Topeka Gov. Mark Parkinson will become the leader of the nation's largest long term care association after leaving office in January, it was announced Monday.
Parkinson has been selected as the next president and chief executive officer of the Washington, D.C.-based American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living.
"This is the perfect job for me," said Parkinson. "It combines my passion for quality elder care with my public policy experience."
Parkinson and his wife Stacy had been owners and operators of long term care facilities for over 15 years.
“In this new era of health reform, Governor Parkinson’s deep background in this sector coupled with his policy expertise, will serve our members well as we look to future challenges,” stated Robert Van Dyk, Chair of AHCA’s Board of Governors.
AHCA/NCAL is a national non-profit organization which represents assisted living, nursing facility, developmentally-disabled and sub-acute care providers. It has 11,000 member facilities caring for 1.5 million people on a daily basis.
Despite the career change, Parkinson vowed to stay on task at his current job until he leaves.
"There is still much work to be done in the next four months to foster job growth, protect our schools and our communities and facilitate a smooth transition with the next governor-elect. My office and I remain committed to the state’s business and to the people of Kansas," he said.
Parkinson, a former Kansas Republican Party chairman who switched to the Democratic Party, was elected lieutenant governor in 2006 with Gov. Kathleen Sebelius. He became governor in April 2009 when Sebelius resigned to become U.S. secretary of Health and Human Services. At the time, Parkinson stunned political observers by announcing he would not run for governor.
Parkinson has overseen record budget cuts to match record drops in tax revenues. During the 2010 legislative session, he pushed through a 1-cent state sales tax increase to avoid further cuts that he said would have resulted in permanent damage to schools, social services and public safety.
Republican Sam Brownback, a U.S. senator, and Democrat Tom Holland, a state senator from Baldwin City, are running in November to replace Parkinson.
Parkinson will succeed Bruce Yarwood at the AHCA/NCAL. Yarwood is retiring.