Articles

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Kayse Johnson
Ward B Council Position
Kayse Kendall Johnson:

TKN What position are you running for?
KJ: Councilman Ward B
TKN: What is your reason to run for this particular position?
KJ: I love the history and God-fearing people of Katy. I respect the Government of Katy and appreciate all of the hard work they accomplished. I support Mayor Hughes, The City Administrator, The City Secretary, the Municipal Court Judge, The City Treasurer and The Council. So, why do I want to run for Council? My running for office isn’t a vote against the current Administration. I would like to come alongside those who have served our city in the past, and be a part of embracing the future of our city. My family moved to Katy from Austin in the summer of 2014 and should I be elected to serve on our City’s Council, I would represent the growing population of “newbies” flooding into this area. Everyone wants to live in Katy, and that’s for good reasons.
TKN: What is your education that you feel makes you qualified for this position?
KJ: I graduated cum laude through the provisions of a scholarship with Texas Junior Miss. I’m a Texan, born in Dallas with grassroots and grandparents in Austin, but when my Dad got cancer there were no funds for college. Through Junior Miss, I had the privilege of attending the largest university system in the world, with campuses on all U.S. Military bases world-wide. I worked in the Chancellor’s office, receiving another type of education in corresponding with other countries and learning the inner workings of the University System. I graduated in 1991 with a degree in Business and a love for our Nation’s Military. That was many years ago, but I’m thankful for the education afforded to me through the Junior Miss Program. I continued my education, earning licenses in Series 7 General Securities, Series 63 Uniform Securities and Blue Sky Laws while employed by A.G. Edwards & Sons in the Stockyards of Ft. Worth, where I managed the Cowtown Stockyard Investment Club. I went on to become an Executive at both Regions and U.S. Bank where I gained a solid financial education that might benefit my job on the Council.
TKN: How long have you lived in Katy?
KJ: I’ve lived here long enough to know that the City of Katy keeps her promises. My family moved here in the summer of 2014 just in time to be immersed into the vote for a $748 million bond issue. That was our first community action, allowing signs to be posted in our yard, as we were part of the reason why the city had to secure additional funding for growth. That bond passed on November 2nd, 2014, getting us through projected growth of the next few years, with the promise of no higher resident’s tax (rates). On April 27th of this year, Mayor Hughes and the Katy City Council voted to annex three tracts of land totaling just over 400 acres, increasing the tax base of commercial development and keeping the burden off of residential taxes.
TKN: What are some of the things that you think need to be changed in the running of the City of Katy?
KJ: My platform will be: Preserving History, Embracing Growth, Focusing on Safety and Pursuing Active Access with the residents of The City of Katy. I do not have an axe to grind with the City. We need to give credit where it is due and our current and past Civil Servants have many praiseworthy accomplishments to their credit. If chosen to serve, I would continue in their work of Preserving Historic Katy while Keeping Up With Growth. I will bring fresh perspective, as one NOT graduating from Katy High School, although my son will join the ranks of KHS next year. I will represent the growing population of newcomers, however, I believe in listening and learning from those who have gone before us. Katy is full of experienced, wise residents who were here before the rest of us moved in, and probably saw most of our houses being built. They have something to say, and out of respect and a desire to succeed, I will listen to them and consult them. I recently told Mayor Hughes that should I win, I want to be able to come to him for advice. I might not always follow advice, but I’d be a fool not to listen. Steve Jurovic was good enough to reach out to me recently and he made this point: He knows many a wise resident who might not stand up in front of The City Council to voice concerns, but have much to say. He talked about how important it is to give all residents ACCESS. I know from my own experience that many of our older residents do not drive at night, so making a council meeting is out of the question. If elected to serve as Councilman, I will make sure to provide access to not only newcomers, but to our elders in the city. I will have a web page, operational within the week, at “KayseforKaty.com” as well as a Facebook page at “KayseKendallJohnsonforCityCouncil” with a built in contact form so people can send me emails and not only voice concerns, but give good advice as well. They won’t even have to sign their name. Everyone’s voice will be heard no matter the race, religion or economic standing.
I’m also passionate about safety in our city. As our population grows, the common concern of phone use while driving increases. I have a 14 year old that will take Drivers Ed soon. His first car will, of course, be older than dirt. But I’m tempted to attach bells, whistles, flags and a “baaaahoooooga” horn for his safety amidst a sea of distracted drivers. I would like to focus on safety issues regarding phone use and driving, as well as improving conditions at corners and intersections where we all know “an accident is just waiting to happen”, such as my corner of Morton Road and Avenue D. Therefore, if “Preserving History, Embracing Growth, Focusing on Safety and Pursuing Active Access with the residents of The City of Katy” sounds good to you, please vote for this “newbie” on May 6th.
TKN: What do you feel will be some of the challenges you will face in your campaign?
KJ: I like Jimmy Mendez. He is the incumbent that I will run against in Ward B. I went to the grand opening ceremony of Katy’s new City Hall in June last year and it was hot. My 9 year old daughter and I sipped on the last few drops of water in our bottles while we watched Katy’s Government melt in black suits on an unshaded platform. I watched as Servant-Leader and past Superman and Superintendent of KISD Alton Frailey saw the issue and went for water. As the water was passed down the aisle, it stopped…right before it got to the Mayor (who reported that later he was hospitalized for heat exhaustion following the ceremonies). Then I saw Jimmy. He was smiling of course. And he got up and found a bottle of water for the Mayor. I won’t comment on who didn’t pass the water. But Jimmy passed the water. I don’t want to beat Jimmy, but I want to win.
TKN: What will be your running platform?
KJ: Preserving History, Embracing Growth, Focusing on Safety and Pursuing Active Access with the residents of The City of Katy.
TKN: Who do you think will be your biggest competitor in this race?
KJ: Incumbent Jimmy Mendez and others running in Ward B
TKN: Are there any of the current City Projects that you would change and why?
KJ: I had the privilege of taking a look into the City Administrator’s office and seeing the projects pinned on his wall. There are just as many if not more in the works. Byron Hebert is a busy man with his nose to the wheel. Why would I change any of the current City Projects when I don’t have all of the facts as a resident? Of course, if I could change any, I would somehow grant myself more of a driveway than what is about to be taken under eminent domain in the widening of Morton Road. It’s those darn new people who keep moving here (tongue in cheek), causing The City to improve our roads. I would like to put in a good word for David Leyendecker, Engineer Consultant to the City, Roy Frankum Building Inspector, Elaine Lutringer, Public Works Director and Anas Garfaoui, Planning and Zoning; who all worked with me on two occasions so far, when I brought in plans drawn up for my front and side yards improvements. When I first moved to Katy and bought my house on Morton Road, I didn’t know about the plans to widen the road. I could have, but I did not look it up. Once I found out, I hired Mr. Laird of Laird Landscaping to draw designs for my yard in anticipation of the widening of Morton Road. I can’t tell you how wonderful it felt to sit down with this group and realize that they were there to help me. I’ve moved forward only a bit in my plans by removing a tree, repositioning a basketball goal and moving out my fence line, but I know that The City of Katy will be helpful in each step of the way. It’s best to make your plan and get the City’s blessing. Now that Mayor Hughes ushered in “Katy is Now Open For Business”, you can’t go wrong in seeking the City’s help. For those of you who are struggling with permits, just know, the City isn’t perfect but is in the process of being perfected. Hang on, be patient and work together. All of this growth doesn’t come without some headaches.
TKN: How do you feel about the Katy Boardwalk project?
KJ: The Katy Boardwalk Project is one of those projects that demonstrate how Katy is actively pursuing improvement and additional offerings in our town. It will attract visitors and the convention center will host conventions with crowds who want to eat, shop and stay in Katy. From what I understand, the city’s portion of cost will be paid out of occupancy taxes at the city’s hotels and portions of sales tax revenue from sales at the mall. It sounds beautiful. The delay to redraw designs isn’t a negative thing since current designs drawings have the hotel and convention center blocking part of the boardwalk. The City of Katy is committed to The Boardwalk Project and details like this can easily be redesigned. I look forward to having a convention center in town. I know our city qualifies for this and will only make us more legitimate in what we have to offer. My husband frequently brings celebrities to Katy for his work, and currently they stay at the hotels surrounding Katy Mills. I’m thankful for these convenient hotels and will continue to use them; however, it will be great to have the option of using a convention center hotel with a boardwalk. Nice.
TKN: Are you married and do you have children and grandchildren?
KJ: I have been married to Johnny Johnson for 28 years. We have a 9 year old daughter, Zoe and a 14 year old son, Jack.
TKN: Do you feel that the position you are running for will interfere with your current job?
KJ: Katy has the largest volunteer base of any city where I have lived. I was surprised to find so many people busy in school, community and civic affairs and not for pay. We are all given 24 hours in one day, and each day comes with choices. I look forward to having choices to make that include serving The City of Katy. My greatest job is to my family, and I will continue to work hard and provide a nurturing home for them, family and friends. One way that I can make their life happy in Katy is to get involved in the work of the City of Katy and do my part to keep Katy great.
TKN: Do you have ideas & plans for the future of Katy?
KJ: I anticipate the future of Katy and just like a river changes its course over obstacles and over time, the beauty of that river is what is to be protected. My idea is to preserve the Historic beauty of Katy, as well as embrace Katy’s growth. It’s going to take two camps to accomplish this mission, with ACCESS to both camp. My idea is to seek that bridge between the senior citizens, the veterans, the native Katyians and the newbies; those of The Falls, The Lakes of Katy, Remington Trails, Cane Island, etc. Have you seen the historical pictures of Katy? Check out a copy of Carol Adams book, “Historic Katy: An Illustrated History”. We all moved here from somewhere. It’s not an “us and them” mentality that keeps us sharp and it’s my plan to unify all members of the community through a platform of communication. Please start communicating with me about our future, The City of Katy, through social media beginning this Friday, February 25th at these addresses:
Webpage: KayseforKaty.com,
Facebook page:KayseKendallJohnsonforCityCouncil.
Twitter: KayseforKaty

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Ward B Council Position
Jessie G. Campbell:
Jessie Campbell

TKN: What position are you running for?
JGC: City Council, Ward B
TKN: What is your reason to run for this particular position?
JGC: It is about what I see and think when I drive home every day:
How does the new development affect my property values?
How does the growth in population affect my safety, commute, etc.?
When will that shopping complex get some tenants?
What happens if it doesn’t?
What is up with the recycling?
And in the last two years, “how do I get to work when both Morton Rd. and Franz/Ave. D flood during a heavy rain event?”
I am running for City Council for Ward B, because I am representing my every day concerns and those of my neighbors.
TKN: What is your education that you feel makes you qualified for this position?
JGC: I received my law degree from the University of School of Law in Austin in 2002. As a lawyer, I have learned how to investigate a situation or problem from every point-of-view and how to ask and answer the “what-if” questions. I also learned how to be solution-oriented when there is a problem. As a lawyer, my goal is to provide the best solution for my clients when there is a problem and to advocate for my client when they are pursuing their own goals. As a city councilmember, my client will be the City and its residents.
TKN: How long have you lived in Katy?
JGC: 13 years – I moved to Katy in 2004, though my family lived in Katy when I was child (from age 7 to 13). I have fond memories of my childhood in Katy, and I always knew that I would return. In fact, I even moved back into my childhood home.
TKN: What are some of the things that you think need to be changed in the running of the City of Katy?
JGC: Make important information available. When it comes to daily running of the City, one of the top priorities will be to make up-to-date information available. The City website is intended to be the first source of information, and it needs to be updated, frequently. When a person goes to the website, they should not have to search for information that is intended to be publicly available (such as Council Meetings, which has not been updated since August). When information is not readily available, it brings up questions about transparency. Social Media must be utilized in a more effective manner, especially during local events, which is one of the best means to share information quickly. And when the City does post content, it must be kept accurate and updated as needed.
TKN: What do you feel will be some of the challenges you will face in your campaign?
JGC: The biggest challenge will be voter awareness and turn-out. Non-presidential elections and, even more so, elections in May historically have low voter turn-out. I will do my best to meet as many of my neighbors to introduce myself and to share my vision for the City, but it will be a challenge.
TKN: What will be your running platform?
JGC: Smart Residential Growth that Protects Our Residents. As we make decisions about the City’s growth, we must fully study the current and expected outcomes. We must look at (1) are current developments performing as expected, (2) are there too many homes available for purchase, which can create a buyers’ market and hurt property values, (3) do we have the infrastructure for safety/services (flooding, first responders, road development), (4) if we do not have the infrastructure, do we have the means and ability to solve these concerns, and (5) how does it affect the charm that is Katy.
Smart Business Growth and Support. We must support our small business owners and be a partner in their success. We must also support the commercial developers that have already invested in Katy. We must look at (1) how to encourage new businesses to open ships within the city limits, (2) do we have the infrastructure for their growth, while ensuring quality of life in Katy, and (3) do we have a plan to support the growth of the Katy Boardwalk and other commercial developments in the surrounding areas, while protecting the small businesses already open within the city limits.
TKN: Who do you think will be your biggest competitor in this race?
JGC: I respect all of the candidates. Each candidate has his/her own skills and expertise, and we each have a distinct vision for the City. The voters will decide on which vision they most agree.
TKN: Are there any of the current City Projects that you would change and why?
JGC: Flooding! While the City is steadfast that that new residential developments are not a cause for recent flooding issues, it remains a great concern for the citizens of Katy. In fact, in a recent heavy rain event (not just the Tax Day Flood or 100/500/1000 year events), there was street flooding that made it difficult for residents to leave for work. As we grow, there must be an independent review of how those developments will cause any potential flooding issues – even if it is temporary. There must be absolute transparency on this review. While I am happy that City did establish the Flood Committee (which has not issued its findings yet), the City needs to take a stronger leadership role. It is clear the state will not lead in dealing with what they see as a regional problem. I strongly believe that the City needs to work with the surrounding counties and municipalities and either (1) create its own regional committee on flooding solutions or (2) to advocate for our citizens to our state leadership that it must create viable regional solutions. It is not just about convenience; it is also about public safety.
TKN: How do you feel about the Katy Boardwalk project?
JGC: The Katy Boardwalk Project is approved and ground has been broken. The designs are beautiful, and I believe that it will be a good thing for Katy in the long run. For me, it is about making sure that we build the foundation for its success while protecting the charm of Katy. For example, while I read about road construction, I do not see any real discussion about how to handle the new, increase traffic. Even now, on sales tax free day or a beautiful weekend when Typhoon Texas Waterpark is busy, it can take up to 30 minutes just to exit into the Katy area.
TKN: Are you married and do you have children and grandchildren?
JGC: I am in a committed relationship with my boyfriend, James, and I have a senior dachshund/corgi mix, Ronny.
TKN: Do you feel that the position you are running for will interfere with your current job?
JGC: I am fortunate that my current job offers me great flexibility. I have previously balanced my work with other professional or educational responsibilities, all with great success. I expect that to continue as I serve on the City Council.
TKN: Do you have ideas & plans for the future of Katy?
JGC: The City is moving forward as a regional destination city, and it continues to be a great place to live. I want to be sure that as we grow, we do so smartly, and we keep the charm of Katy – the charm that created my fond childhood memories and that makes me and others want to live here as an adult. I want to be sure that Katy stays Katy, and not look like every other municipality with strip-upon-strip of big box stores simply because it brings in sales tax revenue. As we move forward as a “convention city,” I want to support our small business owners, giving them the opportunity to shine so that visitors will enjoy visiting Katy *now* and in 8-10 years and beyond. I want to invite different types of conventions/shows – we have great gift markets and home & garden shows, but where are our car, recreation, antique shows? I want to encourage experience-based businesses and organizations, such as the arts, entertainment, and unique restaurants. My plans for the future of Katy is to maintain and grow the Charm of Katy, making our residents happy to come home and our visitors sad to leave.

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Ward A Council Position J. Gary Jones:
J. Gary Jones

TKN: What position are you running for?
JGJ: Council Member Ward A
TKN: What is your reason to run for this particular position?
JGJ: To continue to serve Katy for a second term.
TKN: What is your education that you feel makes you qualified for this position?
JGJ: Former business owner, former SREC Committee member, former U. S. Marine.
TKN: How long have you lived in Katy?
JGJ: Wife was born and raised in Katy. We have lived in Katy area for 15 years. Moved to Katy Proper 3-1/2 years ago.
TKN: What are some of the things that you think need to be changed in the running of the City of Katy? JGJ: Too many antiquated ordinances, need to improve infrastructure, improve mobility and lower taxes.
TKN: What do you feel will be some of the challenges you will face in your campaign?
JGJ: Does not apply as I am running unopposed.
TKN: What will be your running platform?
JGJ: Does not apply as I am running unopposed.
TKN: Who do you think will be your biggest competitor in this race?
JGJ: Does not apply as I am running unopposed.
TKN: Are there any of the current City Projects that you would change and why?
JGJ: Not at this time.
TKN: How do you feel about the Katy Boardwalk project?
JGJ: I believe it is beneficial to Katy at no cost to taxpayers.
TKN: Are you married and do you have children and grandchildren?
JGJ: Married to Sherri Cullins Jones, one (1) daughter and three (3) grandchildren.
TKN: Do you feel that the position you are running for will interfere with your current job?
JGJ: No
TKN: Do you have ideas & plans for the future of Katy?
JGJ: Continue to make Katy a great place to live and work while lowering taxes.
JGJ: Does not apply as I am running unopposed.
TKN: Are there any of the current City Projects that you would change and why?
JGJ: Not at this time.
TKN: How do you feel about the Katy Boardwalk project?
JGJ: I believe it is beneficial to Katy at no cost to taxpayers.
TKN: Are you married and do you have children and grandchildren?
JGJ: Married to Sherri Cullins Jones, one (1) daughter and three (3) grandchildren.
TKN: Do you feel that the position you are running for will interfere with your current job?
JGJ: No
TKN: Do you have ideas & plans for the future of Katy?
JGJ: Continue to make Katy a great place to live and work while lowering taxes.

 

GradSource.com highlights the best campuses with online finance programs.

After a thorough study of online master’s programs on campuses across the country, the University of Houston – Clear Lake earned the no.1 spot for fnance.

What makes the University of Houston stand out? It holds the top spot on our list thanks to its affordability (No. 2 out of 31), student success rate at No. 9 and prominence at No. 17.

To generate the rankings, Gradsource.com took a data-driven approach to help prospective students find the best schools to advance their engineering education. The schools were graded on five key criteria: affordability, flexibility, program prominence, student success and related degrees.

After crunching the numbers, these were the top 10 schools:

  1. University of Houston – Clear Lake
  2. Kaplan University – Davenport Campus
  3. Northern State University
  4. Saint Joseph’s University
  5. Tiffin University
  6. Concordia University – Wisconsin
  7. Golden Gate University – San Francisco
  8. New England College
  9. Mississippi
  10. University of Saint Mary

Data for the study was sourced from the National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Labor Statistics. For a closer look at the ranking and methodology, visit GradSource.com’s article on the best online finance master’s programs. The interactive ranking tool allows students to filter the rankings based off of their preference.

About Gradsource.com

GradSource.com is the top online destination for prospective master’s and doctoral students. We provide comprehensive academic and career information, including program overviews, school rankings and job outlooks. We make it easy to research different career fields and browse online programs all in one place.

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Pictured Left to Right: John Cotterell, Fort Bend Farm Bureau; Fort Bend County Judge Robert Hebert; Ross Werlla, Fort Bend Farm Bureau; Johnnie Cooper, Fort Bend Farm Bureau

 FORT BEND COUNTY, TX – On Tuesday, March 14, 2017, Fort Bend County Judge Robert Hebert presented the Fort Bend County Farm Bureau with a proclamation in recognition of Texas Food Connection Day.

Fort Bend County farmers, ranchers and others involved in the agriculture industry, working together in an environmentally sustainable way, help feed people here in Fort Bend County, our nation, and in other countries around the world. This day is an opportunity to recognize the industry and those that are involved in providing Fort Bend citizens with access to healthful foods.

Letter to Secretary Tillerson requests comprehensive review of how taxpayer dollars are utilized abroad

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and five Senate colleagues wrote a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson requesting an investigation of U.S. funds associated with promoting democracy and governance outside of the U.S. Recent troubling reports indicate that U.S. entities, including the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), have disbursed taxpayer funds to shape the judiciary, civil society, and political landscape of foreign countries to the benefit of left-leaning political groups at the expense of U.S. national interests. Of special concern are reports of funds going from USAID to organizations affiliated with George Soros-backed Open Society Foundations.

“It is deeply disturbing that USAID and other U.S. government agencies may be involved in disbursing taxpayer funds to extreme political groups working to force change in foreign countries in ways that are at odds with U.S. national interests and potentially harmful to U.S. relations with those nations and the stability of their governments,” Sen. Cruz said. “Specifically, Macedonia and Albania are two countries whose political development the U.S. is keen on supporting, and I am especially concerned about USAID funds going to organizations in those countries that are financed by left-wing radical George Soros. The U.S. should not be sending money to organizations that may be working under the guise of promoting legal or political reform, while actually undermining judicial independence, the rule of law, political representation by right-of-center groups, and good relations with the U.S. I hope that Secretary Tillerson will treat this matter with urgency and conduct a comprehensive review to ensure that American taxpayers are not funding a radical agenda overseas.”

The full letter may be viewed here.

 

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AUSTIN, TX—The Texas House on Thursday unanimously approved a bill to extend a critical program that places foster children in permanent homes with verified relatives and provides assistance payments to these relatives.

HB 511, authored by Representative Sarah Davis, would eliminate the upcoming expiration date for the Permanency Care Assistance program. This program removes children whose parents are deemed unfit for care from state conservatorship and places them in a permanent home with a relative. This legislation will also provide for financial assistance to the caregivers for the child removed from foster care.

The bill highlights the Texas House’s commitment to improving care and protection for the state’s most vulnerable children. This item was voted on as an emergency item for the 85th legislative session, as prioritized by Governor Greg Abbott.

Representative Davis remarked, “…since 2009, the Permanency Care Assistance Program has successfully placed over 3,500 children in forever homes with verified relatives and family members. Without action by the Texas House, the state’s most vulnerable foster children would have lost this vital alternative to spending their entire childhood in foster care custody. This bill will result in savings of over $3.2 million to the state in the next two years alone. Extending the Permanency Care Assistance program is the right thing to do for Texas foster children, families, and taxpayers.”

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The cost of health care in Texas is rising faster than both the general inflation rate and the growth of the state’s population. In fiscal 2015, Texas state government spent $42.9 billion on health care services, or 43.1 percent of all its appropriations from state, federal and other sources.

The March issue of Fiscal Notes looks at a recent report issued by the Texas Comptroller’s office, Texas Health Care Spending Report: Fiscal 2015, which examines and quantifies health care spending by 68 state agencies and higher education institutions in a recent five-year period.

“Emerging technologies, demographics and the growth of our great state will ensure the demand for health care services continues to increase even while the cost of these services is on the rise,” Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar said. “The question for policymakers is how to contain these costs.”

In this issue, the Comptroller’s office also examines the potential for greater trade with Cuba, the communist nation that has been subject to a U.S. trade embargo since 1962. Relaxing or even removing the embargo could open new markets for Texas, especially for our agricultural producers. Yet significant statutory and political obstacles remain in place.

Fiscal Notes is available online and also can be received by subscribing via the Comptroller’s website. To view the full report, download Texas Health Care Spending Report: Fiscal 2015.

Fiscal Notes is an extension of the Comptroller’s constitutional responsibilities to monitor the state’s economy and estimate state government revenues. It has been published periodically since 1975, featuring in-depth analysis concerning state finances and original research by subject-matter experts in the Comptroller’s office.

 

 WASHINGTON – Ahead of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s scheduled visit to Beijing on Saturday, U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) joined a bipartisan letter to China’s ambassador to the United States seeking the release of Sandy Phan-Gillis, a Texas resident who has been held without trial in China since March 19, 2015.  

“We write to you to express serious concerns about the continued detention of Sandy Phan-Gillis, an American citizen, in China,” the senators wrote. “On the eve of her two years in detention, we urge your government to immediately release Mrs. Phan-Gillis. The U.S.-China relationship is one of the most consequential relationships in the world. We appreciate the importance of constructive relations between the United States and China. However, we do not believe that Mrs. Phan-Gillis’ continued detention serves the shared interests of Washington and Beijing.”

Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, led the letter, which was also signed by Senators Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).

 Full text of the letter is included below, and a signed copy is available here.

The Honorable Cui Tiankai

Embassy of the People’s Republic of China

3505 International Place NW

Washington, D.C. 20008

 

Dear Ambassador Cui:

 

We write to you to express serious concerns about the continued detention of Sandy Phan-Gillis, an American citizen, in China. On the eve of her two years in detention, we urge your government to immediately release Mrs. Phan-Gillis.

The U.S.-China relationship is one of the most consequential relationships in the world. We appreciate the importance of constructive relations between the United States and China. However, we do not believe that Mrs. Phan-Gillis’ continued detention serves the shared interests of Washington and Beijing.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s upcoming visit to Beijing presents an invaluable opportunity for the United States and China to create an atmosphere for strengthening relations between the United States and China under the new U.S. administration, including possible plans for a summit meeting between President Trump and President Xi.

The release of Mrs. Phan-Gillis would go a long way towards creating such an atmosphere, and we urge your government to do so without delay.

Thank you in advance for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Senator John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, is a member of the Senate Finance, Intelligence, and Judiciary Committees.

 

 

‘Judge Gorsuch has won the respect of those across the political spectrum and on both sides of the aisle.’

‘It’s time to move forward with the President’s nominee to fill the seat left open by the death of the late Justice Scalia, and I believe that Judge Gorsuch is just the man to fill it’

WASHINGTON – Today on the Senate floor, U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) previewed next week’s hearing for Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s nominee to be Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.  Excerpts of Sen. Cornyn’s remarks are below, and video of his remarks can be found here.

“He has been praised by people across the political spectrum, from liberals to conservatives, as a highly-qualified and exceptional judge with impeccable integrity.”

“He’s served with great distinction on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals based out of Denver for the last ten years after having been confirmed by this Chamber unanimously. Clearly, Judge Gorsuch has won the respect of those across the political spectrum and on both sides of the aisle.”

“Judge Gorsuch will also bring decades of experience on the bench, as I mentioned a moment ago. He served in private practice, as well as an attorney with the Justice Department and, of course, as a federal judge.”

“It’s time to move forward with the President’s nominee to fill the seat left open by the death of the late Justice Scalia, and I believe that Judge Gorsuch is just the man to fill it. And I look forward to hearing from him next week as we consider his nomination to this important position.”

Senator John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, is a member of the Senate Finance, Intelligence, and Judiciary Committees.