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Sam Brownback

"Growing 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." - Sam Brownback

Statistics -

CAMPAIGN SLOGAN: "Principled. Conservative. Republican."
FULL NAME: Samuel Dale Brownback
DATE OF BIRTH: September 12, 1956
AGE: 51
SPOUSE: Mary Stauffer
CHILDREN: Abby, Andy, Elizabeth, Mark, and Jenna
PETS: 2 Cats, 2 Dogs, and 1 Fish
RELIGION: Roman Catholic
TALENTS: Auctioneering, bull riding (once in college)
WORST HABIT: Being late
LAST MUSIC PURCHASE: Christian artist Michael W. Smith

QUICK FACTIt 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."


Biography -

Samuel Dale Brownback is the senior United States senator from the U.S. state of Kansas. 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 Accountability Act.

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.

Brownback was 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 limited fashion.

Brownback introduced 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.

The conservative 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.”  



Platform Issues -


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:

The 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.

Human Rights:

My 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.

Reforming the UN:

The 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.

Culture and Values:

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.

New Homestead Act:

Over 140 years ago, President Abraham Lincoln signed into law the Homestead Act, landmark legislation that helped populate rural areas in the Great Plains. I’m 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.


After 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.


America 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.

Judicial Reform:

The 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.

Gun Rights/Second Amendment:

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 gun safety.

Religious Liberty:

Religion, once 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: 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.


When 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 life.


Our healthcare 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.


Border security 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 border;
  • 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 immigrants.

Worksite enforcement is essential. We 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.


Voting Record -

For Brownback's Voting Record on issues such as Abortion, Civil Rights, Environment, Gun Control, Immigration, and more, please see:



"One 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."

"The commoditization of the human person through pornography is a scourge upon our civilization and one of the most insidious threats to the stability of our families."

"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."

"America is a great nation, and we have a role to play in protecting innocent life at home and abroad."

"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."

"Due 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
USA Today
Project Vote Smart
On the Issues


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