Archive for Sunday, December 24, 2006

Sebelius says focus on Kansas, not D.C.

As second term starts, speculation begins

December 24, 2006


State budget fixed. Check.

School finance lawsuit dismissed. Check.

Re-elected by wide margin. Check.

National recognition. Check.

That's an oversimplified checklist for Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, but by most accounts Sebelius starts her second term with some political clout.

The question becomes how will she use it.

"It's an open book," said Loran Smith, a political science professor at Washburn University.

Smith said Sebelius, a Democrat, can either play it safe by presenting a modest agenda to the Republican-dominated Legislature when the legislative session starts Jan. 8 or "damn the torpedoes."

Sebelius has gained a reputation through national publications as a bipartisan problem-solver, has amassed record political contributions in Kansas and was recently elected chairwoman of the Democratic Governors Association.

That has fueled speculation about whether she will pursue another political office, such as the U.S. Senate in 2008 or 2010, be part of a White House ticket in 2008 or get a high-ranking federal job if Democrats win the next presidential election.

But in an interview with the Lawrence Journal-World, Sebelius said she's committed to her current job.

"I ran for governor to be governor. This is really where my focus is and will remain," she said.

She said the national attention is flattering, but that it's really a reflection of positive news about the state of Kansas.

In the interview, Sebelius focused on meat-and-potato issues for the upcoming session: education, health care, the economy and energy.

On public schools, she said the state will solidify funding the last two years of a $466 million increase. That plan led to the dismissal of a school finance lawsuit that had tied state officials in knots the past couple of years.

Sebelius also said she wants to phase in full-day kindergarten statewide and initiate some preschool programs.

She promised to lay out a plan to address the $727 million worth of deferred maintenance projects at state regents universities.

And Sebelius weighed in favor of recent discussions by the Kansas University Medical Center to pursue affiliations with other health care institutions, including those in Missouri.

"We have such a tremendous opportunity," she said in making a world-class research and treatment center that would benefit Kansas.

Without providing specifics, Sebelius said she will have a "major energy push" that includes conservation, economic incentives for rural development and some targeted tax cuts for employers.

On health care, Sebelius repeated earlier promises to extend state coverage to all children from birth through 5 years old.

"Working families are really struggling with affordable health care," she said. A recent study by Washington-based Families USA said health insurance costs in Kansas are increasing nearly five times faster than wages.

She said details of her proposals would be unveiled during her State of the State speech to the Legislature on Jan. 10 and the release of her proposed budget the next day.

Smith, the Washburn professor, says despite Sebelius' minority party status in Kansas, she is dealing from strength.

She was re-elected in November with 58 percent of the vote even though Republicans enjoy a sizable advantage in voter registration.

"If you oppose her, it better be on good grounds and not partisan grounds," he said.


Pilgrim 7 years, 3 months ago

Posted by cool (anonymous) on December 24, 2006 at 9:34 a.m.

SEBELIUS must know that the film Inconvenient Truth has made us all change in our awareness.

Only to those who also found "Dumb and Dumber" meaningful.


Sean Livingstone 7 years, 3 months ago

For those who do not support Katleen's decision: Don't you all know that if Kansas doesn't take it, Oklahoma will still take it and we will still get the pollution, no matter what. It's not like if it's not going to be build here, it will never be built.


Pogo 7 years, 3 months ago

It's pablum for the masses, don't legitimize the broad....


heysoos 7 years, 3 months ago


Can't get over the stark reality that they are part of the shrinking minority of viewholders in this state. That's all it is.

Oh, and it isn't the LJW that can't say enough nice things about her, it's Time Magazine, The New york Times, The Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post...


Pogo 7 years, 3 months ago

Then again, Sebelius would be a less evil choice than that nut Brownback......


cool 7 years, 3 months ago

Please read the DYING OF TREES by Charles Little & THE TWILIGHT OF AMERICAN CULTURE by Morris Berman to understand why Sebelius and her corporate smooze is extinct !then simultaneously you will know why SEBELIUS must change her tune on the COAL PLANTS or say goodbye to her career.


cool 7 years, 3 months ago

Logrithmic is correct. the LJWORLD being strong for Sebelius should automatically throw up some yellow flags if not 'RED state' flags. LJW is hardly toward the left / i would describe it as more 'right to the BANK', type ethos.


Ray Parker 7 years, 3 months ago

Did Bilious Sebelius really write this article?


logrithmic 7 years, 3 months ago

What a buncha crap. The Journal World prints nothing but good stuff about RepuLICKlans. Simons can't say enough nice things about Roberts especially! He devoted plenty of pages to Ryun, the Kansas home state rightwinger. So don't give me this guff about the Journal World's bias toward Democraps... That's just a pure lie.

Now about Sibelius. Cool is right on when he/she writes that Sibelius is going nowhere unless she chooses to take a stand against these coal plants. Her indifference is disheartening at best and disgusting at worst. Unless she stands up, she can kiss her national credentials goodbye!


classclown 7 years, 3 months ago

I'm not republican. Just making an observation of how she takes credit for absolutely everything under the sun. The great thing with not being party affiliated is not being blinded by devotion to a party to notice things like that. I can see the good and the bad.

While my opinion is that she has not been a bad governor, she isn't as great as she paints herself to be.

You seem to be malcontent that not everybody is on their knees worshiping your great democrat god.


Pogo 7 years, 3 months ago

I'm no malcontent, nor a Republican. There is no difference between Rebuplicans or Democrats....they're essentially Fric and Frac; Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum.

Sebelius is a crusty, wrinkled, ill made up (the pounds of make up on her face is boring) political hack: No more and no less.

Address what we've written about the KHPA, please. We've others to add once you've apologized for that fiasco as thousands of impoverished pregnant women go without health care and families who barely pay the rent and eat have applications which languish inside Sebelius pet project. Kinder and gentler indeed.

Kansas has no "world class" programs of any sort and until we have political "leaders" who can speak openly about our mediocre status as merely one of fifty states, we'll continue to suffer, suffer, and suffer. We get what we deserve because it's us that perpetuate the slime who "represent" us in Topeka. That includes Marci Francisco, too; not to mention that duffus Sloan.

Paul Davis seems to represent the people. He's a good egg it does appear.


yankeelady 7 years, 3 months ago

And malcontents on Christmas Eve yet. Peace on earth goodwill to republicans? Seriously, the governor has done a great job, considering the legislature she has had to deal with---not to mention the far right yapping at her heels, the BOE, etc etc


shadower 7 years, 3 months ago

Wow, 5 early rising Republicans malcontents. Seems the majority of voters in Kansas just re-elected her. Can you explain that since she's so bad?


cool 7 years, 3 months ago

SEBELIUS isn't going anywhere. Her hypocrisy on the environment by supporting the THREE coal plants with no water derived from a natural watershed and what their resultant pollution in the form of acid-rain deposition will be on the eastern forest edge is devasting. Kansas maples,oaks, and pines have never had this kind of acid rain and they will be weakened and the coal plants will kill the edge of the missouri forests and beyond.

SEBELIUS must know that the film Inconvenient Truth has made us all change in our awareness. Special interest groups like the coal boys have had their day.

SEBELIUS' career is over with such hypocrisy on energy in a state with nearly boundless WIND POWER.


coldandhot 7 years, 4 months ago

Rothschild again writes a flowery, fluff piece about a Democrat! Sebulius has really HURT our state.

It is sad. She wins national attention because she is a great MARKETER and FUNDRAISER, not a great governor. Money and media. She is about as good as Graves, which ain't saying much.

The LJ World has to be one of the worst papers on political bias.


Pogo 7 years, 4 months ago

Sebelius is a joke. One simply needs to look at the fiasco she already has in place with respect to health care for children and pregnant women.

The "new" KHPA ( ) is just a political payoff. It doesn't work and is in such a state of disarray it's comical.

The processing of applications was outsourced, but selected SRS state workers have to make the final authorization for benefits. Those selected do the authorizations if and when they feel like it.

Pregnant women applications are to be expedited: Processed within ten days of application receipt. They're not: these applications sit in unattended drawers and only when a complaint call is received are they seemingly processed. The same process is in place for those families that make application for their children under the age of 18. They're just sitting in limbo.

Sebelius has tried to place the blame for this manner of administration on new federal regulations which require applicants to demonstrate citizenship and identity. (Applicants need to provide a birth certificate and other id; for children school records or immunization records do just fine). However, the new regulations as an excuse is a mere smokescreen because the HealthWave Clearinghouse has never been held to any standard of performance since it's inception. The new "KHPA" is nothing more than a political payoff to Sebelius' political hacks.

Sebelius is no different than any other grade B politician (and that includes Graves). I expect that's credential enuff to be in Washington, D.C., however.

Anyway, she's nothing special and running a state with a dinky hillbilly, backwater orientation is nothing to crow about. Everything this hack has done has been a mile wide and inch deep. Inconsequential in the final analysis.


Sandman 7 years, 4 months ago

You'd be hard pressed to find an unkind word printed in the LJW about any Democrat.

And equally tasked to find a kind word about a Republican =/

Media bias is not always just national.


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