U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kans., is a man of his word.

Brownback announced today that he will not seek re-election to the Senate in 2010, honoring a pledge he made early in his political career to make term limits for political office-holders a priority.

Brownback was elected to the Senate in 1996 to fill the seat vacated when Bob Dole ran for president. He was re-elected in 1998 and 2004.

He acknowledged that by surrendering his seat, he would cause his home state to lose some of its clout in the Senate because his replacement will have less seniority than Brownback would enjoy if re-elected in 2010.

“You do lose that seniority basis in stepping down,” Brownback said. “But for me, I would lose a lot more, and, I think, the people of Kansas would lose a lot more for breaking my word.”

It is widely speculated Brownback will run for Kansas governor in 2010, but he declined to discuss the matter today while announcing his decision not to seek another Senate term.

Brownback, who converted to Catholicism in 2002, is one of the leading pro-life and pro-family voices in the U.S. Senate.

In an interview with the Register in 2003, Brownback said it was possible to bring a faith perspective to Capitol Hill.

Said Brownback, “Eternal principles don’t change no matter whom you are talking to.”

— Tom McFeely