Sen. Pat Roberts to retire, leaving significant impact on K-State

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Senator Pat Roberts will serve out the remainder of his term through 2020. He was instrumental in bringing big projects to Northeast Kansas, in Manhattan and Kansas State University.

For the past 18 years, Senator Roberts has worked to bring more facilities like NBAF to K-State. But Roberts’ hopes his work will forever be remembered years after his retirement.

K-State has a special meaning for Senator Pat Roberts. He’s poured his heart and soul into the university and even has a building named for him. Graduating from the university in 1958, the senator has been an advocate for higher education in Kansas.

One of his biggest accomplishments, getting federal money for K-State’s $54 million dollar bio-security research institute.

He’s also credited to help land the National Bio and Agro Defense Facility, or NBAF, in Manhattan.

“It is a personal point of pride to see this construction plant,” said Sen. Roberts. “Eighteen years ago, few people really believed we could do it. But, we did.”

A dream finally coming true before announcing his retirement.

Sen. Roberts wanted to bring the facility to K-State, so researchers could study foreign animals and diseases, that could be transmitted to humans from animals. As well as making sure the food supply in the country is safe.

The facility also plans to benefit everyone in Kansas.

“It’s going to create so many opportunities for jobs,” said Jackie McClaskey, Kansas Secretary of Agriculture. “And additional enterprise for the work around NBAF.”

As he says good bye to his senate seat, the state says thank you for all the work he has done.

“Senator Pat Roberts is someone who I am just thankful for, everyday,” said McClasky. “He has had the opportunity to serve. And for me personally, I thank him for being someone I can look up to for being a mentor, for being a leader. He really does what he says he’s going to do. Does it for the right reasons and he sets an example that we should all want to live by.”

His efforts to protect America from agro-terrorism will have a lasting impact not only at K-State, but across the country.

The senator’s wife is also speaking about his news of retirement.

Franki Roberts was by her husband’s side during his announcement. The two were both emotional as they prepare to say good bye to the senate in 2020. But Franki said although his retirement is sad, they have seven other people they’re waiting to see once he leaves.

“We have seven grandchildren we don’t get to spend a lot of time with because of the schedule,” said Mrs. Roberts. “The senate schedule makes you very busy. You have to be flexible all the time. So we would look forward to spending more time with the children and the grandchildren.”

Franki Roberts also said she knows her husband will not stop working. She said she’s sure he will find something else to do.

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