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Biography Sam Brownback

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Sam Brownback Sam Brownback
Sam Brownback
The 46th and current Governor of Kansas since 2011.


Sam Brownback Biography



Samuel Dale "Sam" Brownback (born September 12, 1956) is the 46th and current Governor of Kansas. A member of the Republican Party, he served as a U.S. Senator from Kansas from 1996 to 2011, and as a U.S. Representative for Kansas's 2nd congressional district from 1995 to 1996. As a Senator, he was featured in the documentary series How Democracy Works Now: Twelve Stories. He was an unsuccessful candidate for the Republican nomination in the 2008 presidential election, withdrawing before the primaries.


Early life

Sam Brownback was born in Garnett, Kansas to Nancy and Robert Brownback. He was raised in a farming family in Parker, Kansas; his ancestors, of German descent, settled in Kansas after leaving Pennsylvania following the Civil War. Brownback was state president of the Kansas FFA Association, and was one of the national vice presidents of the National FFA Organization from 1976 to 1977. While at Kansas State University, he was elected student body president and was a member of Alpha Gamma Rho. He received his J.D. from the University of Kansas in 1982.  After college, Brownback spent approximately a year working as a broadcaster; he hosted a weekly half-hour show.


Early career

Samuel Brownback was an attorney in Manhattan, Kansasbefore 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.


Political career


U.S. Senate

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. lobbyist. Brownback has announced that he would not run for reelection in 2010, in accordance with his support of term limits for members of Congress. On April 1, 2010, news sources reported that Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a Washington, D.C.-based watchdog organization, had urged an ethics investigation into a possible violation of the Senate's gifts rule by senators lodging in a townhome owned by C Street Center, Inc., in turn owned by Christian-advocacy group The Fellowship. According to the report, Brownback, three additional senators, and four U.S. representatives were staying in the townhome. CREW alleged that the property, rented out for $950 a month per person, was being let out well under the rate of similar lodging in the neighborhood, which regularly run from $4,400 to $7,500.


Governor of Kansas

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. Polling agency Rasmussen Reports found that Brownback led his then-likely Democratic opponent by 31 points in May 2010. On June 1, 2010, Brownback announced Kansas state Sen. Jeff Colyer as his running mate. On Nov. 2, 2010, Brownback won the gubernatorial seat, replacing Governor Mark Parkinson, who was sworn in after former Governor Kathleen Sebelius resigned from her position and accepted the appointment to U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services in 2009. In April 2011, Brownback signed two anti-abortion bills for Kansas. One bans abortion after 21 weeks based on the view that fetuses can feel pain at that point. The other requires that a doctor gets a parent's notarized signature for girls under 17 who want an abortion. Brownback eliminated the Kansas Arts Commission in May 2011, making Kansas the first state without an arts agency. Sam Brownback was the only other governor to attend Governor Rick Perry's prayer event in August 2011. In August 2011, Brownback announced he was rejecting a $31.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to set up an insurance exchange as part of the federal health care reform law. In June 2011, Brownback stated he planned on accepting the grant. His office stated the sudden decision to not accept the grant was due to the money not allowing Kansas "sufficient flexibility."



He is married to the former Mary Stauffer, whose family owned and sold a successful media company in 1995. They have five children, Abby, Andy, Elizabeth, Mark, and Jenna; two of their children are adopted. Brownback told Rolling Stone that he had moved from mainline Protestantism to evangelicalism before his 2002 conversion to Catholicism. 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. 




Updated: May 12th, 2011


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