You don’t say

“I apologize for monopolizing the microphone, but I’m the senior senator, so the hell with it.”

– Sen. Pat Roberts during a Kansas Independent Oil and Gas Association panel discussion in Wichita Monday that included Sen. Jerry Moran and Reps. Mike Pompeo, Tim Huelskamp and Lynn Jenkins

You don’t say

“I get tired of getting my picture taken with hard hats, hair nets and goggles.”

– U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran’s joking response when asked why he wasn’t wearing a hard hat at Bombardier Learjet’s groundbreaking ceremony today

You don’t say

“This economy has given my 96-year-old father something to do. His hobby now is to find out how to get one tenth of 1 percent more interest on a $10,000 CD.”

– Sen. Jerry Moran, speaking at a business roundtable discussion at Newman University today

Artist Central to open for artists to create, show and sell their work

WICHITA — Clifton Square owner Jo Zakas and a group of other artists are opening a new space to create, show and sell art.

Artist Central will be at 5014 E. Central, which is on the north side of Central between Oliver and Edgemoor.

“Primarily it’s an artist’s studio where people can come and work,” Zakas says.

Other artists include Carol Cumberland, Barbara Niewald, Vicki McIlroy and internationally known artist and teacher Jim Gross.

Initially, they’ll have 900 square feet, which has been vacant since U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran had a campaign office there.

Zakas says there’s room to grow to 2,400 square feet.

“We’re looking for some additional artists, too,” she says.

The artists have a particular focus on abstract work, though they’re open to any kind of artists joining them, including photographers.

Art isn’t new to Zakas, who is best known for her Clifton Square retail center near College Hill.

“You know, I’ve been doing art since the ’80s,” she says. “It all started because I needed paintings for my wall, and everything I looked at was $6,000.”

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Brit Hume is the speaker for the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce annual dinner

WICHITA — Two weeks after this November’s elections, the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce is bringing in a speaker to help dissect them.

Broadcaster Brit Hume, who is with Fox News, is the speaker for the chamber’s annual meeting on Nov. 16.

“It’s just a great opportunity for us to hear from someone who lives it every day,” says chamber spokeswoman Barby Jobe.

She says Hume’s talk is likely to focus on what the latest headlines out of Washington mean for business owners here.

“We always strive to find people . . . that maybe the community hasn’t had an opportunity to hear from,” Jobe says.

Will the connection to the often polarizing Fox News keep some people away, though?

“I hope not,” Jobe says. “He’s always been a fair person. I think his experience speaks for itself.”

The chamber also is hosting a July 13 debate with Republican U.S. Reps. Jerry Moran and Todd Tiahrt., who are vying for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by fellow Republican Sam Brownback.

This spring, the chamber canceled a federal issues forum where Moran was going to be the featured speaker after complaints from Tiahrt’s office and some members.

Jobe says the debate isn’t related to the forum or its cancellation.

“This was always on the radar screen to do,” she says. “We feel it’s really important.”

You don’t say

“I’ll be their next Jared.”

Todd Novascone, chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Jerry Moran, on how the thing he misses most in Wichita is QuikTrip

Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce cancels issues forum after calls of complaint

WICHITA — The Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce has canceled a federal issues forum it planned for April 19 in response to complaints from its members and U.S. Rep. Todd Tiahrt’s office.

“We’ve been well communicated with,” says Sam Williams, chamber chairman.

“It’s a political year, and we didn’t probably pay enough attention to the political ramifications.”

The chamber invited U.S. Rep. Jerry Moran to speak at the forum.

Moran and Tiahrt, both Republicans, are running against each other for U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback’s seat.

Williams says the forum is meant to be a nonpolitical gathering to discuss issues in Washington that affect local businesses.

“We thought this was going to be pretty interesting just because of all the health care stuff going on,” Williams says.

With the pressure that everyone is under these days, though, he says, “Things that maybe in the past wouldn’t have been so important just get overblown.”

The forum will be rescheduled, but neither Moran nor Tiahrt will be at it.

“Bottom line?” says Todd Novascone, Moran’s chief of staff. “As of yesterday or the day before, we are disinvited.”

Regarding Tiahrt’s office, Novascone says, “I don’t want to use the word arrogant . . . but I’ve never seen pressure like that. It just kind of really shocked me.”

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You don’t say

“I’m a failed parent. Both daughters are at Kansas State University.”

— U.S. Rep. Jerry Moran, a KU grad, speaking to the Wichita Pachyderm Club today