J.R. Claeys | Salina's Representative


Rep. Claeys created a Director of Unmanned Aircraft Systems position in KDOT Aviation, and proposed a tax credit for engineers to support development of the industry in Salina.
Rep. Claeys is responsible for a Kansas Highway Patrol recruitment and retention plan that resulted in one of the largest recruiting classes in history at the KHP Training Academy in Salina.
Rep. Claeys led the effort to reform government programs by rooting out waste while looking for more efficient delivery of the programs and services we expect from our state.

Topeka, Kansas — Representative J.R. Claeys (R-Salina) will serve on the 29 member Transportation Vision Task Force created by the Kansas Legislature to make recommendations for the next state transportation program. The current program, T-Works, is reaching the end of the 10-year plan. Claeys represents Salina in the Kansas House of Representatives.

"I'm looking forward to working with my colleagues in the legislature and with industry experts to design a plan that keeps our state transportation system ranked as one of the top in the nation," said Claeys. "This last session we kept the promise of T-Works, so we can look forward to a program that maintains our progress."

Claeys is one of six legislators automatically appointed to the task force based on their positions as committee chairs. Claeys chairs the Transportation & Public Safety Budget Committee in the House, the starting point for Kansas Department of Transportation budgets in the legislative process.


Topeka, Kansas — Representative J.R. Claeys (R-Salina) was elected today as Vice Chairman of the Joint Committee on State Building Construction.

The joint committee, made up of members of both the House and the Senate, approves construction of new buildings and major capital improvement projects across the state, including those at state universities.

"We have a real opportunity in front of us in Salina to create a research facility that will incubate and incentivize premium-wage jobs in aviation and aerospace," said Claeys. "Our assets with a top aviation school, a technical college, a national guard training facility, an Air Force bombing range, a highway patrol training academy and an emergency management facility, give us a tremendous advantage as a community and as a state to compete for these facilities and these jobs."

Claeys is serving his third term in the Kansas House of Representatives. He also serves as the chairman of the House Committee on Transportation & Public Safety Budget, and as a member of the House Appropriations Committee and the Committee on Commerce, Labor & Economic Development.


Salina, Kans. -- Representative J.R. Claeys (R-Salina) was appointed today to the Special Committee on Commerce. The special committee has been tasked with reviewing economic development programs administered by the Kansas Department of Commerce.

Among legislation that will be reviewed by the committee is a bill supported by K-State Polytechnic, the Salina Chamber, the Salina Airport Authority and the Salina Community Economic Development Organization that Claeys introduced last session. The Kansas Aerospace Education Tax Credit cleared the House, but was not reviewed by the Senate.

"These programs are vital to growing premium-wage jobs in our region," said Claeys. "Programs that incentivize workforce development and creating good-paying jobs in Kansas have the effect of giving our kids an opportunity to raise their families here in Kansas, rather than leaving for Texas."


Rep. Claeys speaking at the introduction of Col. Robert Brock

Salina, Kans. -- Today, economic development in Kansas took a huge step forward with the announcement of Colonel Robert Brock as the state's new director of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). As chairman of the House Transportation and Public Safety Budget Committee, I worked with the Secretary of Transportation and our research universities to create this new state-level position. Now we have in place a talented and experienced director who can move the UAS industry forward in Kansas and continue to build on our nationally-recognized UAS programs.

Colonel Brock brings a depth of experience to this position that will allow him to hit the ground running. A Kansas native, he commanded the first Air Force UAS squadron for special operations. His unit, the 3rd Special Operations Squadron, was recognized as the model UAS organization in the Department of Defense. Colonel Brock understands the potential UAS has and he has the experience and talent to direct the growth of the industry in Kansas.


Sec of Commerce, Antonio Soave

Salina, Kans. -- Rep. J.R. Claeys (R-Salina) invited the Secretary of Commerce, Antonio Soave, and the Kansas Department of Transportation Aviation Director, Merrill Atwater, to Salina to discuss the next steps in the development of the unmanned aircraft systems industry in Salina. The visit included stops at the Kansas State University Bulk Solids Innovation Facility and the campus of Kansas State Polytechnic at the Salina Airport.

Salina business leaders involved in the downtown redevelopment project, representatives from the university, city, airport authority and chamber of commerce all participated in a wide ranging discussion on the UAS industry and the steps necessary to grow aviation jobs in Salina.


Kansas UAS Triangle

Salina, Kans. -- Rep. J.R. Claeys this week had a proviso added to the budget that will create the Kansas Unmanned Aircraft Research Triangle between the state's research universities, including Kansas State Polytechnic in Salina.

"The new UAS Research Triangle will offer opportunities for growing industry in the region and right here in Salina," said Claeys. "Combining the strengths of each of our university programs to compete will result in more wins across the state."


Salina, Kans. -- Rep. J.R. Claeys (R-Salina) is proposing a plan to incentivize attending a Kansas college for an aviation engeneering degree or a degree in a field related to the manufacturing of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).

"Growing jobs in Salina requires a skilled workforce," said Claeys. "The high-paying engineering and technical manufacturing jobs in aerospace are coveted across the country, but we have an advantage in Salina."


Salina, Kans. -- Rep. J.R. Claeys (R-Salina) chairs the committee responsible for raises for public safety agency employees over the past year. The Kansas Highway Patrol, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and Corrections officers statewide are receiving, or will receive raises designed to address problems with recruitment and retention in those agencies.

"Anyone in business can tell you that turnover and staff shortages cost more money in the long run," said Claeys. "Over the last two sessions we've improved public safety in Kansas by addressing needs across the state, and at home in Salina."

Salina is home to the Kansas Highway Patrol Training Academy, which just last year had a graduating class of six. The next class may set a record number of graduates at over 40.

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Paid for by Kansans for Claeys, Mark Hassman, Treasurer