Senator Moran stops for Chamber’s Camp Aldrich event
CAMP ALDRICH — The Great Bend Chamber of Commerce After Hours is a great time to meet neighbors and learn about local businesses in the community.
Thursday’s event, hosted by Barton Community College at its Camp Aldrich conference center, offered a wide range of chili peppers, cinnamon rolls and drinks, with prizes on top.
The original program was to showcase the camp and its amenities throughout the year for events such as weddings, summer camps, business retreats and recreational opportunities.
On short notice, Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran stopped by the event Thursday night. He and his Wichita office worker, Tyler York, circulated through the large crowd sharing stories, memories and listening to constituents’ concerns.
“I was born in Great Bend, County Barton; my dad was a gas station attendant for Skelly and we lived on a few leases near Susank. I appreciate the chance to join you in celebrating the good things that are happening. Thank you for the opportunity to work on your behalf and thank you for making me feel loved in this county,” he said.
Ahead of the Nov. 8 midterm elections, Senator Moran traveled the state as a champion of veterans’ issues, access to rural health care, manufacturing opportunities and lifestyle of Kansas.
Senator Moran shared three points of concern during his visit, relating to the Biden administration’s recent release of oil from the country’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve, the growth of food deserts in the state, and the United States Postal Service. United :
Senator Moran questioned the validity of the president’s plan to release oil from the reserve, noting that it would not solve the current price problem.
“It’s not politics,” Moran said. “I am troubled, deeply troubled, by what this administration is doing. For a year and a half, maybe more, we have been trying to get this administration to change its policies and support all energies, including fossil fuels.
” It is a problem. They shop around the world trying to find someone else to give us our oil; we need to encourage American production – create jobs, increase supply and lower the price for the farmer.
“What troubles me even more today is the release of the strategic oil reserves, which will not bring the price down but will leave us in the situation where hard times come, there is a national security challenge, we don’t have the supplies we need,” he said. “We’re wasting our national security to look like we’re doing something to solve the problem, when the solution isn’t to empty the oil reserve but to increase production in the United States.
“Kansas has the ability to do that. Independent producers in Kansas are interested, but reluctant, not knowing what the next policy will be. Do they invest a lot of money trying to find more oil only to find that the administration is doing something to make it harder for them to succeed or survive? »
Senator Moran was made aware of the state’s recent addition to its food desert situation with the closing of the La Crosse grocery store in August. After meeting with local officials, a solution could be considered, he said.
“I came to La Crosse a month ago and met with community leaders to see if there was anything I could do and understand the problem,” he said. “It looks like they have a local couple who bought the grocery store with the option of keeping it open. We are seeking grants for Rush County to help fund this purchase and make it a viable store. It’s often one community, one grocery store at a time, but Kansas State University has a program that tries to help communities save their grocery stores.
“Rural development within the USDA could have a grant. We are trying to find solutions to an important problem.
The problem is not recent, he noted.
“Since I’ve been in Washington, DC, I’ve explained to my colleagues that economic development can depend on whether or not there is a grocery store in town. Hardly anyone understands why this is a problem,” he said. “When I became a senator, I discovered that there were these problems in the middle of Wichita and in the middle of Kansas City, Kansas. It’s not just a rural thing; it’s a scale problem. We have introduced legislation to create grant programs to help communities that are willing to help themselves run a grocery store.
During a recent visit to Greensburg, Senator Moran spoke about the 2007 tornado that leveled the city. “I noticed that one of the biggest issues people were calling me about after the tornado was whether Dillons was going to stay in business here. Because if not, we plan to move. if we don’t have groceries.
“That same thing is true in communities in Kansas, whether it’s a small town or in the middle of a town that loses its grocery store, people are going to find another place to live. Then we lose young families coming in and we We’re losing seniors who are having a hard time trying to find groceries elsewhere – maybe they’re moving to where their kids are. That makes it a question of whether this community has a future.
“The post office is important everywhere, but especially in places where we have so many elderly people who depend on it for their prescriptions. The post office itself is a gathering place for people in the community,” he said.
“The Postal Service is mentioned in the Constitution of the United States. It’s an important function, but we feel that if it can’t make money, it won’t help.
“The places where they can make money help subsidize where they can’t while allowing the mail to go from place to place.
“We passed the most significant reform of the Postal Service, certainly during my term in Congress. It changes the nature of the financing of pension funds. This allows the Postal Service to do more things to generate revenue. I think the Postal Service is in better shape financially.
“The problem is the attitude that the key to success is to cut services. I tried to explain to the Postmaster General – about three of them now in a row – that if the goal of survival is to cut services, you’re going to lose all your customers. There must be a service in the postal service. The closure of these service centers is slowing down mail delivery.
“We passed a law prohibiting the closing of service centers, but they already closed the ones in Kansas before we passed the bill. We are trying to reverse the process.
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