Brownback has question, answer session at Washburn

Kyle Almond

At approximately 1:30 p.m. Oct. 9, United States Senator Sam Brownback spoke to Washburn faculty and students and interested community members in Stoffer Science Hall. Brownback was introduced at 1:45 p.m. by vice president of academic affairs Robin Bowen and spoke for just more than an hour, the bulk of which was made up of a question and answer session.

At the start of his speech Brownback remarked that he used to be a teacher and that it felt good to be in front of a dry erase board again. He then proceeded to write two words on the board “cancer” and “space.”

Brownback remarked that America needed to “declare war on cancer,” adding that his goal was to eliminate deaths in the United States because of cancer within 10 years.

“We need to say that we’re going to do this,” said Brownback in the question and answer session. “We might not get all of the way there. We might only get 50 percent of the way there. But this is the sort of thing we ought to do.”

The senator showed a sense of humor during the presentation as well. Brownback quipped that cancer is the “leading cause of fear in America and that number two is public speaking. Having done both, I prefer public speaking.”

He also touched on a return to space, but as a cooperative venture between the public and private sectors.

“Space has the power to inspire people to yearn forward, to dream big,” said Brownback.

He mentioned “X-prize” type races to encourage private enterprise to expand into outer space. Brownback also cited the chipped rubber and nitrous oxide fuel used by the winning spacecraft by saying, “They literally burned rubber into space.” He also echoed the pilot’s sentiment that it was a “brown pants flight.”

Questions ranged from foreign policy to the 2008 election, same-sex marriage, research funding for primarily undergraduate universities and childhood cancer treatment.

“If anyone here wants to change the world, you can do it,” said Brownback.