Governor Sam Brownback has devoted his life to serving the people of Kansas. A life-long Kansan, he has served his fellow citizens as Kansas Secretary of Agriculture, a U.S. Congressman and Senator, and now as the state’s 46th Governor. He is dedicated to growing the Kansas economy, lifting people out of poverty through welfare reform, ensuring more money gets into K-12 classrooms, and protecting life at its most vulnerable stage. He works tirelessly to make Kansas the best state in America to raise a family and grow a business.
Growing up on a farm near Parker, Kansas, Gov. Brownback learned first-hand about the hard-work, responsibility, and teamwork that farming requires. Today his parents, Robert and Nancy, still work the farm near Parker. Gov. Brownback still treasures his time on the farm, returning home to help his family with the harvest and every day chores.
Gov. Brownback’s passion for public service began when he attended Prairie View High School and was elected state president of the Future Farmers of America and later the national FFA vice-president. His participation in FFA taught him about the value of leadership. After graduating from Prairie View in 1974, Gov. Brownback attended Kansas State University in Manhattan where he served as KSU student body president his senior year. Gov. Brownback also belonged to the Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity. He received his degree in Agricultural Economics in 1978. After working for a year hosting a radio show, Gov. Brownback attended the University of Kansas, School of Law where he served as class president before completing his law degree in 1982.
Gov. Brownback met his wife, Mary Stauffer, while they were both attending the University of Kansas, School of Law. They have now been married for over 30 years. Gov. Brownback calls his wife “the glue that holds our family together.” The Brownbacks live in Topeka and have five children – Abby, Andy, Liz, Mark, and Jenna. After law school, Gov. and Mrs. Brownback moved to Manhattan where Gov. Brownback went to work for a local law firm and Mrs. Brownback commuted to Lawrence to finish her law degree. While in Manhattan, Gov. Brownback also taught agricultural law at Kansas State University and co-authored two books on the subject.
In 1986, two major milestones took place for Gov. Brownback and Mary. Their first child, Abby, was born and Gov. Brownback became Secretary of the Kansas Board of Agriculture, the youngest in state history. The farming industry was struggling in the late 80’s. Gov. Brownback worked to renew the rural heartland by actively engaging in re-opening U.S. beef trade in Asia, expanding market opportunities for agriculture products, and promoting new uses of farm commodities. During his time as Agriculture Secretary, Gov. Brownback served as a White House Fellow in the George H.W. Bush Administration.
In 1994, Gov. Brownback was elected to Congress in the Republican Revolution that brought the first Republican-controlled House of Representatives to Washington since Dwight D. Eisenhower was President. Gov. Brownback was selected by other freshman Congressmen to be the head of the New Federalists, a group focused on producing a smaller federal government and a balanced budget. Two years later Kansans elected Gov. Brownback to the U.S. Senate seat once held by Bob Dole.
In the Senate, Gov. Brownback was an effective advocate for Kansas interests. He served as the top-ranking Republican on the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, which oversees U.S. Department of Agriculture programs as well as agencies responsible for food safety and protection of public health such as the Food and Drug Administration. As a member of the Homeland Security Subcommittee, Gov. Brownback’s top priority was to ensure full support for the National Bio and Agro-Defense facility in Kansas. As part of the team that won this competition for Kansas, Gov. Brownback worked hard to see that Kansas reaped the full benefits of this exciting development. He believed deeply then as he does now that we must defend traditional marriage, confirm judges who will interpret the law and not legislate from the bench, protect and renew our American culture, and defend innocent human life at every stage of development. He pledged he would serve only two full elected terms in the U.S. Senate. In 2010, he honored his pledge and did not seek reelection. Instead, he returned to Kansas and ran for Governor.
As the 46th governor of Kansas, Gov. Brownback is focused on getting the state’s economy growing again and creating jobs through streamlined regulations, controlled spending, and lower taxes. Gov. Brownback believes the only lasting solution to Kansas’ fiscal challenges is sustained economic growth and new job creation. Getting more Kansans working again and businesses growing will lead to increased revenues, less reliance on government, and adequate funding for core state programs and services.
Since taking office, the administration has proposed fiscally responsible budgets, consolidated state agencies, eliminated outdated programs, cut income taxes for working Kansans and small business owners, and enacted laws that protect the sanctity of life. These efforts have resulted in balanced budgets and historic tax reform, allowing hard-working Kansans to keep more of their own money. The state’s economy is growing and more Kansans are working. Governor Brownback and Lieutenant Governor Dr. Jeff Colyer are committed to working with Kansas business and community leaders from across the state as well as current and former state legislators to craft Kansas solutions.
Watch the RGA’s American Comeback feature on Governor Brownback: