive to me. He is actively engaged in their lives and will be an ever-present dad if elected the United States Senate.

Jake is an amazing father. We made the decision to run for the Senate together because we love our state, our country, and want to safeguard our children’s future. We hope every day we are the parents God wants us to be. We hope Senator Suellentrop respects that in the future.”

Kansas Governor Inauguration

Laura Kelly was sworn in during the Kansas Governor Inauguration ceremony this past week. Kansas Governor Kelly took office on Jan. 15, 2018, with a ceremony that was held on the steps of the capitol building in Topeka, Kansas.

 

TOPEKA, KS, UNITED STATES
Video by Staff Sgt. Mark Nussbaumer
105th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

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.

Governor Jeff Colyer Speaks at 30th Anniversary of Spitak Earthquake in Armenia  

Topeka – Governor Jeff Colyer spoke Friday at an event commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Spitak Earthquake in Armenia, a disaster Gov. Colyer assisted with as a medical first responder in 1988. Gov. Colyer was sent to Armenia by then President Ronald Reagan after the earthquake hit. He was one of the first medical responders to arrive in the country after the 6.8 magnitude earthquake destroyed Spitak within 30 seconds, killing 25,000 people and injuring nearly 140,000 people.

“The disaster I saw 30 years ago was tragic, and through the tragedy the Armenian nation showed courage and resilience,” said Governor Jeff Colyer, M.D. “Many lives were lost, and many other lives were changed that day. It is important that as humanitarians we always answer the call for help when others need it.”

Kansas Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Lee Tafanelli also attended the commemoration with Gov. Colyer. Kansas and Armenia first established a bilateral affairs agreement in June 2003. Fifteen years later, the partnership continues to foster strong relations between the United States and the Republic of Armenia. Kansas and Armenia enjoy an enduring relationship built upon mutual understanding, trust and genuine friendships shared across and throughout our forces. Collaborative efforts between Kansas and Armenia have paved the way for the modernization of the Armenian Armed Forces in the areas of defense reform, enhanced interoperability, defense education reform and civil emergency planning.

“These types of partnerships are critical to international security cooperation,” said Tafanelli. “The United States is most successful when it partners with friends and allies to achieve mutual security goals. Armenian peacekeepers have trained alongside Kansas Guardsmen as a result of the State Partnership Program, and many other enduring relationships have been developed benefiting both Armenia and the United States.”

Hawver: This Years Kansas Governor’s Race May not be so Predictable

If there was ever a predictable pattern in Kansas—and possibly even national politics—it is that Republican candidates for nearly every slot on the ballot tend to spend the primary election cycle pandering to the most diehard conservative members of their party to win the general election nomination.

Martin Hawver, Columnist
Martin Hawver

Now, Democrats tend to do the same thing (with the move toward the more liberal Democrats), but in Kansas, it’s to smaller numbers of primary election voters. But it works with Democrats, too.

But after that primary in both parties, it’s been traditional that the party’s standard bearers move their campaign to the middle of their party, and in some measure to the middle of the general voting age population.

Well, this will be a year that will make it worth watching whether that generally Republican move to the middle of the party after the primary election occurs.

Chances are good that Sen. Laura Kelly, D-Topeka, the Democratic nominee for governor, will not have to move very far. She’s a practical Democrat who probably dreams about budgets and line-item vetoes and cutting a deal with moderates in the Kansas Legislature to keep government moving.

And chances are good that Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who is the Republican nominee for governor, won’t move back to the middle. We’re figuring he dreams about a border wall with Mexico—or possibly Oklahoma—or that new Trump necktie that he wants…

Oh, and best-known independent candidate Greg Orman is probably dreaming about how to snag votes from both.

This year things are going to be different. Don’t expect Kobach to move toward the political middle in his campaign. Now, short-term Gov. Jeff Colyer might have, but he conceded, remember.

So, we come to a campaign where the narrow conservative side of the GOP—which includes Kobach, of course, and unsuccessful gubernatorial nomination candidate Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer—isn’t looking for any move to the center. Nope, and had Kobach lost the GOP nomination, we’re betting he wouldn’t have let Colyer move to the center, either.

So…where does this gubernatorial race go? Who gets elected governor and has the authority to take that preposterous stuffed buffalo head off the wall of the governor’s office and, of course, run the rest of the state?

Does Kobach come up with something new that will appeal to moderate Republicans, most of whom voted for someone else in the primary? Does Kelly come up with something that will see the moderate Republicans, who are probably most of the GOP voters, furrow their brows and vote for her as long as nobody’s watching?

Or, does Independent Orman turn out to be the safety valve for Republicans who are to the left of Kobach but just can’t bring themselves to vote for a Democrat, under the suspicion that their Republican friends will find out?

And you gotta figure that moderate Republican former Sen. Jim Barnett, of Emporia when in office and Topeka now, who drew the more liberal Republican primary voters, though not enough of them, isn’t going to be touting Kobach or even letting him put a sign in his yard.

Surprising that this election might come down to the conservative Republicans of the state and the Democrats, with Orman as a possible off-ramp for those who at least talk about the general conservative values and have never read the Kansas Republican Party platform.

Oh, and whoever wins the governor’s office must remember that in just two short years, whatever the governor pushes for or against splashes back on members of both parties in the Kansas House and Senate.

We’ll see, won’t we…

by Martin Hawver

Syndicated by Hawver News Company LLC of Topeka; Martin Hawver is publisher of Hawver’s Capitol Report—to learn more about this nonpartisan statewide political news service, visit the website at www.hawvernews.com

Polling Shows Kobach with Edge Over Rivals

Topeka, KS – In a press release submitted to our publications, a recent poll that was conducted among Republican voters in Kansas shows ultra-conservative candidate Kris Kobach with the lead for Governor of Kansas.  The polling was conducted on behalf of the Kobach campaign by JMC Analytics of 500 registered Republicans between July 25-27 and has a margin of error of 4.4 percent.

In that poll, Kobach garnered 34% of respondents, While Governor Jeff Colyer received 25% and Jim Barnett 11%. Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer came in with a fourth-place finish according to the poll.  The other three candidates in the race each came in with one percent or below.  TeanagerTyler Ruzich and Lenaxa pastor Patrick Kucera each tied with a solid one percent of the vote, while another teenager Joesph Tutera came in with a result of less than one percent.  Twenty percent of the respondents were undecided.

If the Republican primary for Governor were held today, which candidate would you support?
Kobach 34%
Colyer 25%
Barnett 11%
Selzer 8%
Ruzich 1%
Kucera 1%
Tutera <1%
Undecided 20%

According to the age demographics, Kobach leads in every age demographic except one. That group being the 18 to 34-year-olds, in which Barnett has a strong lead with 25%. In comparison, Kobach and Colyer each have 19% of the polling in that age group.   In the 35 to 54  age demographic Kobach received 42% of the polling, while he received 38% in the 55 to 64 age group, and 31% in the age group of 65 and over.

That said, only three percent of the respondents were in the 18 to 34 age group, while fifty percent of all respondents were in the older demographic.

For demographic purposes, what is your age?

18 to 34 3%
35 to 54 15%
55 to 64 32%
65 years old or over 50%

In the press release from the Kobach campaign, Danedri Herbert, Kansans for Kobach communications director said,

“The poll also shows that Jim Barnett is the obvious choice of moderate Republicans, especially those who favor Medicaid expansion.”

Herbert also stated,

“Our lead in the poll reveals why the Colyer campaign has launched so many desperate, negative attacks against Kris Kobach, and it explains why the liberal, George Soros-funded ACLU, and dark money groups are spending resources in Kansas for Colyer. They know Colyer will cave on issues that are important to conservatives, and they know Kris Kobach is a consistent conservative who won’t back down.”