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up on a farm near Parker, Kansas, I saw firsthand that communities in
rural America exhibit the values and work ethic we all appreciate as
Americans. We must act now to preserve the ‘small town’ lifestyles
that have been so vital to our country’s success." -
SLOGAN: "Principled. Conservative. Republican."
OF BIRTH: September 12, 1956
Andy, Elizabeth, Mark, and Jenna
Cats, 2 Dogs, and 1 Fish
CAREER CHOICE: Farmer
BOOK/LAST READ: The Dream Giver
FOOD TO COOK/EAT: Beef
bull riding (once in college)
FITNESS ACTIVITY: Elliptical trainer
HABIT: Being late
MUSIC PURCHASE: Christian artist Michael W. Smith
FACT: It has
been said that Sam "is one of the most sincere people in
Congress, and even those who don't agree with him never doubt his
conviction and appreciate the respectful way he debates even the most
contentious of issues."
Dale Brownback is the senior United States senator from the U.S. state
He is a member of the Judiciary
Committee, the Senate Appropriations Committee, 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 defines himself as a social conservative and cites former Senator
Jesse Helms as a model.
Sam Brownback was born
in Parker, Kansas to Nancy and Robert Brownback. He was raised in a farming
family in Garnett, Kansas; his ancestors settled in Kansas after leaving
Pennsylvania following the Civil War. Brownback was state president of
Future Farmers of America, and eventually went on to become the national
vice president 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.
He was an attorney in
Manhattan, Kansas 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 married Mary
Stauffer, whose family owned and sold a successful media company in 1995,
and they had five children including an adopted son and daughter. He was
elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1994, and next ran
in the 1996 special Senatorial election to replace Bob Dole, who had
resigned his Senate seat during his presidential campaign. In
the general election, he defeated Democrat Jill Docking and was elected to a
full term in the Senate in 1998.
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. Raised as a
Methodist, Brownback later joined a nondenominational evangelical church,
and in 2002 he converted to Catholicism. He joined the Catholic Church
through Opus Dei priest Father C. John McCloskey in Washington DC. Brownback
himself, however, is not a member of the Opus Dei organization He won
re-election in the 2004 Senate election with 69% of the vote, easily
defeating his Democratic challenger, Lee Jones, a former Washington, D.C.
lobbyist. Brownback visited refugee camps in Sudan 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
According to an
Associated Press report by reporter Laurie Kellman, 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 cells for research and treatment, instead of embryonic stem
cells and was one of the sponsors of the bill in the Senate.
cosponsor of a 2005 bill of Kennedy and John McCain's which would secure
borders and give amnesty to illegal immigrants already present. He has been
criticized by Tom Tancredo for his support for Kennedy and McCain's latest
immigration reform bill. Tancredo called him "an extreme opponent of
getting tough on illegal immigration." 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
Bush-Kennedy Immigration Amnesty Act of 2007 (officially "A bill to
provide for comprehensive immigration reform and for other purposes.").
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, which violates decency standards. The legislation raises the fine
by tenfold. 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 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." 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, which aims to restore habeas corpus rights
revoked by the Military Commissions Act of 2006, was passed out of the
committee by a vote of 11 to 8.
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.
He has been closely allied to 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. 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. 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
into the Senate a resolution (Senate Joint Resolution 37) calling for the
United States to apologize for past mistreatment of Native Americans.
Brownback worked with Congressman John Lewis to help win placement of the
African American Museum on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Brownback
also supports a bill that would 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 Brownback
is a lead sponsor of the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act of
2005 and by frequently speaks out against the mail-order bride industry.
organization Republicans for Environmental Protection gave Brownback a grade
of 29 percent for the 109th United States Congress, during which he cast
what REP qualified as pro-environment votes on two of seven critical issues.
REP criticized Brownback for supporting oil drilling in the Arctic National
Wildlife Refuge and in “sensitive marine waters” in the eastern Gulf of
Mexico, as well as for opposing measures designed to increase “efficiency
and renewable-resource programs to improve energy security, lower costs, and
reduce energy related environmental impacts.”
I have long
championed both lower taxes and reform of the existing tax system,
and recently signed the Americans for Tax Reform pledge to oppose
all tax increases. Much of our recent economic prosperity is
directly attributable to the lower taxes enacted by recent
Congresses. I believe America’s tax code is overly complex and
burdensome. Americans spend roughly $157 billion each year in tax
preparation, to ensure they do not run afoul of the Internal Revenue
Service. The system is desperately in need of reform. I support a
flat tax concept that simplifies tax preparation, applies a low tax
rate to all Americans, and respects the special financial burden
carried by American families raising children.
Social Security System is facing a demographic crisis that will
someday affect the financial viability of the Social Security Trust
Fund. Projections for the financial solvency of the Trust Fund show
that as baby boomers begin to enter retirement there will be an
increase in the number of people drawing social security benefits, and
yet a corresponding decrease in the number of working people who
provide those benefits. Clearly, this will present a crisis within the
system. We must firmly resolve to keep our commitment to current
retirees and those preparing to retire. Further, we must modernize the
system to ensure that Social Security is financially sound for our
children. I believe every American has a stake in this debate, and I
will continue to keep the dialogue open as we work toward a solution.
Due to years of
neglect and short-sighted domestic policies, America is on the verge
of an energy crisis. Our supply of energy has not kept pace with our
demand. Today our nation produces 39% less oil than we did in 1970.
This leaves us dependent on foreign suppliers, who often do not have
America’s best interests at heart. This Congress, I co-sponsored the
Dependence Reduction through Innovation in Vehicles and Energy (DRIVE)
Act. This bill aims to reduce our oil consumption by 2.5 million
barrels per day in ten years by taking an innovative, market-based
approach that relies on advanced technology and an expansion of
renewable fuels. I will continue to fight for energy independence.
I believe that
our society’s strength lies in its most fundamental building block,
the family unit. Family begins with marriage. We must defend the
institution of marriage by defending the definition of marriage. The
right to marry is not the right to redefine marriage. Marriage is the
union of one man and one woman. How
we define marriage is vitally important because of the message it
sends to the culture—to the young, and to the next generation of
citizens. Make no mistake, a society that undermines marriage and the
family is undermining itself, and a government that attempts to
supplant rather than to support the family and marriage is bent on its
own destruction. We
must recognize that it is our families, built upon the institution of
marriage, that are the fundamental and essential centers of commitment
and care that have the real power to transform our society.
belief in the value of human life is what inspired my concern over the
international genocides taking place in regions like Darfur. I
traveled to Darfur and Rwanda in early 2006 to see firsthand the
tragedies that have taken place there. The suffering was unlike any I
have ever seen. I believe that we must show compassion to these
people. America is a great nation, and we have a role to play in
protecting innocent life at home and abroad.
United Nations continues to be the subject of great controversy. The
U.N. has been instrumental in resolving a number of international
disputes, and its work should not go unnoticed. However, it too often
couples lofty ideals with poor execution. As such, reforming the U.N.
must remain a priority. In the 104th Congress I supported the National
Security Revitalization Act, which prohibited U.S. military forces
from being placed under U.N. command and control in most situations.
Further, it provided for the U.S. to be reimbursed for participation
in U.N. peacekeeping operations. I believe we should reduce the size
of the U.N., and that the U.S. should bear less of the
organization’s financial burden. I have long supported - and will
continue to support - efforts to condition our country’s U.N. dues
on substantive U.N. reform.
We must clean up
America’s culture, beginning in every home. A new callousness can be
seen on our television sets and movie theaters, in video games and on
magazine racks. While parents remain the first line of defense in the
fight to protect our children from inappropriate media content, some
of the responsibility for this effort also rests with the producers
and distributors of modern media. With this in mind, I introduced the
Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2006 and was pleased to see the
President sign it into law. The Act increased fines on broadcast
networks that air obscene and indecent material during the hours
children are most likely to be watching. Shielding our children from
the violence, obscenity, and indecency in today’s media continues to
be one of my top priorities. I have also introduced a bill that would
promote greater accuracy and transparency in the rating of video
games. Accurately educating parents about the content of the media
they bring into their homes is a key part of this process.
In addition to these threats, I
remain concerned about the proliferation of pornography in our
culture. I held a hearing in 2006 where we examined the detrimental
effect pornography has on children and families. I will continue the
fight to protect families from a variety of cultural threats.
Over 140 years
ago, President Abraham Lincoln signed into law the Homestead Act,
landmark legislation that helped populate rural areas in the Great
proud to be an original cosponsor of a bill that presents the same
opportunity today for those willing to make a 5-year commitment to
live and work in rural America. The New Homestead Act would help pay
back college loans, provide a $5,000 tax credit for first-time home
buyers and pump much needed capital into our Main Streets in rural
communities across America. This
country has faced chronic out-migration before. In the 1970s,
metropolitan urban cores across America were suffering from
out-migration similar to what we are seeing today in rural America.
Tax incentives were put in place to enhance economic development and
it revitalized our nation’s urban cores. It worked back in the 1970s
for the urban core and it can work again today for rural America. We
are simply looking to do for rural America what we have already done
for the urban core of America.
my recent trip to Iraq, I am even more convinced that the situation
there is precarious, but hopeful. I see hope in the Iraqi people. I
believe this hope will be the foundation of a new Iraqi society. Much
remains to be done, and I think we need a plan to turn this country
over to its citizens. I will continue to work with the leaders in our
country, as well as leaders in Iraq, to find a solution that protects
the future of Iraq, and the pride and dignity of its citizens.
must stand firmly alongside Israel in the fight against Islamic
extremism. Every day, Israel is on the front lines of this war, facing
enemies such as Hamas, Hezbollah, and their patron states, Syria and
Iran. As our only democratic ally in the Middle East, Israel serves as
a beacon of freedom and hope in an otherwise troubled region.
Throughout my career in the Senate, I have worked hard to develop the
friendship between the United States and Israel, including sponsoring
legislation that would declare Jerusalem the undivided capital of
Israel. In 2004, I traveled to Israel and spoke before the Knesset
about my life-long admiration for the Jewish State.
During my time
as Secretary of Agriculture in Kansas, I saw firsthand the issues
faced by today’s farmers. Clean air and water continue to be of top
importance, as are the costs of fertilizer and other supplies. America
must support the efforts of the agriculture industry, so that it can
continue to supply a safe and economical food supply. I believe in
agriculture innovation and remain committed to efforts that will help
enable farmers to embrace the production of biofuels such as ethanol.
I will continue to support America’s agriculture industry by
bolstering rural communities and the efforts of America’s farmers.
role of a judge is to interpret the law, not to create it. Too many
judges fail to remember the importance of this distinction. In recent
years, activist judges around the country have been sidestepping state
legislatures and the will of the voters, nullifying laws based not on
the Constitution, but rather their own political agenda. The Senate
must act to help prevent more activists from taking the bench.
Government functions best when it is most accountable to the people.
That is why I believe laws should be made by elected officials, and
not by the federal judiciary. I will continue to support judges who
adopt this philosophy.
At the heart of
the Bill of Rights is the Second Amendment. This Amendment guarantees
an individual the right to keep and bear arms, which is essential, as
the Amendment itself affirms, to “the security of a free state.”
Restrictive gun control laws aimed at weakening this constitutional
right are not the answer. Instead, it is important for the government
to enforce criminal gun laws already on the books, for communities to
stand against gun violence, and for parents to teach children about
an integral part of our society, is today being eradicated from nearly
every aspect of public life. The First Amendment protects the freedom
to practice the religion of one’s choice. That freedom is under
attack by groups like the American Civil Liberties Union, who profit
financially from lawsuits brought against cities and towns that
display religious symbols. The ACLU and others have collected hundreds
of thousands of dollars in legal fees from suits brought against local
cities and towns. Now they are using those victories to threaten other
local jurisdictions. I introduced the Public Expression of Religion
Act last year to prevent groups like the ACLU from collecting
attorneys’ fees in religious freedom cases. Our country was founded
on the idea that its citizens should be free to express their
religious beliefs without government interference. I will continue the
fight to protect that freedom.
Life is worthy of respect and protection from the moment of
conception. I fear that our society has forgotten the value of human
life. I believe every life has intrinsic meaning and purpose, and that
the termination of life is taken too lightly in our country today.
Abortion ends a human life. It destroys an individual who could have
lived and participated in our society. Already, it has eliminated
tens of millions of children. I believe we should strive to fully
embrace a culture of life through our national politics. I will
continue to fight to protect life at every stage. I hope that one day
America will remember the value we once placed on human life.
we ignore poorly performing schools, we also ignore every student in
those schools, thereby allowing an achievement gap to persist. It is
imperative that we close the achievement gap and provide our
nation’s students with a productive learning environment that
challenges and encourages intellectual stimulation. I believe that
providing for choice in education is beneficial to student
achievement. For years now, we have seen studies that prove school
choice programs, such as the new Opportunity Scholarships recently
implemented in the District of Columbia, have a drastic and positive
impact on students—especially minority students. By supporting such
initiatives, we will be ensuring that more students have access to a
high quality education, which means that they will have a better
chance of success in not only reaching college, but flourishing in
system will thrive with increased consumer choice, consumer control
and real competition. I believe it is important that we have price
transparency within our health care system. This offers consumers, who
are either enrolled in high deductible health plans or who pay
out-of-pocket, the ability to shop around for the best prices and plan
for health care expenditures. Also, the existing health insurance
market forces consumers to pay for extra benefits in their premiums,
such as aromatherapy and acupuncture, which tends to increase the cost
of coverage. Instead, consumers should be able to choose the from
health care coverage plans that are tailored to fit their families'
needs and values. Accordingly, individuals should be allowed to
purchase health insurance across state lines. Finally, I believe that
consumers should have control over the use of their personal health
records. I have a proposal that would offer consumers a means to
create a lifetime electronic medical record, while, at the same time,
ensuring that the privacy of their personal health information is
secured and protected.
Over time, the socialized medicine
model has shown to deprive consumers of access to life-saving
treatments and is downright inconsistent with the spirit of the
American people to be free from unwanted government intervention. I
will continue to work at the forefront to create a consumer-centered,
not government-centered, healthcare model that offer both affordable
coverage choices and put the consumer in the driver's seat.
is Senator Brownback's top priority and
immediate concern. Senator
Brownback has voted to:
- Double number of border
patrol agents over next five years;
- Increase detention space in
order to end "catch-and-release";
- Build 700 miles fencing and
350 miles vehicle barriers along Southern border;
- Fund 370 miles triple-layered
fencing and 461 miles vehicle barriers along nation's southwest
- Deploy cutting-edge
technology including cameras, sensors, and Unmanned Aerial
Vehicles to patrol the border for illegal crossers;
- Implement tough, smart
security strategy to gain operational control of border;
- Double number of interior
enforcement investigators over next 5 years;
- Increase cooperation with
state and local authorities to enforce immigration laws;
- Implement Electronic
Employment Verification System that holds employers accountable
for knowingly hiring unauthorized workers;
- Prohibit employers convicted
of knowingly hiring illegal immigrants from being eligible to
receive government contracts; and
- Allow Department of Homeland
Security and Social Security Administration to share information
helpful to law enforcement investigations against illegal
must enable all law enforcement to identify and quickly remove
criminal illegal aliens. A secure, fraud-resistant ID must be the
foundation of a robust worksite enforcement system that requires every
new employee to be screened for valid work authorization. In addition,
interior and worksite enforcement are essential for homeland security
and national security.
SAM BROWNBACK QUOTES
of the primary jobs of the United States government is to ensure the safety
of the American people. In order to do so, we must secure our borders."
commoditization of the human person through pornography is a scourge upon
our civilization and one of the most insidious threats to the stability of
"I am pro-life
and I'm whole life. And one of the things I'm the proudest about our party
is that we've stood for life. We've been a party that has stood for a
culture of life, and it was in our platform in 1980 and it continues today.
And with that respect, that's why I don't think we can nominate somebody
that's not pro-life in this party because it is at our core."
is a great nation, and we have a role to play in protecting innocent life at
home and abroad."
must defend the institution of marriage by defending the definition of
marriage. The right to marry is not the right to redefine marriage.
Marriage is the union of one man and one woman. How
we define marriage is vitally important because of the message it
sends to the culture—to the young, and to the next generation of
to years of neglect and short-sighted domestic policies, America is on the
verge of an energy crisis."
"There must be
bipartisan agreement for our military commitment on Iraq.
We cannot fight a war with the support of only one political party. And it
does mean that the parties in Iraq — Sunni, Shi’a and Kurds — must get
to a political agreement, to a political equilibrium. I think most people
agree that a cut and run strategy does not serve our interest at all, nor
those of the world, nor those of the region, nor those of the Iraqi people.
So I invite my colleagues, all around, particularly on the other side of the
aisle, to indicate what level of commitment they can support."
We thank the following resources:
Sam Brownback Official Website
Project Vote Smart
On the Issues