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Everything posted by Ben

  1. Name: Raleigh Benjamin Welles Party: Democratic Party (since 2006), Republican Party (1977-2006) Seat Held: Kansas Class II Date of Birth: 11/17/1959 Place of Birth: Topeka, Kansas Place of Residence: Topeka, Kansas (1959-1977) Various (1977-1982) Lincoln, Nebraska (1982-1997) Topeka, Kansas (1997-Present) Race: Caucasian Gender: Male Religious Affiliation: Baptist Educational: University of Nebraska, Economics (1986) Occupational: United States Air Force (1977-1982) Nebraska Air National Guard (1982-1996) Road Maintenance Worker, Kansas Department of Transportation, Part-Time (1982-1986) Founder and Owner, Raleigh’s Discount and Surplus Lumber (1986-1998) Finance Chairman, Chuck Hagel for Senate (1996) Founder and Owner, Second Life Salvage and Resale (1998-2007) Owner, Heartland Park Topeka (2003-2011) Kansas State Senator (2003-2007) Kansas State Treasurer (2007-2011) Member, Surface Transportation Board (2011-2014) United States Senator (2015-Present) Born and raised in Topeka, Kansas to a father who owned his own construction company and served as a Republican member of the State House of Representatives and a school teacher mother, Raleigh B. Welles decided after graduating that he didn’t want to have to rely on his family’s wealth in life and wanted to pave his own path, and enlisted in the United States Air Force shortly after his high school graduation. Serving 5 years, he travelled throughout the northern hemisphere as part of Pavements and Construction Equipment division building and maintaining runways and airfields at US military bases. Upon being honorably discharged after 5 years of service due to wanting to seek an education, Welles applied for and was accepted into the University of Nebraska-Lincoln which he chose due to the convenience of the city’s proximity to Nebraska’s primary Air National Guard base which he would be active within for the next 14 years. During his academic studies in which he sought a degree in economics, Welles utilized his experience in the Air Force to work part-time for the Kansas Department of Transportation specializing in road maintenance, which along with his salary from the Nebraska Air National Guard allowed him to begin saving for his future and afford off-campus housing. Upon graduation in 1986, a conversation with a KDOT employee changed his life, where the man spoke of his time moonlighting in construction and how his employer frequently utilized lumber bought at a discount from other companies with a surplus, which sparked Raleigh’s creativity. After a few months of research, and loans from both his father and a local bank, he founded Raleigh’s Discount and Surplus Lumber which took the practice spoken of by his co-worker and applied it to the average consumer, buying up surplus lumber supplies from various local businesses at a discount and offering affordable options for consumers of high quality lumber for construction and flooring purposes. Starting with a single warehouse in Lincoln, over the next decade the business steadily grew to over 30 locations across Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, and Missouri, becoming a self-made millionaire process and first becoming involved in politics in this time as a donor and fundraiser for politicians on both sides of the aisle, though he had always considered himself at least nominally a Republican like his father and many he served with in the Air Force and Air National Guard in the Reagan era. Both his first, and last, major position in Nebraska politics came when he served as the Finance Chair for Chuck Hagel’s successful upset victory over Governor Ben Nelson in the 1996 Senate race. In early 1997, his father’s passing from a long battle with throat cancer had left his mother a widow, and despite years of turning down offers from more national competitors to sell his company, he did not wish to relocate his mother in order to look after her so put his company on the market upon moving back home to Topeka where he managed it remotely until reaching a high 7 figure agreement with the east coast-based Lumber Liquidators in 1998. Having inherited a large plot of land which had housed his father’s construction company until it had closed shortly after the cancer diagnosis, Welles decided that rather than let the space go to waste, he would utilize it and his many connections to the salvage and surplus industry to open a new business known as Second Life Salvage and Resale. With his many family connections in Topeka to the local construction and government communities, Second Life quickly grew into a thriving business, expanding to multiple other locations in Kansas and his former homestate in Nebraska with multiple contracts with the local and state governments in both states as well as several private construction firms. In 2002, having established himself in Kansas politics as he had previously in Nebraska by serving as a frequent donor and fundraiser as well as active community leader, he was recruited by the local Republican Party to run for the State Senate, proving successful in a competitive district. However, some local Republicans became somewhat dismayed when his voting record quickly proved to be much closer to the center than had been expected, quickly becoming one of the most notable freshman State Senators on the centrist side of the notorious moderate/conservative split in the State GOP, where he frequently reached across party lines to work with Democratic leaders and first-term Democratic Governor Kathleen Sebelius. It was due to this status that in 2006, the state Democratic Party and Governor Sebelius reached out to Raleigh Welles to join his frequent ally Mark Parkinson in not only switching his party affiliation but running on the Democratic Ticket for the position of State Treasurer. Although hesitant at first, his strong personal friendship with Sebelius and Parkinson and his dismay over the increasing conservative direction of the national GOP convinced him to do so, and in a campaign in which he emphasized his independence from ideological extremes and his unconventional background in building blue collar businesses into thriving enterprises, he managed to narrowly win in a tough battle with just 50.7% of the vote. In the 2008 Democratic Presidential Primaries, like Governor Sebelius he endorsed Barack Obama for the nomination and served as a Kansas Co-Chair of the Obama campaign, stating that he felt Obama would be the best candidate to bridge partisan gaps. Although known for his moderate and largely non-partisan approach to his job as Treasurer, this endorsement would end up becoming his undoing as he lost re-election in 2010 during the Republican “Tea Party wave” with earning just 48.6% of the vote. Shortly after leaving office, President Obama appointed Raleigh Welles to the Surface Transportation Board within the Department of Transportation for which he was confirmed by the US Senate, serving from 2011 through 2014 when he stepped down after being recruited by the Kansas Democratic Party to make a longshot run at Senator Pat Roberts. Although the 2014 election cycle was not kind to Democrats nationally, Roberts was not particularly well-liked in the state and the state’s GOP as a whole was suffering from Governor Sam Brownback’s poor approval ratings, and Welles was seen as a strong potential candidate primarily because of his close loss for re-election in 2010 and his personal wealth allowing greater ability to self-fund in the aftermath of the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling. Running as something of a populist-centrist, supporting large increases to federal infrastructure spending, rural broadband expansions, greater financial regulation, lowering taxes for the lower and middle classes, expansion of charter schools, and taking a more critical look at free trade agreements.He also broke strongly from the Democratic orthodoxy with his pro-life views on abortion, his strong opposition to federal firearms regulation, his criticism of the Affordable Care Act as “well meaning but poorly executed”, his criticism of the Obama Administration’s “overreach” on environmental regulations, and his more hawkish views on foreign and military policy. To the shock of many on election day, while the Democrats faced losses across the country, Welles surprisingly came out ahead with a slim plurality to become the first Democratic Senator of Kansas since 1939. Raleigh Welles is a Baptist, and has a deep passion for music, particularly jazz and “roots” music. He has been a lifelong fan of auto racing, including being an early investor into the construction of the Kansas Speedway in the early 21st century and having purchased the Heartland Park Topeka motorsports complex in 2003, actively improving it until 2007 when his ownership was transferred into a blind trust until selling the facility in 2011 ahead of being nominated to the Surface Transportation Board.
  2. Everybody loves talking about their favorite music and be able to share your interests with other people. Feel free to utilize this whenever you feel the need, however try to videos relatively kosher if possible.
  3. Ben

    Leave of Absence

    I got the date wrong on this one, my concert is actually tonight and wasn't last night, so adjust accordingly. Also, probably limited activity over the weekend, I'll be out of town with family for the Super Bowl but I'll check in when I can.
  4. SIG Appeal to Defense Contracting Industry -With the current turmoil in the Asia adding yet another wrinkle to a Soviet-destabilized world stage, the preeminent military manufacturing capabilities of the United States will remain a vital resource as we begin the 1990s for the Kaine Administration -As the budget process begins, Vice President Saroyan will be the loudest vocal opponent against Democratic attempts to slash the Defense Budget as a former Assistant Secretary of Defense and longtime fixture in the US National Security infrastructure. -With the US Senate finally confirming Secretary of State Percy, the Kaine-Saroyan Administration can finally sail at full pace towards our diplomatic gameplan for the first term, and an unrivaled aspect of building allies throughout the world is the balanced sharing of technology, equipment, and information to those with a Defense infrastructure that cannot complete with that in US through our unique cooperation of private and public entities towards the common good. -With an increasingly radicalized ruling left-wing in the modern Democratic Party, and and a 50-50 partisan deadlock in the Senate, the Constitutional powers of the Vice Presidency held by Abe Saroyan as the President of the Senate with a tie breaking mandate have never been more important in fighting back against Congressional doves who push their peacenik agenda and obstruction of the national security infrastructure through soundbites about fiscal security and oversight.
  5. Ben

    Daily Briefing

    Meant for quick updates, regular responses to Congressional activity by the White House, and other such matters. Delivered by Press Secretary Rollins F. Culpepper.
  6. Ben

    AS '89 Appeal

    SIG Appeal to Trial Lawyers -With his law degree from Colombia, experience clerking for former Associate Justice Hugo Black, and decades of experience and knowledge working within various levels of the federal government in Washington, Vice President Saroyan has already been heavily utilized by President Kaine as a valuable asset in the process of vetting and scouting for the upcoming appointment to the United States Supreme Court to replace Justice Powell and will continue to be in the weeks to come as they try to strike a delicate ideological balance with a Senate majority granted only because of Saroyan's Constitutional tie breaking vote. -The Kaine Administration has put increased focus on cracking down on the manufacture and sale of illegal narcotics, and pushing the emphasis in prosecution away from the low-level users and towards the kingpins, distributors, and capos who profit from human misery. -With the increased turmoil in China, the Kaine Administration is actively considering available avenues towards reforming and potentially streamlining the political refugee/asylum process with the strong likelihood of an increased demand coming from the most populous country in the world falling into chaos. The President has personally asked Vice President Saroyan to lead these efforts on behalf of the White House, which will likely involve the consultation of many within the broad field of immigration law both private sector and public in trying to find the right balance and approach to handling the influx as well as longterm reforms and fixes to improve the system as we stand just a decade away from a new millennium.
  7. Ben

    AS '89 Appeal

    SIG Appeal to Developers/Construction Industry -Vice President Saroyan has been the White House's primary point man in talks on several bills being crafted in conjunction with the Congressional Western Caucus, most notably a proposal with Congressman William Ferris to not only reauthorize and make permanent the the federal Payments-in-Lieu-of-Taxes, or PILT, policy but to expand its scope which is often vital to local infrastructure budgets, as well as the idea allowing states the power to veto newly imposed federal wildlife protection status within their territories on land in which they own at least 25%, -The Administration's Capital Gains Tax Allowance proposal is a policy which would greatly benefit those in businesses which are largely based around local/state/federal government contracts and/or commissions which can lead to a lack of steady income security directly tied to the strength of the market. If this legislation becomes law, it would allow for greater financial planning in regards to profits from investments thanks to valuable peace of mind come tax day in regards to the first $35k of profit.
  8. Ben

    Supreme Court Judges Talk

    Secretary Margeret Heckler Pros: Moderate Rockefeller Republican, offsets her pro-life leaning views with more liberal views on health care, entitlements and race Incredibly diverse background: Congresswoman, HHS Secretary, US Ambassador to Ireland Former Law Journal Editor Fairly well liked by the African-American community Early advocate for AIDS research Considered by Nixon for SCOTUS appointment Cons: Never served on the Bench on any level Somewhat messy public divorce Disliked by some in Reagan's cabinet, seemed to be forced into a "downgrade" into Ambassador role by the then-CoS
  9. Ben

    Supreme Court Judges Talk

    Sylvia Bacon Aye Prominent female jurist, considered by both Nixon and Reagan Almost two decades on the DC Superior Court Bench Over a decade spent in Justice Department in both Democratic and Republican Administrations Nay TBA
  10. Ben

    Supreme Court Judges Talk

    William Walter Wilkins Pros: Younger than most with qualifying background From the South, not a DC insider type Cons: TBA
  11. Ben

    Leave of Absence

    will be LOA Saturday the 26th and Sunday the 27th because of one of my favorite sporting events of the year, and on Wednesday the 30th I will be LOA because of a concert. In the former I'll be reachable on TG if really needed to break a tie or something within my actual duties, in the latter my phone will be off for most of the day. So if you need me for something else hit me up today, Monday, or Tuesday. I'll be back to the normal degree by Thursday evening.
  12. Ben

    Energy Policy

    Might be worth looking into
  13. Need me to break a tie, ask me here.
  14. IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE UNITED STATES Q1, 1989 Mr. Earle introduced the following; with thanks to the President of the United States, Ms. Williams, Mr. Ashcroft, and others A BILL To exempt Ethanol infused fuels from the federal gas tax SECTION 1: Short Name This bill shall be known as the Affordable American Gas Act. SECTION 2: Exempting Ethanol Infused Fuels Through the Revenue Act of 1932, the Internal Revenue Code, and any other legislation relevant, ethanol-infused fuels shall be exempted from the excise tax as outlined in the Revenue Act at the following rate: Ethanol infused fuels at a rate of 3% upon signature by the President Ethanol infused fuels at a rate of 5% by fiscal year 1991 Ethanol infused fuels at a rate of 10% by fiscal year 1995. SECTION 3: Legislation in Direct Conflict Any sections of legislation in direct conflict with this act shall hereby be repealed. SECTION 4: Plain English Summary Permanently exempts ethanol-infused fuels from the federal gas tax at a graduated rate over the next six years.
  15. Signing out this player media multi, just gonna stick with Saroyan
  16. Owner: Jameson John Jesperson Media Name: Within Your Reach Type of Media: Magazine Name: Jameson J. Jasperson Date of Birth: 11/17/1939 Place of Birth: St. Paul, Minnesota Residence: St. Paul, Minnesota Educational History: University of Minnesota, BA in Journalism (1961) University of Michigan, M.A. in Journalism (1964) Professional History: Local/Culture Desk Reporter, Detroit Free Press (1965-1971) Reporter and Cultural Critic, Creem Magazine (1971-1976) Reporter and Cultural Critic, The Village Voice (1976-1979) Political and Local News Editor, City Pages (1979-1984) Local Desk Editor, Twin Cities Pioneer Press (1984-1988) Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Within Your Reach Magazine (1988-Present)
  17. Ben

    Hack Earle (R-OR-5)

    Signing out this House multi.
  18. *note, with permission given by Ollie, this is a House multi under Vice President Saroyan, with this character coming into play once Saroyan is sworn in*
  19. Ben

    Leave of Absence

    LOA for most of Saturday (the 19th) evening and night, going to dinner and a jazz show with a friend so probably won't be available via TG during most of that time.
  20. Ben

    Daily Briefing

    Daily Briefing: Congressional Commentary 1 Domestic Violence Prevention Act of 1989: Assuming the passage of the Marshall Amendment, the President is likely to sign the Domestic Violence Prevention Act into law should it pass both bodies of Congress. The issue of domestic violence is one that is all too common in our society and in many places with far too few resources to effectively handle such situations by our police, prosecutors, and health care professionals and President Kaine believes that this bill would be a solid first step to rectify some of the most egregious gaps in current policy. Drug Importation Reform Act: This is a bill that seems to seek a solution to a problem that doesn't really exist to the detriment of American pharmaceutical innovation that outpaces every nation in the world. Whatever price disparity there is between Canadian and American drug prices is owed to the stifling socialistic health care policies of the former and the burden of innovation put on the American pharmaceutical industry by a Western world eager to benefit while they squash their own domestic research and development through over-regulation and nationalistic trade policies. The President believes the most simple solution to any issue of price disparity is simply putting more money back into the hands of Americans such as the widely supported Tax Cuts for America's Middle Class Act which the Democrats in the House still stubbornly refuse to docket in committee. ERA: President Kaine believes firmly that the increased role of women in the workplace and growing number of dual income households is a sign of both a nation and economy growing and should be encouraged, however the equal rights amendment has not yet become law for a good reason: it's language is too broad when considering future judicial interpretation and application, and encourages parity over the performance-based pay scales by which our business culture in this nation thrives. The most important intentions of this proposed amendment are already well covered by the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, and while not subject to executive approval the President wishes to make clear that he does not support this proposal and urges Congressional opposition. Small Surface Coal Miners Assistance Act: As a vocal advocate of small business, the continued growth of the US energy sector, and blue collar workers President Kaine strongly supports this bill as a genuine homerun for all three groups and strongly supports its passage by Congress and applauds the Senate Republican Caucus for their good work. Affordable American Gas Act: The President is appalled that the Democratic Chair continues to docket in the Ways and Means Committee bills that even with the majority they are unable to gain approval of while still ignoring common sense legislation like the Administration's Affordable American Gas Act which has garnered genuine bipartisan support. The White House still holds hope, however, that as the session continues the Democratic Leadership decides to join with us and Republican Congressional Leadership in putting good policy ahead of partisanship and ideological chicken in the months ahead.
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  22. Ben

    Leave of Absence

    Finally back.

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