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Kansas Sen. Roberts retires, touting farm bills

Published: Jan. 4, 2019 at 8:30 AM CST
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The Latest on Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts' future (all times local):

11:45

Republican Sen. Pat Roberts reviewed a congressional career that included eight farms bills and what he described as success in improving national intelligence after the Iraq war as he announced that he won't seek re-election in 2020.

Roberts spoke Friday at Kansas Department of Agriculture campus near Kansas State University, his alma mater, surrounded by supporters and family.

Roberts spent 16 years in the U.S. House and has been in the Senate for 22 years, but faced some pressure to step aside in part because he will be 84 next year. He also faced grueling primary and general election contests in 2014.

On Friday he expressed gratitude for friends and supporters over decades in public life.

"Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would become the longest serving member of congress in this state's history," Roberts said.

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11:30 a.m.

Veteran Republican Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas says he will not seek re-election in 2020, setting up an intense political scramble to replace him.

The 82-year-old senator made the announcement Friday following a decades-long career in Congress.

Roberts faced pressure to step aside in part because he would have been 84 when facing voters. He also faced grueling primary and general election contests in 2014.

Roberts began his Capitol Hill career as an aide in 1967. He won a U.S. House seat representing western Kansas in 1980 and was elected to the Senate in 1996. But his longevity became a liability during his 2014 campaign.

Roberts made the Friday announcement just weeks after helping negotiate the final terms of a massive farm bill. He's chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee.

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11:10 a.m.

Longtime Republican Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas will not seek re-election in 2020, setting up an intense political scramble to replace him.

A person with knowledge of the 82-year-old senator's decision says Roberts will make the announcement Friday. The person declined to be named, saying Roberts wanted to make the announcement himself.

Roberts has spent decades in Congress but faced pressure to step aside in part because he would have been 84 when facing voters. He also faced grueling primary and general election contests in 2014.

Roberts began his Capitol Hill career as an aide in 1967. He won a U.S. House seat representing western Kansas in 1980 and was elected to the Senate in 1996. But his longevity became a liability during his 2014 campaign.

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9 a.m.

Veteran Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas is preparing to announce whether he will seek re-election in 2020.

Roberts scheduled a "special announcement" for Friday morning at the Kansas Department of Agriculture's headquarters in Manhattan. Roberts is chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee and is making the announcement weeks after Congress approved a massive farm bill.

Spokeswoman Stacey Daniels said the senator will announce his plans, declining to say whether he will seek re-election.

Roberts is 82 and is serving his fourth term in the Senate. He began his career on Capitol Hill as an aide in 1967.

His longevity became a political liability during tough primary and general election races in 2014.

(Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

WATCH LIVE as Sen. Pat Roberts announces his retirement, saying he won't seek re-election in 2020. https://bit.ly/2RBhEx6 #kwch12

Posted by KWCH 12 Eyewitness News on Friday, January 4, 2019

 

Governor Jeff Colyer released the following statement regarding the retirement of U.S. Senator Pat Roberts:


"Senator Pat Roberts has spent more than 30 years serving the people of Kansas, and during that time he has been a shining example of statesmanship. The work that he has done for our state, especially in the agricultural sector, is second to none. Throughout his time in office, Kansans have been able to rely on Pat Roberts' expertise, energy, and gravitas. It is essential that our next U.S. Senator bring these same qualities to the job."

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Sen. Moran Statement on Sen. Roberts' Retirement


WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) today issued the following statement regarding Senator Pat Roberts' (R-Kan.) plan to retire from the United States Senate at the end of his term in 2020:

 

"Senator Pat Roberts has had an impressive tenure as a leader in both the House and the Senate, and has served Kansans honorably as chairman of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees, the Senate Intelligence Committee and the Senate Ethics Committee. Pat's leadership, wit and ability to bring individuals on both sides of the aisle together, skills he honed in service to our nation as a U.S. Marine, will be missed in Congress. It's been an honor to work with the senior senator from Kansas on behalf of our state. Thank you, Pat, for your friendship and many years of service."

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Statement from Kansas State University President Richard Myers on Sen. Pat Roberts


"Sen. Pat Roberts has been a great friend to Kansas State University and an advocate of higher education during his many years of service to Kansas as a senator and congressman. He has been a major supporter of agriculture, helping craft legislation to benefit farmers in Kansas and the nation.

 

Pat was integral in bringing the National Bio and Agro-defense Facility to Manhattan. He championed the construction of K-State's Biosecurity Research Institute, which conducts research to protect the country's food supply and fight bioterrorism. This was key to NBAF being located adjacent to K-State, which has become known as the Silicon Valley of biodefense.

 

We thank Pat for his many years of service and for being such a distinguished alumnus of Kansas State University."