With an eye on helping John Kerry win Ohio, Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius on Tuesday compared her father's post-World War II sense of duty with Kerry's return from Vietnam.
"My father returned from war and devoted his life to public service," Sebelius said during her 3 1/2-minute afternoon appearance before the Democratic National Convention in Boston. Sebelius' father, Jack Gilligan, served as governor of Ohio from 1971-75.
"The same was true of John Kerry, who returned from Vietnam and now seeks the presidency," Sebelius said, "determined to ensure that America's brightest days are ahead of us."
Building on the comparison between the two Navy veterans, Sebelius noted her father had been awarded the Silver Star for valor, while, decades later, Kerry received a Silver Star, a Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts.
"The spirit of service and sacrifice we see in John Kerry is something I see in the people of Ohio, where I was raised, and in the people of Kansas, whom I proudly serve as governor," Sebelius said.
The Kansas governor's remarks were broadcast live on C-SPAN.
"She looked good, and she spoke well," said Betty Jo Charlton, a former Democratic legislator from Lawrence who served with Sebelius in the Kansas House.
"I doubt she said what she said in hopes of Kerry winning Kansas -- that isn't going to happen," Charlton said. "I suspect it was in hopes of Kerry winning Ohio."
Dan Watkins, an ardent Democrat, watched Sebelius on a television at his law office in west Lawrence.
"I thought she did a real good job in sticking with issues -- patriotism and public service -- that unite rather than divide, which I think the party is trying to emphasize," he said.
Sebelius is leading the Kansas delegation to the convention, where Kerry is scheduled to accept the Democratic Party's nomination Thursday evening.
To celebrate the nomination, area Democrats will gather from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. at Abe & Jake's Landing, 8 E. Sixth St., for a rally hosted by state Reps. Barbara Ballard and Paul Davis, both Democrats from Lawrence.
Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards is expected to address the gathering via telephone.