Archive for Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Parkinson sworn in as Kansas Governor

Kansas Gov. Mark Parkinson reaches down to shake hands with Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Davis after being sworn in alongside his sons Alex, left, and Sam, his wife, Stacy, and his daughter, Kit, on Tuesday at the Kansas Statehouse. Parkinson is the 45th governor of the state.

Kansas Gov. Mark Parkinson reaches down to shake hands with Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Davis after being sworn in alongside his sons Alex, left, and Sam, his wife, Stacy, and his daughter, Kit, on Tuesday at the Kansas Statehouse. Parkinson is the 45th governor of the state.

April 28, 2009


Parkinson sworn in as Kansas Governor

Gov. Mark Parkinson took the oath of office in front of about 150 people Tuesday night. His new job as governor comes just one day before the Kansas Legislature reconvenes for its wrap-up session. Enlarge video

Mark Parkinson at a glance

Parkinson, 51, received his law degree from Kansas University in 1984, then formed his own law firm. In 1990 he was elected to the Kansas House from Olathe, and in 1992 to the Kansas Senate. He did not seek re-election in 1996, and started a nursing home business. He served as chairman of the Kansas Republican Party from 1999 to 2003 before switching parties in 2006. He is married and has three children.

— Shortly after becoming Kansas’ 45th governor, Mark Parkinson on Tuesday faced the political leadership of the state and expressed confidence that “we will make it through these difficult times.”

Parkinson, 51, was sworn in after Gov. Kathleen Sebelius resigned to become secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in President Barack Obama’s Cabinet.

In remarks after he took the oath of office from Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Davis, Parkinson said he looked forward to crafting a budget solution based on a “shared sacrifice approach.”

The brief ceremony capped an extraordinary day in Kansas politics in which Sebelius left to lead the fight against an outbreak of swine flu and help Obama overhaul the nation’s health care system, while Parkinson stepped up to deal with a state in an economic tailspin and a $328 million budget deficit as the Legislature starts its wrap-up session today.

At a quickly arranged ceremony area on the second floor of the Capitol, Parkinson spoke for about eight minutes to about 200 legislators, lobbyists and other political officials. He called for a shared sacrifice approach of modest budget cuts and delays in the phase-out of tax cuts that had been approved in earlier years.

Parkinson, who must also select a new lieutenant governor, didn’t talk to the media after his remarks and went back into his new office.

Praise from lawmakers

Legislative leaders from both sides praised Parkinson, who has served in the House and Senate and was Kansas Republican Party chairman before he switched to the Democratic Party in 2006 to run with Sebelius as lieutenant governor.

Senate Majority Leader Derek Schmidt, R-Independence, said, “I’m looking forward to being actively engaged with the governor and leaders of both parties to try to fashion a way out of this.”

Schmidt said having the status of Sebelius and Parkinson settled will make it easier for legislators to deal with the budget deficit and other issues in the wrap-up session. And, he added, if any Republicans held a grudge against Parkinson because he left the GOP to become a Democrat, they needed to get over it. “That’s history. We need to move ahead,” he said

Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton, said he expected Parkinson “to hit the ground running.”

Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks Secretary Mike Hayden, a former governor, said Parkinson’s experience in both chambers and both parties gives him a unique perspective that he can carry into the office. “He can reach across a wide spectrum,” he said.

House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, predicted a seamless transition from Sebelius. “From the beginning, Mark Parkinson has been extremely involved in the administration, more than any lieutenant governor in recent memory. This, combined with the fact that he is simply a good leader and a former legislator himself, should ease any concerns about the transition,” Davis said.

Parkinson agreed with Sebelius on most issues, including opposition to the proposed two 700-megawatt coal-burning power plants in southwest Kansas. Supporters of the project are expected to try to overturn the veto during the wrap-up session.

Sebelius confirmation

The flurry of the transition started around 5 p.m. after the U.S. Senate confirmed Sebelius on a 65-31 vote. She had submitted a resignation letter effective upon the confirmation, which made Parkinson governor. He went through a swearing-in ceremony two hours later.

During the past year, much of the Kansas political world had been on Sebelius watch. For months, she was touted as a possible vice presidential nominee.

When Obama picked Joe Biden as his running mate and won the November election, talk turned to what job Sebelius would fill in the Obama administration.

But nothing substantial turned up until it was disclosed that Obama’s first choice for health and human services secretary, Tom Daschle, failed to pay $140,000 in taxes, and he withdrew himself from consideration.

In March, he picked Sebelius, the daughter of a former governor of Ohio who married into a famous Kansas political family. She started her political career in Kansas as a state legislator from Topeka, then won statewide election twice as insurance commissioner before running for governor in 2002.

Although a Democrat in a predominantly Republican state, she was often seen as a reformer who could work with members of both parties.

Now, it’s Parkinson’s turn. He has asked to address a joint session of the Legislature and has already announced that he doesn’t plan to run for governor in 2010.

Schmidt said that decision may allow Parkinson to act with more political freedom.

“Governor Parkinson is going to be in office for a short time. It is time when the state is not flush with cash,” Schmidt said. “He will not have the opportunity to leave a legacy by creating new programs or new initiatives. But he does have an extraordinary opportunity to leave a legacy of putting this state back on a sound and sustainable financial footing.”


overthemoon 9 years ago

I think Gov Parkinson will do a great job. He'll continue to engage everyone in the state and let the dumbos frizzle themselves out.

OnlyLawrenceRepublican 9 years ago

There is one appointment that Sebelius promised she would make before she was ever nominated. She failed to make it before leaving. I can see no reason for Parkinson to honor that promise, and I can see no reason why Sebelius would not have followed through.

Danimal 9 years ago

Kathleen Sebelius is gone? WOOOOO!!! I'm looking forward to Gov. Parkinson's leadership. I think he'll be progressive enough to keep things stirred up, but not so liberal to be upsetting.

riverdrifter 9 years ago

Brokeback voted in favor of confirmation. Wingnut panties binding tighter by the minute...

KS 9 years ago

He can't be any worse than Queen Kathy. The wicked witch is gone. Yeah!

tunahelper 9 years ago

Ding! Dong! the witch (sebelius) is dead! which old witch (kathleen)? the wicked witch (sebelius)! Ding! Dong! the wicked witch (sebelius) is dead!


goodbye georgie tiller!!

this is the best day in Kansas in a very long time!

tunahelper 9 years ago

everyone knows the really reason sebelius went to Washington. so she could get some young hot female intern!

tunahelper 9 years ago

I love the smell of burning coal in western Kansas! plus, carbon dioxide is good for my wheat!

Maddy Griffin 9 years ago

Watch this man closely! Remember, he was a Republican who changed parties to run with Sebelius. Does a leopard ever really change his spots?!

OldEnuf2BYurDad 9 years ago

"hello coal plants!!!!

goodbye georgie tiller!!"

You may have gotten ahead of yourself a little. He wanted to align himself with her, so how different do you think he'll be?

1983Hawk 9 years ago

Hey tunahelper - Time for you to get banned, dude. What are you, 12 years old? Get a life.

Shardwurm 9 years ago

Only time will tell if Kansas will suffer from Parkinson's disease.

frank mcguinness 9 years ago

Tuna helper is without a doubt the most ignorant kansan ever!

Try reading a bit. Reading is fundamental!

Gov. Parkinson is 100% against the coal plants and was willing to veto the bill if he was the governor at the time.

Use the search button, its amazing what you can learn from it.

As for Tiller you can be assured anything he gets on his desk to limit abortions can possibly be mitigated by decisions Kathleen will now make in her new position. She has been dealing with the republican taliban for long enough to know that it will come up again here in kansas and although she left for washington she is still a kansan and still for the choice to be available to a woman.

Shardwurm 9 years ago

"Use the search button, its amazing what you can learn from it."

The first lesson is that everything on the internet is true.

frank mcguinness 9 years ago

Shardwurm (Anonymous) says… “Use the search button, its amazing what you can learn from it.” The first lesson is that everything on the internet is true.

2ND lesson is that shardwurm is is the second most ignorant person in kansas.

It clearly says he opposes it. Furthermore you can't believe anything on the internet. But this isn't some made up article on a blog.

See what you can find with the search button. Idiot.

Shardwurm 9 years ago


Name calling is so 1970s. Mr. Poopypants.

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