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Roberts Unveils Own Portrait for D.C. Hearing Room
Kansas Ag Connection - 11/19/2020

U.S. Senator Pat Roberts, R-Kan., chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, Wednesday unveiled his official portrait to be displayed in the Committee's hearing room. Roberts has served as Chairman during the 114th, 115th, and 116th Congresses.

"When I assumed the gavel as the Chairman nearly six years ago, I noted that this committee has a long history of caring more about the issues than the ideology. More about the people than the party," said Chairman Roberts. "It is in this spirit of service that I sought to guide our committee's work with three principles in mind."

"The first was that our committee be the platform for America's farmers, ranchers, small businesses, rural communities, school children, and the hungry to raise their concerns. Too often we've heard from constituents that they feel 'ruled' and not 'governed.'

"Second, this committee would conduct thorough and vigorous oversight of the activities of the departments and agencies within our jurisdiction and those that impact our constituents. It is our responsibility to ensure that our government operates efficiently, effectively and in a responsible manner to the taxpayers. That effort has spanned multiple Administrations. And, we have sought to take a bipartisan approach when possible.

"Finally, this committee would conduct its legislative business in an open and transparent way that provides members opportunities to work across the aisle for the betterment of our constituents."

The portrait was commissioned by the Kansas Historical Foundation and the Kansas Historical Society. Artist Stephen Craighead painted the portrait that will be hung among those of other past chairmen of the Senate Agriculture Committee. The portrait unveiling event was organized in accordance with guidance from the Office of the Attending Physician and CDC guidelines.

Roberts is a fourth generation Kansan. He was born in Topeka, graduated from Holton High School, and earned a journalism degree from Kansas State University. For 16 years, he represented the Big First District, including his home of Dodge City, in the U.S. House of Representatives. In 1996, he was elected to the U.S. Senate. Roberts has served on an Ag Committee for 40 years -- since first elected. Roberts is the longest serving member of Congress in the history of the State of Kansas.

As chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, he is the only member of Congress in modern history to serve as Chairman and Ranking Member of both the Senate and House Agriculture Committees. With a record number of 87 votes in favor of the bipartisan 2018 Farm Bill, Senator Roberts also became the first member of Congress to write and pass a Farm Bill in both chambers. He has had a hand in writing eight Farm Bills. Roberts' term as Chairman included efforts to ensure that farmers and ranchers have the tools they need to advance American agriculture. He led fights on barriers to trade and regulations that threatened producers' competitiveness.

In his first hearing as Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman, Roberts said, "This Committee will conduct its legislative business in an open and transparent way that provides our members opportunities to work across the aisle for the betterment of our constituents." He has kept that promise during his tenure as Chairman, operating under regular order. Since then, Roberts has held 83 hearings and business meetings.

A leader in food and biosecurity, Roberts held the first Congressional hearings on these issues. He has helped pass major biosecurity legislation and assisted Kansas State University and other schools in gaining federal research investments, leading to the Biosecurity Research Institute at Kansas State (housed in Pat Roberts Hall). He also led the state's effort to compete for and earn the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF), a new federal laboratory to replace the aging federal plant and animal research facility at Plum Island.

Roberts and his wife Franki have three grown children and seven grandchildren.


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