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Moran, Huelskamp open Congressional offices here

By Corene Brisendine

Until this week, there hadn’t been a Congressional office in Manhattan in more than three decades. Now there are two.

Sen. Jerry Moran opened an office here Tuesday morning, one day following the opening of First District Rep. Tim Huelskamp’s office. Moran’s office is behind the west-side Walgreens off Anderson Avenue at 923 Westport Place, Suite 210. It is expected to be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Huelskamp’s office will be open from 1 to 3 p.m. this Thursday at 727 Poyntz Ave., Suite 10, in the Commerce Bank Building, and then at times to be announced by the representative.

Moran said he decided to move his personal office here from Hays not only to be more accessible to area residents but because he moved his family here last year. He said he would maintain an office in Hays, as well as Olathe, Wichita and Pittsburg.

“This office will serve as our eyes and ears for this area,” Moran said. “It will be fully staffed and my home base when I am in Kansas.”

Moran said several factors influenced his decision. He said NBAF, Fort Riley and Kansas State University were “huge and significant” assets to the state and he felt it is his responsibility in Washington to protect those assets. He said he also thought it was a great opportunity to connect with K-State students by offering an intern program through the new office.

The office is staffed by two K-State graduates. Megan Henry will serve as the constituent services representative. She will be helping people with federal funding and benefits and will also act as a liaison with community leaders, local officials and businesses. Tyler Leonard is moving to Manhattan from Oskaloosa. He will be in charge of advocating for agricultural issues.

Moran said the office is designed as a place for local citizens to get help with receiving benefits from the federal government such as social services and veterans’ benefits. He said citizens can also come to the office to give the senator their opinions on legislation facing Congress.

One of those issues is raising the debt ceiling. During a press conference on Monday, President Barack Obama said he would not let Republican congressmen use the debate to raise the debt ceiling as a bargaining chip in spending reductions.

Moran disagrees. He said to not raise the issue of federal spending now would be a mistake.

“While sometimes it’s considered irresponsible to not raise the debt ceiling, unless we make significant reductions in spending it seems equally irresponsible to me to just keep spending money we don’t have,” Moran said.

Moran said he is also disappointed in Obama suggesting that deficit spending can be dealt with at a different time. He said in the past four years, he has not seen “any efforts in reducing spending” by the President or Congress. He said if our leaders continue to “kick” the debt “down the road” it will only compound the problem by never resolving it.

Huelskamp’s staff indicated that the precise hours when his office will be open may vary, at least initially, but they said staffers from the Salina office will travel here “multiple times per week.” Huelskamp also has offices in Hutchinson and Dodge City.

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