Ten Things You Didn't Know About Sen. Sam Brownback
Compiled by the U.S. News library staff
1. A fourth-generation Kansan, Sam Dale Brownback was born Sept. 12, 1956, in Garnett, Kan., and grew up on his family's farm near Parker, Kan.
2. He graduated from Kansas State University in 1979 with a degree in agricultural economics and received a law degree from the University of Kansas in 1982. While at Kansas State, he was elected student body president.
3. Brownback was president of the Kansas Future Farmers of America 197475 and vice president of the national FFA in 19761977.
4. He has worked as an administrator, broadcaster, teacher, and attorney as well as serving as the Kansas secretary of agriculture from 1986 to 1993. He was a White House fellow during George H. W. Bush's administration.
5. Brownback has a reputation as both a leading social conservative and supporter of human rights.
6. He and his wife have five children. His wife, the former Mary Stauffer, comes from a prominent media family. His two youngest children are adoptedone from Guatemala and one from China.
7. While he came to Congress during the Republican revolution of 1994, he refused to sign the Contract With America, claiming it was unclear how elements of the contract would be paid for. In 1995, he joined other Republican freshmen in calling for the elimination of four federal agencies: the Departments of Commerce, Energy, Education, and Housing and Urban Development.
8. In 1995, he had two surgeries to remove a melanoma. He credits that brush with cancer with refocusing his spiritual life. "With the cancer in 1995, I did a lot of internal examination. My conclusion was that if this were to be terminal, at that point in time I would not be satisfied with how I had lived life. I had tried to be a Christian, but I had failed."
9. Prison Fellowship founder and Watergate felon Chuck Colson encouraged Brownback to adopt evangelical parliamentarian William Wilberforce, the 19th-century British crusader against slavery, as a role model. The Economist called Brownback "the Wilberforce Republican."
10. He was raised a Methodist and later belonged to a nondenominational evangelical church before converting to Roman Catholicism in 2002. During his conversion, Rick Santorum, the former senator from Pennsylvania, sponsored him.
Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
1996 Presidential Campaign Press Materials
The New Republic
The Weekly Standard