Roberts takes helm of Senate ag committee

by Jay Sjerven
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WASHINGTON — Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas on Jan. 6 assumed the leadership of the Senate Committee on Agriculture Nutrition and Forestry. Mr. Roberts became the first member of Congress to have served as chairman of both the House and Senate agriculture committees. He was chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture from 1995 to 1997. As chairman, he was a principal in drafting the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996, popularly known as the Freedom to Farm Act. At the time, Senator Richard G. Lugar of Indiana was chairman of the Senate agriculture committee.

The Senate agriculture committee for the 114th Congress includes three former committee chairpersons, including Republican Thad Cochran of Mississippi and Democrats Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, the immediate past committee leader, and Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont.

Other Republican members of the Senate agriculture committee include Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Senate majority leader; John Boozman of Arkansas, John Hoeven of North Dakota, David Purdue of Georgia, Joni Ernst of Iowa, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Charles Grassley of Iowa and John Thune of South Dakota.

Other Democrat members of the committee include Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Michael Bennet of Colorado, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Robert P. Casey Jr. of Pennsylvania.
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