Pat Roberts

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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
2 November 1999 – January 3, 2001
Preceded by Robert C. 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 F. 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. He led the creation of the Pat Roberts Intelligence Scholars Program in 2004.

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 a captain in the U.S. Marine Corps. 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 faces Milton R. Wolf in the primary.


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.[3]

Roberts opposed President Barack Obama's health reform legislation; he voted against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in December 2009,[4] and he voted against the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.[5]

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).

On November 1, 2005, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid called the Senate into a rare closed session. The move was "an attempt to get around the perceived stalling by Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS). Roberts had promised in July 2004 to investigate the Bush administration's misuse of intelligence before the Iraq War, but to date has not released any findings of such an investigation."[citation needed]

Almost two years after finishing of Phase I investigation, Roberts released the Committee's schedule for completion of Phase II on March 14, 2006,[6] saying, “Today members of the Committee were provided three draft reports of the Phase II inquiry including: postwar findings about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction programs and links to terrorism and how they compare with prewar assessments, the use by the Intelligence Community of information provided by the Iraqi National Congress (INC), and prewar intelligence assessments about postwar Iraq.

“The Committee’s efforts on Phase II must be completed in a timely manner,” Roberts said. “I intend to complete this inquiry within the agreed upon Phase II parameters and turn the Committee’s attention to other pressing national security matters.

“Two of the drafts given to members today are complete or close to completion. The third is still being revised. Members were briefed by Committee staff, in detail, about each draft. Staff continues to work on a draft of the fourth report on public statements. The Committee will receive this draft when it is ready.

“It is my intention to complete work on the drafts presented to members today following the Easter recess. During the recess, staff will receive and incorporate member input where appropriate in order to complete the three drafts. They will begin drafting conclusions for member consideration.

“In order to expedite the declassification process so that the American people can review the information, the drafts of the factual findings of the report will be sent to the Intelligence Community for fact checking and declassification with the understanding that they are not final until approved by the Committee.

“Following the recess, the Committee will engage in a series of closed business meetings to move forward on Phase II which will include Committee approval of factual findings and conclusions.”[citation needed]

On August 3, 2006, Chairman Roberts publicly released the findings of fact and conclusions of the first two of the Phase II reports.

On February 16, 2006, the Committee voted to create a seven member subcommittee to conduct enhanced oversight of the National Security Agency's Terrorist Surveillance Program, instead of a vote called by committee Democrats to investigate the misconduct by administration[citation needed] because the program is claimed by many scholars as breaking the 1978 law of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. A New York Times editorial accused Roberts of "trying to give legal cover to the president's trampling on the law and the Constitution."[7]

Environmental record

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

The nonpartisan League of Conservation Voters has given Roberts a score of zero on environmental issues for 2006.[9] In that year, the senator voted to increase offshore oil drilling,[10] to include provisions for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in the House Budget Amendment,[11] to deny funding for low-income energy assistance[12] and for environmental stewardship,[13] and effectively to exempt Army Corps of Engineers project analyses from independent review.[14][15] 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 — moves widely seen as pro-business and anti-environment.[16]

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.[17] PRISP is a decentralized program which funds students through various intelligence agencies.[18]


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.[19]

Committee assignments[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Roberts married Franki Fann in 1969. The couple has three adult children: David, Ashleigh, and Anne-Wesley.[20]

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 (7 February 2014). "Lacking a House, a Senator Is Renewing His Ties in Kansas". (The New York Times Company). Retrieved 9 February 2014. 
  2. ^ 1
  3. ^ "Pat Roberts on the Issues". OnTheIssues. Retrieved 2009-12-14.
  4. ^ "Roll Call Vote". Retrieved 2014-08-08. 
  5. ^ "U.S. Senate: Legislation & Records Home > Votes > Roll Call Vote". Retrieved 2010-08-29. 
  6. ^ "Chairman Roberts Releases Outline for Intelligence Committee’s Phase II Completion". Pat Roberts's U.S. Senate website. Retrieved 2009-12-14.
  7. ^ "Time for Facts, Not Resolutions". New York Times editorial. 2006-03-17. Retrieved 2009-12-12.
  8. ^ CJ Online | Kansas News | Jim Suber: Roberts's study of carbon sequestration is in search of 'win-win' situation 10/29/00
  9. ^ League of Conservation Voters
  10. ^ Senate roll call votes 218 and 219
  11. ^ Senate roll call vote 74
  12. ^ Senate amendment 2913
  13. ^ Senate amendment 3103
  14. ^ Senate amendment 4682
  15. ^ LCV Scorecard
  16. ^
  17. ^ CounterPunch, 23 June 2009, Son of PRISP: Obama's Classroom Spies
  18. ^ CounterPunch, 12 March 2005, Exposing the Pat Roberts Intelligence Scholars Program: The CIA's Campus Spies
  19. ^ Martin, Aaron. "Roberts measure aims for state educational autonomy". Ripon Advance. 1/31/14. Retrieved 2/7/14.
  20. ^ "Patrick 'Pat' ROBERTS". The Needham Family. Retrieved 2009-12-14.

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 F. Smith
Preceded by
Robert C. 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