Sen. Pat Roberts’ relationship with former Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius soured when she joined the Obama administration, a new book by former K-State president Jon Wefald claims.
In his new book, “The Transformative Years at Kansas State,” Wefald said Roberts was a constant presence in the president’s football stadium suite in the 1990s and 2000s.
“Pat Roberts and I agreed on one main goal in our suite — to win,” Wefald writes. While political figures in both parties were visitors to the suite, Wefald claims, political talk was “shushed” in favor of cheering on the Wildcats.
From 2003 to 2006, Wefald writes, Sebelius and her husband Gary visited the suite. Roberts was once an aide to Kansas Rep. Keith Sebelius, Gary’s father and Kathleen Sebelius’ father-in-law. “While Kathleen was governor, everyone got along well,” Wefald says.
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“After 2011, when Kathleen joined the Obama administration, it seems everything changed,” he writes.
Wefald is a little off on the date: Sebelius was confirmed as Health and Human Services secretary in 2009, shortly after Obama took office and just a few months before Wefald left the university.
Roberts introduced Sebelius at her at the confirmation hearing and voted for her in the Senate.
In 2013 — facing a stiff election challenge in Kansas — Roberts called on Sebelius to resign. The pair’s friendship, whatever else it might have been, appeared to be over.