Opinion Columns & Blogs

Roberts missed most of agriculture committee meetings

One of the selling points for re-electing Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., is the potential that he might become chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee. Such a chairmanship would be valuable to Kansas, especially after Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler, got kicked off the House Agriculture Committee. But federal records show that Roberts hasn’t been diligent in attending agriculture committee meetings in the past. Roberts was present for only 35.5 percent, or 71 of 201, of the committee’s sessions from 2000 to 2014, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported. Roberts also didn’t vote for the latest farm bill or for funding for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility being built in Manhattan. He also passed up a chance to become chairman of the agriculture committee in 2003, choosing instead to lead the Senate Intelligence Committee. That move brought Roberts more prestige in Washington, D.C., the Washington Post reported, but hurt Kansas’ ability to influence farm legislation. – Phillip Brownlee