On Thursday, Governor Sam Brownback announced that he will resign from his current position on January 31st. After he resigns, he will be accepting an official position in the Trump administration.
According to the Washington Times, Brownback is looking forward to continuing his public service as the United States Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, a position he was first nominated for in July. The Senate officially confirmed him in this position on Wednesday, according to reports.
Brownback's role within the State Department will focus on promoting religious freedom as a critical part of American foreign policy. The Washington Times writes that he is the first Roman Catholic to ever serve this role.
The governor claims that he is proud to have served Kansas for the majority of his life, and he is thankful for the people of this state for choosing him to serve them for so many years.
“It has been a great honor to serve and represent Kansans for most of my adult life,” Brownback tweeted, according to Fox News. “Thank you for this opportunity to serve, and may God bless our great state and nation.”
“I look forward to continuing in public service as the United States Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, a position for which I was nominated by the president in July and confirmed by the Senate yesterday,” Brownback claimed elsewhere. “Wherever my new duties take me, my Kansas values and experience will always travel with me.”
According to Fox News, Brownback is a prominent social conservative who previously served in the Senate and ran for the Republican nomination for president in 2008. Given his staunch social conservatism, rooted in his Christian faith, Brownback didn't have an easy confirmation process. In fact, Trump first nominated Brownback for this position back in July.
Apparently, Democrats don't want to have a person of Catholic faith and socially conservative views to be appointed to a leadership position that promotes religious liberty abroad during a time where Christians are the most persecuted religious group in the world. The New York Times, for instance, writes that many Democrats and gay rights activists opposed his nomination because he ended legal privileges for gay state workers in 2015.
The president was actually forced to re-nominate Brownback for the position earlier this month. Mike Pence was summoned to the Senate on Wednesday to break a tie in the final vote to confirm Brownback to the position.
To make matters even more difficult, two Republicans who would have probably voted for his nomination — Senator John McCain and Bob Corker — are both currently not in the Senate. John McCain is currently battling cancer and remains out of the Senate, and Bob Corker is at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
The New York Times writes that numerous religious leaders have praised Mr. Brownback's confirmation, and have claimed that he will use his political experience to help religious minorities, particularly oppressed Christians and Yazidi communities throughout the Middle East.
In recent news, 3 are dead and at least 13 are injured in a train derailment this morning.