The reviews are in, and President Donald Trump is drawing praise from the Kansas contingent in the U.S. House and Senate.
"During his first State of the Union, the President reinforced the positive outlook that many Americans already have on our economy and our nation. It was an address to the American people of inspiration, unity and freedom," said Rep. Estes (R-Kansas). "With unemployment at a 17-year low and more than 3 million hard-working individuals receiving a raise or bonus since the passage of tax reform, there is a renewed confidence in our country and the United States is competitive once again."
Estes is from Wichita, and represents Harvey County as part of his area.
Trump drew similar praise from Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kansas), whose congressional district also includes Harvey County.
“Following every State of the Union address, I’ve always zeroed in on, ‘did the president talk about things that matter to rural America, things that matter to Kansans?’ I appreciated the president’s comments about issues that have an impact on the everyday lives of the American people, such as making much-needed updates to our infrastructure, good-paying jobs, caring for our veterans and putting our national security first," Moran said. "I was pleased to hear the president emphasize giving veterans real choice in their health care decisions. We must continue working to make certain our heroes have greater access to the care they deserve and hold the VA accountable."
U.S. Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) praised the president — stating that in Trumps first year the country has undergone "profound change."
“In just one year, our nation has undergone profound change. The Republican Congress and the Trump Administration have lifted the regulatory and tax burdens of individuals and businesses. Our economy is growing, companies are hiring, and Kansas families are finding more money in their pocketbooks," Roberts said. “I hear from many Kansans who like the direction the country is headed and that was not so just one year ago. They like the tax cuts. Businesses are no longer afraid of regulations and are willing to invest in their employees and their operations."
Trade was an important portion of what Moran was listening for. He has raised concerns over how NAFTA is being handled and how that could effect the Kansas econony — specifically farmers who rely on export markets for grain and agricultural products.
“I also remain committed to conveying to the administration that Kansas farmers, ranchers and manufacturers need certainty, rather than the threat of a NAFTA withdrawal. I will urge the president to renegotiate and modernize NAFTA to benefit our farmers, ranchers and manufacturers," Moran said. “Additionally, I was encouraged to hear the president speak about a number of important national security priorities and reiterate his commitment to keeping Americans safe from terrorists, including by keeping enemy combatants captured on the battlefield detained at GITMO.”
How possible policy changes and trade agreements effect the agricultural community is also a concern for Roberts — who has also been outspoken in the past when NAFTA negotiations have been brought forward.
A recent analysis by the Business Roundtable found if the U.S. withdrew from NAFTA, Kansas would lose 17,410 jobs within one year. Kansas’ exports to Mexico and Canada would drop by $846 million, and Kansas' economic output would lose more than $955 million.
In 2016 alone, Kansas exported more than $300 million agriculture goods to Canada. Since NAFTA entered into force on January 1, 1994, the value of U.S. agricultural exports to Canada has increased by 265 percent and to Mexico by 289 percent.
“We must continue this effort to bring prosperity to every corner of the country. Farmers and ranchers are still struggling with low prices and surpluses. We must aggressively pursue trade policies that increase access to new markets for these producers," Roberts said. “The U.S. is entering our eighth round of NAFTA negotiations. I am continuing to make the case to the president himself and to the Trump administration that the Kansas economy and rural America benefit significantly from NAFTA. We must preserve this important trading relationship. At the same time, we must move forward on new trade agreements with nations that are taking their business to our competitors. I look forward to working with the president and our negotiators to build upon our current economic growth.”
Senator Roberts also praised the President’s announcement to continue to operate the Guantanamo Bay detention facility (GITMO). Roberts successfully fought Obama Administration attempts to close the facility and move enemy combatants to the mainland. Fort Leavenworth was one such site under consideration.
“GITMO remains the most appropriate and safest place to house current and future detainees,” Roberts said. “I am glad this President understands that the American people do not want this security risk in their neighborhoods.”