Mark V. Parkinson

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Mark Parkinson
Mark Parkinson.jpg
Governor of Kansas
Former officeholder
In office
April 28, 2009 - January 10, 2011
PredecessorKathleen Sebelius
Bachelor'sWichita State University
J.D.University of Kansas
Date of birthJune 24, 1957
Mark V. Parkinson (b. June 24, 1957) is a former Governor of Kansas. A Democrat, Parkinson was appointed to the position of governor when his predecessor, Kathleen Sebelius, took a position in the Obama administration. Parkinson, who took his oath of office on April 28, 2009, was the 45th governor of Kansas. His term ended in 2010 and he "repeatedly said" that he would not run for election in the Kansas gubernatorial election of 2010.[1]

On Sept. 13, 2010, Parkinson announced his plans to be President/CEO of American Healthcare Association & National Center for Assisted Living when he leaves office in January 2011[2]. Parkinson's yearly salary at AHCA may be $750,000, which is an increase from $110,000/year as Kansas governor[3].


Parkinson was born in Kansas. After graduating from Wichita State University in 1980 and first in his class at the University of Kansas in 1984, Parkinson began to practice law. In 1996, he left his law practice of Parkinson, Foth & Orrick to begin creating assisted living facilities.

Political career

Parkinson entered Kansas politics as a Republican in 1990. He served in the Kansas state house from 1991-1992 and the Kansas State Senate from 1993-1997. From 1999-2003, he was Chairman of the Kansas Republican Party. In 2004, he served as chairman of the Shawnee Area Chamber of Commerce board.

On May 31, 2006, Governor Kathleen Sebelius announced that Parkinson had switched parties and was her running mate for her re-election campaign, succeeding retiring lieutenant governor John E. Moore (also a former Republican who had switched parties shortly before he joined a ticket with Sebelius). Parkinson's business abilities and willingness to work with both Republicans and Democrats were the reasons Sebelius gave for choosing him.

The Kansas Republican Party immediately labeled Parkinson a hypocrite, citing 2002 quotes where Parkinson called Sebelius a "left-wing liberal Democrat" and claimed that any Republicans who supported her were "either insincere or uninformed." Parkinson responded to the criticism by saying he had doubted Sebelius four years earlier, but came to believe she provided "independent leadership" for the state. He said, "In an age where leaders duck responsibility and dodge their mistakes let me be the first to say: I was wrong."[4] Some viewed his switch as opportunism; others felt his decision was another example of the bitter divide between moderates and conservatives in the Kansas Republican Party, and that the move encouraged more moderate Republican voters to move closer to the Democratic Party.[5]

Balancing budget

Gov. Parkinson asked lawmakers for a temporary, three-year, one-cent increase in the state's sales tax during his State of the State address on January 11, 2010. He also asked for higher tobacco taxes to help plug what now is estimated to be a $400 million hole in the state's fiscal 2011 budget, set to start in July. The higher sales tax would bring in $308 million and the higher cigarette taxes would bring in $70 million. Republicans vowed to fight the proposal and called for budget cuts instead.[6]

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Political offices
Preceded by
Kathleen Sebelius (D)
Governor of Kansas
Succeeded by
Sam Brownback (R)
Preceded by
John E. Moore
Lieutenant Governor of Kansas
Succeeded by
Troy Findley