Topeka Lt. Gov. Mark Parkinson said Monday that he’s “ready to serve” if Gov. Kathleen Sebelius is appointed U.S. Health and Human Services secretary, but he still won’t run for governor in 2010.
The Statehouse continued to buzz with speculation about Sebelius. A senior official in President Barack Obama’s administration has said she’s a top candidate for the Cabinet job.
Parkinson said he and Sebelius have discussed the possibility but added that he has no information about her chances beyond what he has read in news report. Sebelius’ departure automatically would elevate Parkinson to governor.
“I really am not going to comment on what the governor may or may not do,” Parkinson said during an interview. “But I do want to say this: The primary job of a lieutenant governor is to be ready to be governor, if that situation ever arises. And I want folks to know that, if it’s this week or next week, or under any circumstances, I’m ready to serve.”
Sebelius planned to participate in three events today and Wednesday with U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.
Sebelius said her biggest concern remains a projected $199 million deficit in the state budget for the fiscal year that ends June 30.
“I’m not speculating about anything,” Sebelius said. “I haven’t had any conversations with the president, and right now, I’m really focused on doing the job here in Kansas.”