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More letters to the editor on Koch and ALEC, coal plant, defunding Defense, medical marijuana

  • Published Sunday, August 21, 2011, at 12:08 a.m.
  • Updated Sunday, August 21, 2011, at 4:50 a.m.

Koch Industries happy to be 'pro-business'

Barb Shelly's commentary about the American Legislative Exchange Council painted a dark picture of "industry representatives and pro-business allies" hatching "radical ideas" ("State lawmakers outsourcing duties to ALEC," Aug. 16 Opinion).

Given that ALEC's mission is advancing "the Jeffersonian principles of free markets, limited government, federalism and individual liberty," describing it as "radical" is far-fetched. Shelly also described the Charles Koch Foundation as "pro- business," as if that were a derogatory term.

Koch companies are unapologetically pro-business, pro-prosperity and pro-free markets when it comes to serving our customers, creating jobs and adding value in society. If "pro-business" means working to advance government handouts and favors, or profiting at the expense of consumers, that we are not.

Koch has been successful at creating products and services that people want and need. This success has enabled us to donate hundreds of millions of dollars to causes that help transform lives. In the past five years, Koch companies and foundations have given more than $100 million to support education, environmental stewardship, arts and culture, human services and at-risk youths.

At Koch, we believe in economic freedom. We know that entrepreneurship improves the well-being of society as a whole. If that makes us "pro-business," we're happy to be recognized as such.

MELISSA COHLMIA

Director of corporate communication

Koch Industries

Wichita

Build new planes

The downing of the Chinook helicopter and the loss of 30 valuable service members brought to mind my active-duty service in the Army 50 years ago. Serving at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, I could not miss the sound of this same helicopter, whose large twin rotors were driven by gigantic motors. A year later, while serving in Texas, I caught a hop on a KC-135; the same planes are based today at McConnell Air Force Base.

Clearly, our military is using very old equipment, which is dangerous in today's world.

Current budget plans call for taking cash from the military budget, which in 2012 is scheduled to be $690 billion.

World War II ended the Great Depression by putting Americans to work in the new war industry. Some may recall how this led to the rapid building of housing still seen in Wichita's Hilltop neighborhood.

Rather than defunding the Defense Department, would it not be better for employment in Kansas to design and build replacements for weapon systems that are half a century old? Our potential foes are doing that with our dollars. We can do it.

RICHARD GILMARTIN

Wichita

Demand clean air

So glad to see someone has the guts to do what our political leaders failed to do ("Opponents file injunction to block coal plant," Aug. 16 Local & State). They are more interested in lining their own pockets than showing concern for the air we breathe.

We had a governor (Mark Parkinson) who didn't want to be governor and chose to fire the best health and environment secretary we ever had, just so his buddies could pollute the air our children and grandchildren will be forced to breathe for generations to come.

Please do your own research and let your voice be heard. We want clean air and alternative fuel sources — and a government that does not play hanky-panky with big business.

JUDY YOUNG

Wichita

Show compassion

Kansas is widely known as a conservative state, with her foundation solidly grounded on Christian principles. This ideology plays a vital role in making our fine state what she is. We, her people, are recognized for our strong moral ethics and family values. Most of us consider ourselves to be Christians.

One of the primary virtues of Christianity is compassion for our fellow man — especially those who struggle and suffer. Many Kansas patients struggle miserably every day with debilitating, painful medical conditions that are known to respond well to cannabis therapy.

For many patients, not only has cannabis proved to provide their only effective relief, but this benign medicinal plant is virtually free of dangerous side effects.

It is time to show some true Christian compassion for these unfortunate souls and allow them safe, legal access to a medicine that might dramatically improve the quality of their lives. Or shall we continue to allow them to suffer needlessly because man has forbidden them to make use of this remarkable gift from God?

CHERYL RILEY

Director

Kansas Medical Cannabis Network

Potwin

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