Senator Frank Carlson

"Kansas Favorite Son"


"There are no self-made men. It is your friends who make you what you are." - Frank Carlson

Frank Carlson was born on January 23, 1893 in Concordia, Kansas, son of immigrant parents from Sweden.

On his return from military service in World War I in 1919, he married Alice Fredrickson of Concordia, and they began an active livestock and farming operation. They had one daughter, Eunice (Mrs. Edward J. Rolfs), and a foster son, Millard Ross.

Frank Carlson was educated in Cloud County schools and attended Concordia Normal and Business College and Kansas State University. He received honorary degrees from ten colleges and universities.

He was an active member of the Baptist Church of Concordia and served as a Sunday School Superintendent for twenty-five years. The Presidential Prayer Breakfast was organized under his leadership and he also served as President of the International Christian Leadership.

Frank Carlson is the only Kansan in state history to have served in the U.S. House of Representatives, in the U.S. Senate, and as governor of Kansas. He died in 1987.

Political Career

"The American system of government is based largely on the consistent voluntary participation of the individual citizen in the affairs of his community and nation." - Frank Carlson, 1981

Frank Carlson, elected thirtieth governor of Kansas in 1946, brought eighteen years of public service experience to that office. In the summer of 1928, Frank Carlson, farmer, serving as Cloud County Republican chairman, was recruited by a Concordia delegation as he was working in his fields.

Carlson served two terms in the Kansas House of Representatives, 1929-1933. He left the House to be Alf Landon's presidental campaign manager. He was also Kansas State Republican Committee Chair. In 1934 he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, and served six terms. He returned to Kansas to be governor. Near the end of his second term, he campaigned for a Congressional Senate seat and won. Carlson was elected for two more terms. In 1967 he voluntarily retired effective 1969, having given forty years to public office.

On the national level, Carlson helped recruit Dwight D. Eisenhower for president and was co-founder of the Presidential Prayer Breakfast. As governor, Carlson was involved in programs for highways, aid to returning veterans, education at all levels, social welfare, state mental institutions, and rural medical services. Carlson competed in thirteen primaries and thirteen general elections and never had a loss.

Kansas honored Carlson by naming him "Favorite Son" at the 1969 Republican National Convention. Two buildings, the Frank Carlson Library and the federal building in Topeka, bear his name.