Joco Opinion

Letters: Readers discuss Sen. Pat Roberts, border walls and refugees

Threat to Roberts?

Recently I went to the internet site of Sen. Pat Roberts to send him an e-mail which expressed my concern about a bill (S.184) which he and several other senators have co-sponsored. This bill severely restricts access for low-income women to appropriate health care options. I did not receive any kind of response to my e-mail from Sen. Roberts’ office.

Today (Friday), I wished to e-mail him concerning the repeal of the ACA. To my astonishment, I am no longer able to contact his office through e-mail because I am a “security threat”! I realize that, as a 5-foot-3, 130-pound, 70-year-old woman, I am a fearsome adversary. But a security threat? REALLY?

I am currently a registered Republican and a 16-year resident of Overland Park. As such, I think I would be considered a long-term constituent.

Apparently, Sen. Roberts only wants to hear from those who agree with him!

Diana Brinsko

Overland Park

Wall a bargain

Mary Sanchez asks in her opinion piece (1/28/17) how readers feel about paying for a border wall with Mexico. If you believe the numbers put out by the Federation for American Immigration Reform the wall will be a great bargain for the American taxpayer.

The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) estimates that illegal immigration costs U.S. taxpayers at least $100 billion annually. According to FAIR, $51 billion is spent on education; 18 billion in general government services; $17 billion in health care; $17 billion in justice and law enforcement; and $10 billion in public assistance. Senate leader Mitch McConnell estimated the wall would cost $15 billion at most.

The wall will save the American taxpayers trillions of dollars over the next 20 years. We can’t afford NOT to build a wall.

Michael Kalny


Consumers pay

If the “wall” is paid for by putting a tariff on goods coming in to the USA, the U.S. consumer will pay for the wall, not Mexico.

John Bovard


Guest column

After reading the guest column in Saturday’s paper that took up nearly one-fourth of the page, I would advise Kan. Reps. Yoder, Jenkins, and Marshall to look inward for their health care plan inspiration.

Why beg us to be patient about the plan while you race to repeal? The answer is simple: Give the American people the same health care plan that we taxpayers are giving you.

Since money is no longer an issue — in view of your ability to fund hair-brained Trump ideas like a wall, voter fraud investigation, etc — we’d like to have the same pension you will get, too.

Roslyn Bethke


Diversity, inclusion

A recent article about our Service Academies (Army, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard) revealed that 33 percent of the class of 2020 at those highly selective and academically rigorous institutions are minorities, further reflecting the population surges especially in Asian and Hispanic populations in the United States.

I also noted a report from the NBA that current team rosters have players from over 20 foreign countries, and of course the NHL has a plethora of foreign born skaters.

Further evidence of an increasingly diverse and inclusive society can be seen in comparisons of team photos from the ’60s to those of the last 20 years. Another tell is comparing current lists of names of health care providers and other professionals from years ago - many foreign born and educated names will be on your list.

The prestigious Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth hosts about 100 officers and many of their families for the almost 12-month course each year. I wonder what lessons they are learning this year about us as a people that they will take home after graduation and relate to their fellow countrymen. Hope for the best.

Dave Smiley


Transgender bill

So Republican Representative John Whitmer is drafting a bill that will require transgender students in public schools to use the restroom associated with their birth gender. My only question to these asinine bills is always: Who is going to police this activity?

Will we have weenie monitors outside the boys’ bathroom and vagina verifiers outside the girls’? I also find it very interesting that his bill will not apply to private schools, e.g. religious schools. Can you say “hypocrite?”

Once again the party of small government is sticking their nose where it doesn’t belong. They always seem to want to be in my bathroom, bedroom and wallet. Amazing how they say they want small government until it involves those three locations.

I think that Mr. Whitmer needs to find something else to do with his time while he’s on MY payroll as a public employee. How about … oh … just off the top of my head … how about he work on the BUDGET that’s broken?? Maybe, just maybe he could spend some time on that so that we just might be able to dig us out of the whole that Brownback has thrown us into.

Lane Sekavec

De Soto

Refugees, smiles

Monday mornings, I teach English to refugees. The atmosphere in the office was somber when I walked in last Monday, after President Trump’s executive order.

Refugees are among the most scrutinized people to enter the United States. Almost all have been in refugee camps for many years. Some nearly 30 years--waiting for this opportunity. For younger people, camp is the only life they have ever known. They are so grateful to be here in Kansas.

These refugees are brave and hopeful, yet overwhelmed. They have to be strong, determined and terrified all at the same time. They inspire me daily.

In my classrooms on Monday, my students seemed to be blessedly unaware of the chaos in our government. They are here, they are safe and I am glad.

My people come from Bhutan, Congo, Myanmar, Syria, Somalia and Vietnam. Some have no English when they land in Kansas City. With certain people in my class we navigate exclusively on smiles, because we have no common language. Smiles are universal.

So, in our class Monday, we ate some cookies, learned some English, smiled a lot and even laughed a bit.

Our country needs less hate and more smiles.

Mary C. Windholz