Samuel Dale Brownback (born September 12, 1956) is an American attorney, politician, diplomat and member of the Republican Party who has served as the United States Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom since February 2018.
Brownback previously served as the Secretary of Agriculture of Kansas (1986–93), as the U.S.
Representative for Kansas's 2nd congressional district (1995–96), as a United States Senator from Kansas (1996–2011) and the 46th Governor of Kansas (2011–18).
He also ran for the Republican nomination for President in 2008.
Born in Garnett, Kansas, Brownback grew up on the family farm in Parker, Kansas.
He graduated from Kansas State University with a degree in agricultural economics in 1978 and received a J.D.
from the University of Kansas in 1982.
He worked as an attorney in Manhattan, Kansas, before being appointed Secretary of Agriculture of Kansas in 1986 by Democratic Governor John W.
Brownback ran for Congress in 1994 and defeated Carlin in the general election in a landslide.
He represented Kansas's 2nd congressional district for a single term before running in a 1996 special election for the U.S.
Senate seat previously held by Bob Dole.
He won the special election and was reelected by large margins in 1998 and 2004.
Brownback ran for president in 2008, but withdrew before the primaries began and endorsed eventual Republican nominee John McCain.Brownback declined to run for reelection in 2010, instead running for governor.
He was elected governor of Kansas in 2010 and took office in January 2011.
As governor, Brownback initiated what he called a "red-state experiment"—dramatic cuts in income tax rates intended to bring economic growth.
He signed into law one of the largest income tax cuts in Kansas history.
The tax cuts caused state revenues to fall by hundreds of millions of dollars and created large budget shortfalls.
A major budget deficit led to cuts in areas including education and transportation.
In a repudiation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, in 2013 Brownback turned down a $31.5 million grant from the U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services to set up a public health insurance exchange for Kansas.
Also in 2013, he signed a bill that blocked tax breaks for abortion providers, banned sex-selection abortions and declared that life begins at fertilization.
In the run-up to the 2014 gubernatorial election, over 100 former and current Kansas Republican officials criticized Brownback's leadership and endorsed his Democratic opponent, Paul Davis.
Brownback was narrowly reelected.
In June 2017, the Kansas Legislature rolled back Brownback's tax cuts, overriding Brownback's veto, and enacted tax increases.
Brownback, who had a 66% disapproval rating after the repeal of his signature law, left office as one of the least popular governors in the country.On July 26, 2017, the Trump administration issued a statement that Brownback would be nominated as the new U.S.
Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom.
The nomination was forwarded by committee, on a party line vote, but expired at the end of 2017 in lieu of a Senate confirmation vote by the time of adjournment.
The committee re-sent his nomination to the Senate on January 8, 2018, and he was confirmed two weeks later in a strict party-line vote with Vice President Mike Pence casting the necessary tie-breaking vote to end a filibuster and for his confirmation.
On January 25, Brownback submitted his resignation as governor, effective January 31, and Lieutenant Governor Jeff Colyer was sworn in as governor.
Brownback was sworn in as U.S.
Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom on February 1.