I want to wish Kansans a happy holiday and may God bless our men and women in uniform and their families, especially those serving away from home this year, protecting our freedom.
I think many would agree that it is good to have 2009 behind us. Our nation faces great challenges with a struggling economy and, as I write this, a critical health care reform debate.
Despite these challenges, there were a few good things to come out of 2009.
First, we were able to block the Administration from sending terrorists held at Guantanamo Bay to Ft. Leavenworth. This was a team effort where Kansans from both parties and at the local, state and federal level united to protect the community of Leavenworth, especially those that live and work on the post.
I remain opposed to moving these terrorists to the mainland and will continue to condemn efforts to place public relations above the security concerns of the American people.
Second, our state earned a valuable economic engine when Manhattan, Kansas was chosen to be the home of a new federal laboratory for plant and animal health research called the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF). We continue to move the Kansas economy forward, obtaining further federal investments in the project. The construction of this lab and the jobs it will create when in operation will propel our research economy for years to come.
Third, we were able to make it right for 150 residents of Treece, Kansas, a former mining town whose residents suffer from contamination issues and face special hardships. After urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to see the situation firsthand, they reversed their position, that residents should live in a contaminated superfund site during its projected 10 year clean-up, and agreed with U.S. Senator Sam Brownback, U.S. Representative Lynn Jenkins, Kansas State Representative Doug Gatewood and I that a buyout was the best and safest long term solution. EPA is hard at work with the State of Kansas to facilitate this buyout so residents may move to safe homes, free from contamination and danger.
Looking ahead to 2010, we will need to address the reasons for our financial crisis. We have climate change debates heating up certain to include cap and tax proposals I oppose.
As always, I look forward to your advice and counsel. Please feel free to visit my website at http://roberts.senate.gov and email me with your questions and concerns. For regular updates, be sure to sign up on my home page for a monthly e-newsletter, The Roberts Report.
Again, best wishes for the holiday season.