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Brownback’s Nomination As Ambassador Advances To U.S. Senate

Susie Fagan
Kansas News Service/File photo
A vote in the U.S. Senate is the next step for Gov. Sam Brownback's nomination to be ambassador for international religious freedom.

A U.S. Senate committee has given the green light for the full chamber to proceed with a vote on Gov. Sam Brownback’s confirmation to an ambassador-at-large position.

Approval by the Senate Foreign Relations Committeefor the position relating to international religious freedom was the first hurdle after President Donald Trump picked Brownback for the role in July.

A spokesperson for the committee said the vote was 11-10 along party lines, with Republican members approving and Democrats opposed.

“I appreciate the work and support of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee and thank them for voting on my nomination favorably,” Brownback said Thursday morning on Twitter.

A spokeswoman for the governor said his office does not know when the full Senate will vote on his confirmation. She said the governor did not have a comment on the development beyond his Twitter post.

If confirmed, Brownback will head the Office of International Religious Freedom within the State Department and Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer will become Kansas governor.

U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, a Kansas Republican, on Thursday praised the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s vote.

“I am pleased the Foreign Relations Committee has approved Sen. Brownback’s nomination,” Roberts said in an email via his spokeswoman, “and I urge my colleagues not to delay his confirmation by the full Senate so he may get to work fighting religious persecution around the world.”

Read Gov. Sam Brownback’s written testimony to the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“Something that is simple and done by millions of Americans every day,” he said, “but that if other people do it in different parts of the world, they risk their lives.”

RELATED: Brownback reflects on legacy in Kansas, sees urgent work ahead as religiousambassador

Asked at the time whether he had any concerns about the Trump administration’s willingness to pursue fair treatment around the world for non-Christians, Brownback said he did not.

“I know they’re interested in the issues of religious liberty and religious freedom,” he said of the Trump administration. “That’s been clearly communicated, and it’s for all faiths.”

The Trump administration has faced legal challenges and allegations of discrimination over a ban on travel from several predominantly Muslim countries.


Celia Llopis-Jepsen is a reporter for the Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KMUW, Kansas Public Radio and KCUR covering health, education and politics. You can reach her on Twitter @Celia_LJ

To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.


Celia Llopis-Jepsen is based in the Kansas News Service’s Topeka newsroom. She writes about how the world is transforming around us, from topsoil loss and invasive species to climate change. He aims to explain why these stories matter to Kansas, and to report on the farmers, ranchers, scientists and other engaged people working to make Kansas more resilient. Email me at celia@kcur.org.