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Samuel Dale "Sam" Brownback (born September 12, 1956) is the senior United Statesmarker Senator from the U.S. state of Kansasmarker. During 2007, he was a candidate in the Republican primaries for the 2008 Presidential election. He has announced that he will not seek re-election to the Senate in 2010, and has filed papers to run for Governor of Kansas in the 2010 election.

Personal life

Sam Brownback was born in Parker, Kansasmarker to Nancy and Robert Brownback. He was raised in a farming family in Parker, Kansasmarker; his ancestors settled in Kansas after leaving Pennsylvaniamarker following the Civil War. Brownback was state president of National FFA Organization, and was one of its national vice presidents from 1976 to 1977. While at Kansas State Universitymarker, he was elected student body president and was a member of Alpha Gamma Rho. He received his J.D. from the University of Kansasmarker in 1982.

After college, Brownback spent approximately a year working as a broadcaster; he hosted a weekly half-hour show.

He is married to the former Mary Stauffer, whose family owned and sold a successful media company in 1995. They have five children, including an adopted son and daughter. One of his daughters, Jenna, was adopted from Chinamarker when she was two years old.

Religious views

Brownback told Rolling Stone that he had moved from mainline Protestantism to evangelicalism before his 2002 conversion to Catholicism.

Raised as a Methodist, Brownback later joined a nondenominational evangelical church, Topeka Bible Church, which he still regularly attends, even though in 2002, he converted to Catholicism. He joined the Church through Opus Dei priest Father C. John McCloskey in Washington DC. Brownback himself, however, is not a member of the Opus Dei organization.

Brownback was a cosponsor of the Constitution Restoration Act, which would have limited the power of federal courts to rule on church/state issues. Brownback told Rolling Stone that he chairs the Senate Values Action Team, an off-the-record weekly meeting of representatives from religious conservative organizations.

Early career

Brownback was an attorney in Manhattan, Kansasmarker before becoming the Kansas secretary of agriculture in 1986. In 1990, he was accepted into the White House Fellow program and detailed to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative from 1990 to 1991. Brownback then returned to Kansas to resume his position as secretary of agriculture and remained in that position until 1993. He was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1994, and next ran in the 1996 special election to replace Senator Bob Dole, who had resigned his seat during his presidential campaign, beating appointed Republican Sheila Frahm.

Senate career

Sheila Frahm was appointed to fill the seat of U.S. Senator Bob Dole when Dole resigned in 1996 to campaign for president. Brownback defeated Frahm in the 1996 Republican primary and went on to win the general election against Democrat Jill Docking. In 1998 Brownback was elected to a full six-year term, defeating Democrat Paul Feleciano. He won reelection in the 2004 Senate election with 69% of the vote, defeating his Democratic challenger, Lee Jones, a former Washington, D.C.marker lobbyist.

Brownback is a member of the Judiciary Committee, the Senate Appropriations Committee (where he chaired the Subcommittee on District of Columbiamarker when the Republicans were in the majority), the Joint Economic Committee, and the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission. He is the current Chairman of the Helsinki Commission, which monitors compliance with international agreements reached in cooperation with Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

Brownback has announced that he would not run for reelection in 2010, in accordance with his support of term limits for members of Congress. It has been rumored that Brownback may run for Governor of Kansas in the 2010 elections.

In 2000, Brownback and Congressman Chris Smith led the effort to enact the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA). President Clinton signed the legislation in October 2000. According to Christianity Today, the stronger enforcement increased the number of U.S. federal trafficking cases eightfold in the five years after enactment.

In 2001 Brownback submitted S.1465[107], which authorized Presidential waivers for foreign aid to Pakistan. S.1465[107] passed by a unanimous unrecorded vote of Senators present. The Pakistani Government utilized the U.S. Foreign Aide, when received from the U.S. Government, in an attempt to bribe Mujahideen and Taliban Militants inside that country. Taliban Commanders and Mujahideen Commander Nek Mohammed openly admitted that they intended to use the foreign aid money to repay loans, which they had received from al Qaeda.

As of August 12, 2007, in the 110th Session of Congress, Brownback has missed 123 votes due to campaigning (39.7 percent) — surpassed only by Tim Johnson (D) of South Dakotamarker who due to a critical illness has missed 100% of the votes of the 110th Session, and John McCain (R) of Arizonamarker with 149 votes missed due to campaigning (48.1 percent).

As of 8-31-2009, Brownback has an approval rating of 54 percent, with 36 percent disapproving.

Committee assignments


Health care

Brownback opposes a single payer, government run health care system. He supports increased health insurance portability, an elimination on insurance rejection due to pre-existing medical conditions, a cap on frivolous malpractice lawsuits, the implementation of a electronic medical records system, an emphasis on preventative care, and tax benefits aimed at making health insurance more affordable for the uninsured and targeted to promote universal access. He opposes government funded elective abortions in accordance with the Hyde Amendment. He has been a strong supporter of legislation to establish a national childhood cancer database, and an increase in funding for autism research. Brownback supports negotiating bulk discounts on Medicare drug benefits to reduce prices. In 2007, Senators Brownback and Sherrod Brown (D-OHmarker) sponsored an amendment to the Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act of 2007. The amendment created a prize as an incentive for companies to invest in new drugs and vaccines for neglected tropical diseases. It awards a transferable “Priority Review Voucher” to any company that obtains approval for a treatment for a neglected tropical disease. This provision adds to the market-based incentives available for the development of new medicines for developing world diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis and African sleeping sickness. The prize was initially proposed by Duke Universitymarker faculty Henry Grabowski, Jeffrey Moe, and David Ridley in their 2006 Health Affairs paper: "Developing Drugs for Developing Countries."

Brownback supports a bill that will introduce price transparency to the U.S. health care industry, as well as a bill which would require the disclosure of Medicare payment rate information.

On December 16, 2006, Brownback gave an interview to the Christian Post, stating: "We can get to this goal of eliminating deaths by cancer in 10 years."


Brownback has a voting record tending that has supported higher legal immigration levels and strong refugee protection. Brownback was cosponsor of a 2005 bill of Ted Kennedy and John McCain's which would have created a legal path to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants already present. He has been criticized by Tom Tancredo for his support for Kennedy and McCain's latest immigration reform bill. Brownback responded that politicians "must protect our borders, enforce the law, provide legal means for people to work in the United States, and fix a broken system." On June 26, 2007, Brownback voted in favor of S. 1639, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act. Brownback supports increasing numbers of legal immigrants, building a fence on Mexican border, and the reform bill "if enforced."While he initially supporting giving guest workers a path to citizenship, Brownback eventually voted "Nay" on June 28, 2007. Brownback has said that he supports immigration reform because the Bible says to welcome the stranger.

Tax reform

In December 2005, Brownback advocated using Washington, DC as a "laboratory" for a flat tax. He was rated 100 percent by the US COC, indicating a pro-business voting record. He voted Yes on a Balanced-budget constitutional amendment, has expressed support for a low tax and spend approach, opposes the Death Tax, and was rated 100 percent by CATO, indicating a pro-free trade voting record.He supports two-year limit on welfare benefits.


Brownback posing with U.S. troops in Iraq.
Brownback has stated that he supports a political surge coupled with the military surge of 2007 in Iraqmarker and opposes the Democratic Party's strategy of timed withdrawal:

In May 2007 Brownback stated, "We have not lost war; we can win by pulling together" He voted Yes on authorizing use of military force against Iraq, voted No on requiring on-budget funding for Iraq, not emergency funding and voted No on redeploying troops out of Iraq by July 2007. He has also condemned anti-Muslim bigotry in name of anti-terrorism.

On June 7, 2007, Brownback voted against the Habeas Corpus Restoration Act of 2007 when that bill came up for a vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee, on which Brownback sits. (The bill was passed out of the committee by a vote of 11 to 8.) The bill aims to restore habeas corpus rights revoked by the Military Commissions Act of 2006.


Brownback visited refugee camps in Sudanmarker in 2004 and returned to write a resolution labeling the Darfur conflict as genocide, and has been active on attempting to increase U.S. efforts to resolve the situation short of military intervention. He is an endorser of the Genocide Intervention Network, which called him a "champion of Darfur" in its Darfur scorecard, primarily for his early advocacy of the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act.

Israel and the Palestinians

In October 2007, Brownback announced his support for a plan designed by Benny Elon, chairman of Israelmarker's rightwing nationalist NU - NRP party. Elon's positions include dismantling the Palestinian National Authority and Hamas and refusing a two-state solution. Instead, the West Bankmarker will be annexed by Israel in its entirety. Elon argues that this would complete the 1948 Palestinian exodus begun in the 1948 war. Brownback has stated that he is committed to the cause of the Palestinian people and supports their possession of civil and political rights.

Intelligent design

Brownback has stated that he is a devout believer in a higher power and that this is consistent with his belief in evolution. Brownback favors giving teachers the freedom to use intelligent design to critique evolutionary theory as part of the Teach the Controversy approach:

He has supported the Discovery Institute, hub of the intelligent design movement, and has argued extensively on their behalf during Discovery Institute intelligent design campaigns such as the Santorum Amendment, Teach the Controversy, and the denial of tenure to Institute Fellow and design proponent Guillermo Gonzalez.


In accordance with his Catholic faith, Brownback is Pro-Life in all cases except when the life of the mother is in danger. He has a 100 percent Pro-Life voting record according to the National Right to Life Committee. Brownback also supports parental notification for minors who seek an abortion and opposes Partial Birth Abortion. In the early days of Brownback's political career, Sam while personally pro-life, was politically pro-choice.Brownback has more recently stated, "I see it as the lead moral issue of our day, just like slavery was the lead moral issue 150 years ago." On May 3, 2007, when asked his opinion of repealing Roe v. Wade, Brownback said, "It would be a glorious day of human liberty and freedom."

Brownback also stated he "could support a pro-choice nominee" to the presidency, because "this is a big coalition party." Brownback has stated that he supports a human life amendment or federal legislation ending abortion.

Stem cell research

Brownback supports adult stem cell research and cord blood stem cells. Brownback appeared with three children adopted from in vitro fertilization clinics to coincide with a Senate debate over the Cord Blood Stem Cell Act of 2005 to show his support for the bill and adult stem cell research. The Religious Freedom Coalition refers to children conceived through the adopted in vitro process as "snowflake children." The term, as proponents explain, is an extension of the idea that the embryos are "frozen and unique," and in that way are similar to snowflakes. Brownback supports the use of cord blood stem cell research for research and treatment, instead of embryonic stem cells.

Death penalty

Brownback said in an interview, "I am not a supporter of a death penalty, other than in cases where we cannot protect the society and have other lives at stake." In a speech on the Senate Judiciary Committee, he questioned the current use of the death penalty as potentially incongruent with the notion of a "culture of life", and suggesting for its employment in a more limited fashion. However, he voted YES on making federal death penalty appeals harder and voted NO on maintaining right of habeas corpus in death penalty appeals. These two votes, on the other hand, occurred before his conversion to Catholicism in 2002 — since his conversion, he has echoed Pope John Paul II's remarks against the death penalty.

Other issues

On September 27, 2006, Brownback introduced a bill called the Truth in Video Game Rating Act (S.3935), which would regulate the rating system of computer and video games.

On June 15, 2006, Bush signed into law the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2005 sponsored by Brownback, a former broadcaster himself. The new law stiffens the penalties for each violation of the Act. The Federal Communications Commission will be able to impose fines in the amount of $325,000 for each violation by each station that violates decency standards. The legislation raises the fine by tenfold.

On September 3, 1997, Meredith O'Rourke, an employee of Kansas firm Triad Management Services, was deposed by the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs regarding her activities and observations while providing services for the company relative to fund raising and advertising for Brownback. The deposition claims that Triad circumvented existing campaign finance laws by channeling donations through Triad, and also bypassed the campaign law with Triad running 'issue ads' during Brownback's first campaign for the Senate.

He has said he does not believe there is an inherent right to privacy in the U.S. Constitution. He has, however, expressed disapproval of George W. Bush's assertions on the legality of the NSA wiretapping program. Brownback voted "yes" on maintaining current gun laws: guns sold without trigger locks. He opposes gun control.

Brownback is a lead sponsor of the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act of 2005 and frequently speaks out against the mail-order bride industry.

Brownback introduced into the Senate a resolution (Senate Joint Resolution 4) calling for the United States to apologize for past mistreatment of Native American. He worked with Congressman John Lewis to help win placement of the African American Museum on the National Mallmarker in Washington, D.C.marker.

Brownback is a supporter of a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage and voted against the federal expansion of hate crimes to include sexual orientation. He has taken no position on gay adoption.

Brownback's voting record on civil rights was rated 20 percent by the ACLU. He voted "yes" on ending special funding for minority and women-owned business and "yes" on recommending a Constitutional ban on flag desecration. He opposes quotas in admission to institutions of higher education. He voted "yes" on increasing penalties for drug offenses and voted "yes" on more penalties for gun and drug violations.

Brownback voted "no" on banning chemical weapons. He voted "yes" on reauthorizing the PATRIOT Act and voted "yes" on extending the PATRIOT Act's wiretap provision. In May 2007, Brownback stated that "Iranmarker is the lead sponsor of terrorism around the world." He supports talks and peaceful measures with Iran, but no formal diplomatic relations.

Environmental Record

In 2005, the organization Republicans for Environmental Protection ("REP") gave Brownback a grade of 7 percent for the 107th United States Congress, but in 2006, increased the rating to 26%. Senator Brownback supported an amendment to the Energy Policy Act of 2005, offered by Senator Jeff Bingaman, (D-NMmarker), requiring at least 10 percent of electricity sold by utilities to originate from renewable resources. He has also supported conservation of rare felids & canids. He has voted for increased funding for international conservation of cranes. Brownback has supported oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refugemarker and in the Gulf of Mexicomarker, as a way to reduce dependence on foreign oil. He has promoted the use of renewable energy such as nuclear, wind, solar, and hydroelectric sources to achieve energy independence.

2008 Presidential campaign

On December 4, 2006, Brownback formed an exploratory committee, thus taking the first steps toward candidacy. He announced his Presidential bid as of December 5, 2006 on his website. His expressed views position him in the social conservative wing of the Republican party. He has also stressed his fiscal conservatism. "I am an economic, a fiscal, a social and a compassionate conservative," he said in December 2006.On January 20, 2007, in Topeka, Brownback announced that he was running for President in 2008.

On February 22, 2007, a poll conducted by Rasmussen Reports held that three percent of likely primary voters would support Brownback.

Brownback's close advisors for his presidential bid, as listed by the Washington Post, are David Kensinger, a political consultant who is a former executive director of GOPAC and former Brownback chief of staff, Rob Wasinger, Brownback's chief of staff in 2005, and Paul Wilson, a media consultant with Wilson Grand Communications. Also listed as "playing a key role" was Tom Monaghan, founder of Domino's Pizza. Also mentioned as a member of Brownback's exploratory committee was Bowie Kuhn, former Major League Baseball commissioner, before his death on March 15, 2007. A conservative Catholic, Brownback enjoys support among the religious right, and focuses his campaign towards this element of society. However, a scandal broke in August 2007 when Pastor Tim Rude of Walnut Creek Community Church, working for the Huckabee campaign, attempted to undermine support from Evangelical Christians with anti-Catholic comments. Rude sent an email to two evangelical supporters to emphasize that Huckabee was "one of us." It has been noted that the campus director for student ministries at Walnut Creek Community Church, Nick Bal, was an outspoken supporter of the Brownback campaign.

On August 11, 2007, Brownback finished third in the Ames Iowa straw poll with 15.3 percent of all votes cast. Fundraising and visits to his website declined dramatically after this event, as many supporters had predicted Brownback would do much better, and speculation began that the candidate was considering withdrawing from the campaign. This sentiment increased after his lackluster performance in the GOP presidential debate of September 5, broadcast from New Hampshiremarker by Fox News Channel.

Brownback was endorsed by Frank Pavone, Jack Willke, Alveda King, Stephen McEveety, Jason Jones, Norma McCorvey, Thomas S. Monaghan, Michael W. Smith, Angela Baraquio Grey and Stephen Baldwin. Brownback also won support from fellow Kansas lawmakers Senator Pat Roberts and Rep. Todd Tiahrt.

Brownback had stated that if he came in lower than fourth place in the Iowa Caucuses, he would drop out of the Presidential campaign.

Brownback dropped out of the 2008 presidential race on October 18, 2007, citing a lack of funds. He also commented that he wouldn’t debate immigration in the middle of an election cycle. He formally announced his decision on October 19. He later endorsed John McCain for president.

2010 Gubernatorial campaign

Brownback has announced he will not run for reelection in 2010 due to self-imposed term limits. Early candidates to succeed Brownback include current Republican Representatives Jerry Moran of Haysmarker and Todd Tiahrt of Goddardmarker. Former Democratic Governor Kathleen Sebelius was also thought to be a likely candidate, but talk of her candidacy has died down since she became the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

In 2008, Brownback publicly acknowledged he was considering running for Governor in 2010. In January 2009, Brownback officially filed the paperwork to run for Governor.

Electoral history

: 1994 results
Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct
1994 John Carlin 71,025 34% Sam Brownback 135,725 66%

U.S. Senate elections in Kansas (Class III)]]: Results 1992–2004
Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
1992 349,525 31% Bob Dole * 706,246 63% Christina Campbell-Cline Independent 45,423 4% Kirk Libertarian 25,253 2%
1996 461,344 43% 574,021 54% Donald R. Klaassen Reform 29,351 3%
1998 229,718 32% Sam Brownback 474,639 65% Tom Oyler Libertarian 11,545 2% Alvin Bauman Reform 11,334 2%
2004 Lee Jones 310,337 27% Sam Brownback 780,863 69% Rosile Libertarian 21,842 2% George Cook Reform 15,980 1%

* Dole resigned in 1996; Sheila Frahm was appointed to his former seat until a special election could be held in 1996.
Brownback then defeated Frahm in the Republican primary and won the general to serve out the remainder of Dole's term.


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