Asked the status of Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius relative to taking a Cabinet position in the Obama administration, a knowledgeable, highly respected and well-connected individual with Kansas legislative experience said, “She’s gone.”
He added, “It will be announced very soon.”
Asked how such a departure will affect the state and how Lt. Gov. Mark Parkinson will handle moving into the governor’s chair, this same observer was equally brief and succinct:
“It could be good in several ways. Sebelius has lost a great deal of her clout and leadership and faces an extremely difficult fiscal situation in Kansas.
“Parkinson is not trusted by Democrats and he is not trusted by Republicans. Parkinson has said he does not intend to seek re-election if, indeed, he did move into the governor’s office due to her departure.
“This being the case, he could commit himself to doing what is in the best interests of the state, not having to worry about re-election and trying to win friends through political maneuvering. He is smart and would have a real and somewhat unique opportunity to make a solid and positive contribution to the state in his two years in office.”
It shouldn’t be too long before we find out whether this particular observer is correct in his prediction about Sebelius and Parkinson.
It brings to mind a similar opportunity former Kansas Gov. Bill Graves had to challenge the state and its residents to aim high and have the vision and courage to make significant changes for the betterment of Kansas.
Graves enjoyed big majorities in both the Kansas House and Senate and high public approval. He could not seek re-election because of the two-term limit, and he had announced he had taken an out-of-state job. He didn’t have to worry about stepping on toes. He could have called for legislation and vision that could have had a tremendous impact on the state — but he did nothing.
If Parkinson does assume the governorship, can he — will he — use this rare opportunity to make a truly significant and positive impact on the state?