Historically Speaking: Senator Pat Roberts

Kathie Bell
Special to the Globe
One of the items donated to Boot Hill Museum from Sen. Pat roberts is this photograph of him with then U.S. President, George W. Bush and Kansas Governor, Kathleen Sebelius to his right.

He had an office here and Dodge City was his official home of record for a time. And he was a friend of agricultural interests in this region.

Charles Patrick "Pat" Roberts was born on April 20, 1936 in Topeka, Kansas into a family of politicians and journalists. His father, C. Wesley Roberts, was the chairman of the Republican National Committee in 1953.

His great-grandfather J.W. Roberts founded Kansas' second oldest newspaper, the "Oskaloosa Independent."

Roberts graduated from Holton High School at Holton north of Topeka in 1954. In 1958, he earned a BA in Journalism from Kansas State. After college he served his country in the U.S. Marines reaching the rank of Captain.

After the Marines in 1962, he moved to Arizona and was a reporter and editor for several local newspapers.

In 1967, he went back to Kansas where he served as an aide for U.S. Senator Frank Carlson. Within a year he began working for Republican Kansas 1st District U.S. Representative Keith Sebelius.

Sebelius later became father-in-law of future Democratic Kansas Governor and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius. In 1969, Roberts married Franki.

They have three children Anne-Wesley Roberts, David Roberts, Ashleigh Roberts.

When Sebelius retired in 1980, Roberts successfully ran for his 1st District Congress seat. This is when Roberts made his official home in the 1st District town of Dodge City, though he didn't own property here and lived primarily in Alexandria, Virginia.

He ran seven more successful campaigns, remaining as Congressman until 1997 when he filled retiring U.S. Senator Republican Nancy Kassebaum's seat.

During his fourth six-year term as U.S. Senator, Roberts announced he would not run for a fifth term. In 2021, Republican Roger Marshall filled his position as Senator.

Pat Roberts is socially and fiscally conservative. He has sponsored and supported legislation that has promoted Kansas agricultural interests, as evidenced by the many awards, trophies, plaques and accolades given to him by farmers and ranchers.

Late in his senate career Roberts bought a house in eastern Kansas. Though he maintained an office here, Dodge City was no longer his official residence.

Senator Roberts has generously donated awards, mementos and photographs from his Washington, DC, Dodge City and Wichita offices to Boot Hill Museum.

The occasion was the aftermath of the May 4, 2007 devastating Greensburg tornado.