Archive for Monday, May 21, 2007

Congressional briefing: Can Democrats field a real challenger to Roberts?

May 21, 2007

Here are today's headlines from the Kansas congressional delegation:

Sen. Pat Roberts (R)

(Harris News Service) State Democrats look forward to giving Roberts 'vigorous challenge': Sen. Pat Roberts stepped up his schedule of public appearances in the Sunflower State earlier this year after announcing he would seek another term. Maybe that was a response to Kansas Democrats promising a viable candidate would run against the veteran Republican congressman next year. And maybe not. Running for office takes money and time to build a war chest and earn name recognition among voters. Such factors leave Democrats racing the clock this summer to field a contender.But party leaders don't sound too worried, saying they've got folks eyeing the race. "We're looking forward to giving Pat Roberts a vigorous challenge and giving people a choice between the mainstream, common-sense leadership of Kansas Democrats and somebody who's been a rubber stamp for the Bush administration," said Mike Gaughan, Kansas Democratic Party executive director.

Rep. Nancy Boyda (D)

(Capital Press) Bill would promote local food, farming: U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., introduced a bill Thursday aimed at strengthening the connection between farmers and their communities. The proposed Local Food and Farm Support Act would expand several existing "farm to fork" programs and launch a program to improve processing and distribution infrastructure. Altogether, the Local Food and Farm Support Act would increase spending on existing programs from $54.5 million a year to $325 million by 2012. It would also allocate $45 million annually for new programs, which would rise to $370 million by 2012. U.S. Reps. Nancy Boyda, D-Kan., Steve Kagen, D-Wis., and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., are original co-sponsors of the bill and sit on the House Committee on Agriculture.

(St. Louis Post-Dispatch) Urban legend of "North American Union" feeds on fears: Forget conspiracy theories about JFK's assassination, black helicopters, Sept. 11, 2001. This is the big one. We're talking about the secret plan to build a superhighway, a giant 10- to 12-lane production, from the Yucatán to the Yukon. This "SuperCorridor" would allow the really big part of the plan to take place: the merging of the governments of Canada, the United States and Mexico. Say goodbye to the dollar, and maybe even the English language. The rumor is sweeping the Internet, radio and magazines, spread by bloggers, broadcasters and writers who cite the "proof" in the writings of a respected American University professor, in a task force put together by the Council on Foreign Relations and in the workings of the Commerce Department. ... Those convinced that the full-bore NAFTA Superhighway is coming point to several disparate efforts that they say prove the government isn't telling the whole truth: ¢ A Bush administration proposal to allow some Mexican trucks to drive deeper into the U.S. heartland than previously allowed. A bill to limit the program, proposed by Rep. Nancy Boyda, D-Kan., passed the House this week, 411-3. (Boyda, a congressional newcomer, defeated a five-term incumbent who had called the superhighway a myth.)

Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R)

(New York Sun) Kansas Congressman Rebukes Mayor on Guns: Rep. Todd Tiahrt is Mayor Bloomberg's bogeyman, the congressional embodiment of what the mayor says is a powerful lobby allowing illegal guns to flow onto the city's streets. As part of his national campaign against illegal guns, Mr. Bloomberg has targeted Mr. Tiahrt aggressively, even running television ads in his Kansas district that tell voters that a law their congressman sponsored is helping criminals, not the police. The veteran Republican lawmaker has stayed mostly quiet in the face of the onslaught, but now he is fighting back. In a 30-minute interview in his office last week, Mr. Tiahrt accused Mr. Bloomberg and his aides of negotiating in bad faith, and he says the famously nonpartisan mayor is putting politics over police safety. "I think it's a self-serving effort to put a political agenda above the safety of our law enforcement officers," Mr. Tiahrt said.

Greensburg

(AP) Graduation ceremony held in tornado-ravaged town: Amid the ruins of their tornado-devastated town, residents celebrated a high school commencement Saturday that mixed tearful memories with pride and promises to rebuild. ... U.S. Rep. Jerry Moran urged seniors to commit themselves to using the tornado's aftermath to motivate themselves."Everything you seniors need to know we have learned in Greensburg in the last two weeks," Moran said. They include things like the importance of family, helping others, showing compassion and that "life does matter."

(Topeka Capital-Journal) Graduation emotional for Greensburg students: Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., one of the keynote speakers, called the graduating seniors the "class of destiny and hope," a class that represents the spirit of renewal. "Today is your graduation, but this commencement is not only touching your lives and that of your parents and your teachers, but is part of the rebirth and rebuilding of your community and has the respectful attention and admiration of millions of Americans," he said. "You have already experienced what I hope will be the toughest challenge that you will ever face in your lives, and in doing that your revelation is that when fear knocks at the door, send faith to open it," Roberts said.

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