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Samuel (Sam) Brownback is Governor of Kansas, a former Republican senator from Kansas (1996-2010), and a former presidential candidate known for his conservative and religious views. He was also a US representative for Kansas’s second congressional district during 1995-96. He grew up in the United Methodist church, was drawn to evangelicalism in the mid-1990s, and converted to Catholicism in 2002. In December 2006 he began a campaign for the Republican nomination for president but dropped out in October 2007, citing lack of funds, and later endorsed John McCain. Brownback is strongly pro-life, opposes abortion in all circumstances and argues for research that uses alternatives to embryonic stem cells; since 2002 he has supported restricting the death penalty in all but extreme cases. He also supports federal and state tax reform (including an optional flat tax) and traditional marriage. Brownback holds a JD from the University of Kansas.