Pat Roberts

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For the English footballer, see Patrick Roberts.
Pat Roberts
Pat Roberts official photo.jpg
United States Senator
from Kansas
Assumed office
January 3, 1997
Serving with Jerry Moran
Preceded by Nancy Kassebaum Baker
Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
In office
January 3, 2003 – January 3, 2007
Preceded by Bob Graham
Succeeded by Jay Rockefeller
Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Ethics
In office
January 20 – June 6, 2001
Preceded by Harry Reid
Succeeded by Harry Reid
In office
November 2, 1999 – January 3, 2001
Preceded by Bob Smith
Succeeded by Harry Reid
Chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture
In office
January 3, 1995 – January 3, 1997
Preceded by Kika de la Garza
Succeeded by Robert Freeman Smith
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Kansas's 1st district
In office
January 3, 1981 – January 3, 1997
Preceded by Keith Sebelius
Succeeded by Jerry Moran
Personal details
Born Charles Patrick Roberts
(1936-04-20) April 20, 1936 (age 78)
Topeka, Kansas
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Franki Roberts
Children David Roberts
Ashleigh Roberts
Anne Wesley Roberts
Residence Dodge City, Kansas[1]
Alma mater Kansas State University (B.A.)
Occupation newspaper publisher
Religion Methodist
Military service
Service/branch United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1958–1962
Rank US-O3 insignia.svg Captain
Pat Roberts congressional portrait
Previous official congressional portrait of Pat Roberts

Charles Patrick "Pat" Roberts (born April 20, 1936) is the senior United States Senator from Kansas. A member of the Republican Party, he has served since 1997. He previously served as the Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

Born in Topeka, Kansas, Roberts is a graduate of Kansas State University. He served as a captain in the U.S. Marine Corps and worked as a newspaper reporter before entering politics in the late 1960s. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1980 to succeed 1st District Congressman Keith Sebelius, for whom he had worked. He served eight terms in the House, including one as chairman of the House Agriculture Committee.

Roberts was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1996, and is currently serving his third term. On the Intelligence Committee he was responsible for an investigation into the intelligence failures prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Early life, education, and early political career[edit]

Roberts was born in Topeka, Kansas, the son of Ruth B. (née Patrick) and C. Wesley Roberts.[2] His father served for four months as Chairman of the Republican National Committee under Dwight D. Eisenhower. Roberts's great-grandfather, J.W. Roberts, was the founder of the Oskaloosa Independent, which claims to be the second-oldest newspaper in Kansas.

Roberts graduated in 1954 from high school in Holton, Kansas. He went on to earn a B.A. in Journalism from Kansas State University in 1958, where he became a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. From 1958 to 1962, he served as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, achieving the rank of Captain. Roberts was a reporter and editor for several Arizona newspapers before joining the staff of Republican Kansas Senator Frank Carlson in 1967. In 1969, he became administrative assistant to Kansas's 1st District Congressman Keith Sebelius.

U.S. House of Representatives (1981–1997)[edit]


After Keith Sebelius announced his retirement, Roberts easily won the Republican primary, which was tantamount to election in the heavily Republican 1st District. He was re-elected seven times without serious difficulty, never receiving less than 60 percent of the vote; in 1988, he ran unopposed.

Committee assignments[edit]

Roberts served as the chairman of the House Agriculture Committee from 1995 to 1997.

U.S. Senator (1997–)[edit]


Following the retirement of Senator Nancy Kassebaum, Roberts easily won the Republican primary. In the general election, he defeated Democratic State Treasurer Sally Thompson with 62 percent of the vote, almost certainly helped by the presence of Bob Dole atop the ticket as the Republican presidential candidate. No Democratic candidate opposed Roberts in 2002, allowing him to win re-election to a second term with 82.5% of the vote. Roberts won a third term in 2008, taking 60% of the vote against former Congressman Jim Slattery.

In the 2014 election, he defeated Milton R. Wolf in the primary. Roberts was endorsed by former presidential candidate and Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee.[3]


Despite being the longest-serving member of the Kansas delegation, Roberts spent the first 14 years of his Senate career as Kansas' junior senator, since Sam Brownback had taken office on election day 1996 to finish out Dole's term. However, after Brownback gave up his seat to make a successful run for Governor, Roberts became Kansas' senior senator.

Roberts was a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, chairing the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities. This subcommittee oversaw the military's work in the area of homeland security and the efforts to prevent proliferation of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons.

Roberts's voting record is conservative. Among other issues, he is pro-life, opposes same-sex marriage and supports the Patriot Act, and loosening restrictions on NSA wiretapping.[4]

Roberts opposed President Barack Obama's health reform legislation; he voted against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in December 2009,[5] and he voted against the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.[6]

Roberts voted against the Manchin-Toomey amendment to expand background checks for gun purchases.[7]

Investigation into pre-war intelligence on Iraq

As chairman of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Roberts was responsible for the committee's investigation into the intelligence failures prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The first half of the Senate Report of Pre-war Intelligence on Iraq was released on July 9, 2004. The second half, according to language voted on by the full Committee, consists of five parts including: whether public statements and reports and testimony regarding Iraq by U.S. Government officials made between the Gulf War period and the commencement of Operation Iraqi Freedom were substantiated by intelligence information; the postwar findings about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and weapons programs and links to terrorism and how they compare with prewar assessments; prewar intelligence assessments about postwar Iraq; any intelligence activities relating to Iraq conducted by the Policy Counterterrorism Evaluation Group (PCTEG) and the Office of Special Plans within the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy; and the use by the Intelligence Community of information provided by the Iraqi National Congress (INC).

Environmental record

Roberts worked to secure $15 million for research on carbon sequestration.[8]

Roberts voted to confirm Gale Norton as Secretary of the Interior, to exclude oil and gas smokestacks from mercury regulations, and to reclassify the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a Cabinet department.[9]

Intelligence program

The 2004 Intelligence Authorization Act saw the creation of the Pat Roberts Intelligence Scholars Program. The program links undergraduate and graduate students with US security and intelligence agencies" by providing funding to selected US students entering university, in return for a commitment to join the agency for at least 18 months on graduation.[10] PRISP is a decentralized program which funds students through various intelligence agencies.[11]


In January 2014, Roberts introduced the Opportunities Created At the Local Level Act. The bill would allow states to freely choose without federal interference their own education standards, testing and curricula.[12]

Committee assignments[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Roberts married Franki Fann in 1969. The couple has three adult children: David, Ashleigh, and Anne-Wesley.[13]

Roberts lives in Alexandria, Virginia.[14] The New York Times has reported that the house that Roberts claims as his residence in Dodge City, Kansas is actually owned and occupied by campaign contributors C. Duane and Phyllis Ross.[1]

Electoral history[edit]

United States Senate election in Kansas, 2014

United States Senate election in Kansas, 2008

Pat Roberts (R) (inc.) 60%
Jim Slattery (D) 36%

United States Senate election in Kansas, 2002

Pat Roberts (R) (inc.) 82.5%
Steven Rosile (Lib.) 9.1%
George Cook (Reform) 8.4%

United States Senate election in Kansas, 1996

Pat Roberts (R) 62%
Sally Thompson (D) 34.4%
Mark S. Marney (Reform) 2.3%
Steven Rosile (Lib.) 1.2%

1994 Kansas 1st District United States Congressional Election

Pat Roberts (R) (inc.) 77%
Terry L. Nichols (D) 23%

1986 Kansas 1st District United States Congressional Election

Pat Roberts (R) (inc.) 76.5%
Dale Lyon (D) 23.5%

1980 Kansas 1st District United States Congressional Election

Pat Roberts (R) 62%
Phil Martin (D) 38%


  1. ^ a b Martin, Jonathan (February 7, 2014). "Lacking a House, a Senator Is Renewing His Ties in Kansas". The New York Times. Retrieved February 9, 2014. 
  2. ^ 1
  3. ^ "Huckabee endorses Roberts in Kansas Senate race". KAKE TV. 25 July 2014. Retrieved 5 September 2014. 
  4. ^ "Pat Roberts on the Issues". OnTheIssues. Retrieved December 14, 2009.
  5. ^ "Roll Call Vote". Retrieved August 8, 2014. 
  6. ^ "U.S. Senate: Legislation & Records Home > Votes > Roll Call Vote". Retrieved August 29, 2010. 
  7. ^ "How Senators voted: Expanding gun background checks". USA Today. April 17, 2013. Retrieved September 2, 2014. 
  8. ^ CJ Online | Kansas News | Jim Suber: Roberts's study of carbon sequestration is in search of 'win-win' situation 10/29/00
  9. ^
  10. ^ CounterPunch, June 23, 2009, Son of PRISP: Obama's Classroom Spies
  11. ^ CounterPunch, March 12, 2005, Exposing the Pat Roberts Intelligence Scholars Program: The CIA's Campus Spies
  12. ^ Martin, Aaron. "Roberts measure aims for state educational autonomy". Ripon Advance. 1/31/14. Retrieved 2/7/14.
  13. ^ "Patrick 'Pat' ROBERTS". The Needham Family. Retrieved December 14, 2009.
  14. ^ Martin, Jonathan (September 4, 2014). "National G.O.P. Moves to Take Over Campaign of Kansas Senator". The New York Times. Retrieved September 4, 2014. 

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Keith Sebelius
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Kansas's 1st congressional district

Succeeded by
Jerry Moran
United States Senate
Preceded by
Nancy Landon Kassebaum
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Kansas
Served alongside: Sam Brownback, Jerry Moran
Political offices
Preceded by
Kika de la Garza
Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee
Succeeded by
Robert Freeman Smith
Preceded by
Bob Smith
Chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee
Succeeded by
Harry Reid
Preceded by
Harry Reid
Chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee
Preceded by
Bob Graham
Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee
Succeeded by
Jay Rockefeller
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Ron Wyden
United States Senators by seniority
Succeeded by
Dick Durbin