There was no cake, but there were plenty of doughnuts and New Year’s cookies as farm leaders sang Happy Birthday to Gov. Sam Brownback Saturday at the Kansas State Fair.
“This is the big one for me, it’s 59,” Brownback said, adding, “Does anyone have any advice for me on your cross over to 60?”
“Sixty is the new 40,” Sen. Pat Roberts told Brownback later. “So don’t worry about it.”
The 79-year-old Roberts added, “So my next birthday I will be 60.”
Brownback made a brief appearance at the state fair Saturday, first to address agriculture leaders at the annual Kansas Farm Bureau ag breakfast.
He then toured the 4-H Cenntennial Hall building before making a few final stops before heading back to Topeka for his wife’s book club event.
“I’ve been coming to the state fair since I was 13, 14 years of age,” Brownback said, adding he was pleased with the first two days of high attendance.
Moreover, he said, he heard that the fair’s grandstand acts are making money for the first time in 17 years.
“We’re going to give you the state budget,” he joked to the fair board.
I love the theme this year, fried and joy, I think that really sets the scene,” Brownback said.
Both Roberts and Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Kansas, spoke, as well, Roberts joking he was glad he didn’t have to run to a Senate debate at the fair this year like the one last year with then Senate opponent, Milton Wolf.
“Man, am I glad it was last year,” Roberts said, comparing it to American Pharaoh.
“(He) won the derby, won the Preakness, then everyone was dissing that horse: too old, the linage wasn’t that good ... the race was a little bit longer run. Well, American Pharaoh won by five and a half links, and I won by 11 and covered more ground.”
But in all seriousness, Roberts noted there is a lot going on in Washington, including the Iran nuclear deal, which, he said he fears “spells big trouble for us down the road for national security.
“I’m extremely concerned about it and extremely concerned about national security.”
According to the Associated Press, the accord was aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for billions of dollars in relief from international sanctions. From the start, the agreement faced fierce GOP opposition.
Republicans have countered that the agreement’s inspection regime against Iran, a state sponsor of terrorism, is weak. During debates, leaders have repeatedly recalled how Islamic extremists attacked America on Sept. 11, 2001.
They said the deal will allow Iran to eventually possess a nuclear weapon and that the billions it will receive through sanctions relief will end up in the hands of terrorist groups that Tehran supports.
Roberts said both he and fellow Republican Kansas senator, Jerry Moran, made speeches on the floor about the deal.
“We tend to look at things from rose-colored glasses ... that things can’t happen, that things don’t go bump in the night,” Roberts said “But they do.”