|Governor of Kansas|
|Kathleen Sebelius (D)|
2003 — 2009
Early life and family
Sebelius was born Kathleen Gilligan and raised in a Roman Catholic family in Cincinnati, Ohio. She attended the Summit Country Day School in Cincinnati, followed by Trinity Washington University in Washington, D.C., and later earned a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Kansas. She moved to Kansas in 1974, where she served for eight years as a representative in the Kansas State Legislature and eight years as Insurance Commissioner before being elected governor.
Sebelius is the daughter of former Ohio governor John J. Gilligan, and thus they became the first father/daughter governor pair in the United States after her election. Her husband K. Gary Sebelius is a federal magistrate judge and the son of former U.S. Representative Keith Sebelius, a Republican. They have two sons. She also visits her childhood and current vacation home, located in Leland, Michigan, north of Traverse City.
Early political career
She was first elected to the Kansas House of Representatives in 1986. In 1994 she left the House to run for state insurance commissioner and stunned political forecasters by winning, marking the first time a Democrat had won in more than 100 years. She is credited with bringing the agency out from under the influence of the insurance industry. She refused to take campaign contributions from insurers and blocked the proposed merger of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas, the state's largest health insurer, with an Indiana-based company. The decision by Sebelius marked the first time the corporation had been rebuffed in its acquisition attempts."
Sebelius defeated Republican Tim Shallenburger in the 2002 election by a vote of 53%-45%. Her victory was partially the result of a divide between conservatives and moderates within the Kansas Republican Party. This divide is touched upon in Thomas Frank's bestseller What's the Matter with Kansas?. Since winning the election, Sebelius has successfully built upon her popularity and, as of January 2006, was tied for the 12th most popular governor in the country.
On May 26, 2006, Sebelius formally announced her candidacy for re-election. Four days later, Mark Parkinson, former Kansas state GOP Party Chair, switched his party affiliation to Democratic; the following day Sebelius announced that Parkinson would be her running mate for Lieutenant Governor. Parkinson had previously served in the state House during 1991–1992 and the Senate during 1993–1997. Parkinson was viewed as a pro-business moderate who strongly supported public education. This was somewhat reminiscent of the fact that John Moore had also been a Republican, before switching just days prior to joining Sebelius as her running mate.
She was challenged by Republican State Senator Jim Barnett. A September 1 Rasmussen poll showed Sebelius with an 11 percent lead over Barnett. Other polls gave Sebelius as much as a 20 percent lead. As of 2004, 50 percent of Kansas voters were registered Republicans, compared to 27 percent as registered Democrats. Sebelius, nevertheless, won a landslide re-election, winning 57.8 percent of the vote to Barnett's 40.5 percent. Because of Kansas' term limit law, her second term as Governor will be her last.
In 2001 Sebelius was named as one of Governing Magazine's Public Officials of the Year while she was serving as Kansas Insurance Commissioner.
In November 2005, Time named Sebelius as one of the five best governors in America, praising her for eliminating a $1.1 billion debt she inherited, ferreting out waste in state government, and strongly supporting public education — all without raising taxes, although she proposed raising sales, property, and income taxes. Also praised was her bipartisan approach to governing, a useful trait in a state where Republicans have usually controlled the legislature.
In February 2006, the White House Project named Sebelius one of its "8 in '08", a group of eight female politicians who could possibly run and/or be elected president in 2008.
Speculation on political future
During the 2004 election, Sebelius was named as a potential running mate for John Kerry. In the aftermath of Kerry's defeat, some pundits named Sebelius as a potential candidate for the Democratic nomination for President in 2008. After Barack Obama's clinching of the nomination in June 2008, speculation that she would be a contender for the vice-presidential slot on the Democratic ticket continued. The Washington Post listed her as the top prospect for the 2008 nomination. James Carville and Bob Novak also mentioned Sebelius' name, and Wesley Clark, also considered a potential running mate, publicly endorsed Sebelius, referring to her as "the next vice-president of the United States." Speculation that the Vice Presidential nomination lay in her future was heightened by the fact that she was chosen by the Democratic Party's congressional leaders to give their party's official response to Republican President George W. Bush's 2008 State of the Union Address. The next day, she endorsed Obama's campaign, one week before the Kansas caucus on Super Tuesday. Obama won the caucus easily, with 74% support.
Speculation on her Vice Presidential selection intensified when a report from political ad agency insider, Tribble Ad Agency, reported on its website that the Obama Campaign owns the domain name "ObamaSebelius.com" through the GoDaddy.com registration service. However, just after midnight on August 23, it was reported by the Associated Press that Obama ultimately selected Joe Biden, the senior senator from Delaware, as his running mate.
Sebelius is a former chair of the Democratic Governors Association, a popular launchpad for those with national political ambitions. In 2007, she traveled to Istanbul to attend the annual Bilderberg Group meeting.
Health and Human Services nomination
On February 28, 2009, it was reported that Sebelius had accepted Obama's nomination for the position of Secretary of Health and Human Services. On March 2, 2009, Obama officially announced Governor Sebelius as his nominee. At Obama's announcement, Sebelius was accompanied by two Kansas Republicans, former U.S. Senator Bob Dole and current U.S. Senator Pat Roberts. Pro-life advocates opposed the nomination and pro-life members in the Senate were most likely to be her main opposition. Sebelius was confirmed as the Secretary of Health and Human Services by the Senate on April 28, 2009 with a vote of 65-31. 
During the background investigation process for this position, in March 2009 she admitted to "unintentional errors" in tax returns and paid nearly $8,000 in back taxes. She took unduly large deductions in areas that included: charitable contributions, the sale of a home, and business expenses.
In answer to questions from the Senate Finance Committee during her April 2009 confirmation hearing, Sebelius stated she received $12,450 between 1994 and 2001 from physician George Tiller. The Associated Press, however, reported that from 2000 to 2002 Tiller gave at least $23,000 more to a political action committee Sebelius established to raise money for Democrats while she was serving as state insurance commissioner.
Sebelius was confirmed by the United States Senate by a vote of 65-31 and sworn in on April 28, 2009, amidst an outbreak of swine flu in the United States, Mexico, and numerous other countries around the world.
Sebelius is pro-choice and opposed to efforts to eliminate or reduce abortions primarily by criminalizing abortion procedures. Sebelius' office states that abortions have declined 8.5 percent during her tenure as governor. According to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment statistics, the number of induced abortions in Kansas declined by 1,568, or 12.6 percent, from 2001 to 2007, the year of the most recently available statistics. Her administration attributes the decline to health care reforms that Sebelius initiated, including "adoption incentives, extended health services for pregnant women..., sex education and... a variety of support services for families." Nationally, the number of abortions declined approximately 7.6 percent from 2000 to 2005, the year of the most recently available and reliable U.S. statistics.
Sebelius was endorsed by Planned Parenthood and they have conducted fundraising activity on her behalf. Sebelius vetoed abortion legislation in Kansas in 2003, 2005, 2006, and again in 2008.
On April 21, 2008, Sebelius vetoed House Substitute for Senate Bill 389, titled the Comprehensive Abortion Reform Act by its sponsors. Proponents of the bill claimed the legislation would strengthen late-term abortion laws and prevent "coerced abortions," particularly with respect to minors. The Kansas City Star reported that HS SB 389 would have required the State of Kansas to collect patient diagnostic information providing detailed medical justification for late-term abortions, and would have also permitted litigants to sue abortion providers if they thought that a relative of theirs was planning a late-term abortion in violation of Kansas law. Sebelius objected to the constitutionality, efficacy and morality of the proposed legislation. She wrote, "The United States Supreme Court decisions make clear that any law regulating abortion must contain exceptions for pregnancies which endanger the woman's life or health. However, SB 389 allows a variety of individuals to seek a court order preventing a woman from obtaining an abortion, even where it may be necessary to save her life. I am concerned that the bill is unconstitutional or even worse, endangers the lives of women." In addition, she expressed concern that the bill would "likely encourage extensive litigation" and that it "unnecessarily jeopardizes the privacy of Kansas women's confidential medical records."
Kansas City Archbishop Joseph Naumann has stated that Sebelius has a long record of supporting and advocating for legalized abortion and that her public stances have "grave spiritual and moral consequences." Naumann also asked that she no longer receive Holy Communion. Naumann criticized Sebelius for vetoing HS SB 389.
In September 2005, Sebelius donated a reception to be held at Cedar Crest, the official residence of the Governor, to an auction benefiting the Greater Kansas City Women's Political Caucus, a group that endorses only pro-choice candidates. At the auction, the manager of a Wichita clinic that specializes in late-term abortions, physician George Tiller, bid and won the gubernatorial reception. Tiller redeemed the prize and he and members of his staff dined with Sebelius at her home on April 7, 2007.
Early in the term, Sebelius made education funding her top priority. Education funding reached a breaking point in the summer of 2005 when the Kansas Supreme Court ordered the Kansas Legislature to increase K–12 funding. Sebelius offered one education funding plan early in her first term which consisted of property, sales, and income tax increases. Sebelius has since deferred to the Kansas legislature on education funding issues, resulting in 2006 in the largest K–12 education funding increase in the history of the state. The three-year plan aimed to increase education funding by nearly $1 billion over three years but did not give a funding source for the second and third years. Current state projections show the state in debt by millions of dollars halfway into the second year of the plan.
Sebelius has also put environmental concerns at the top of her agenda. She pushed for more widespread recycling efforts across the state. In addition, she vetoed bills authorizing the construction of coal-fired power plants on three separate occasions saying in March of 2008, "We know that greenhouse gases contribute to climate change. As an agricultural state, Kansas is particularly vulnerable. Therefore, reducing pollutants benefits our state not only in the short term – but also for generations of Kansans to come." On June 2, 2008, Sebelius spoke at the American Wind Energy Association Conference, calling for greater federal support for wind energy and other renewable energy resources.
Sebelius has said she supports Kansans' right to own firearms, but does not believe a broad concealed carry law would make them safer: "I don't believe allowing people to carry concealed handguns into sporting events, shopping malls, grocery stores, or the workplace would be good public policy. And to me the likelihood of exposing children to loaded handguns in their parents' purses, pockets and automobiles is simply unacceptable."
Sebelius vetoed, like her Republican predecessor Bill Graves, a concealed carry law that would have allowed citizens to carry concealed weapons after obtaining a state permit and passing an FBI background check. The veto left Kansas, at the time, as one of four states without any form of a conceal-carry law.
On March 21, 2006, she vetoed Senate Bill 418, a similar concealed-carry bill. On March 25, Sebelius's veto was overturned after the Kansas House of Representatives voted 91–33 to override it. This followed the Kansas Senate's 30-10 override vote, which occurred the day after her veto.
On April 21, 2008, Sebelius signed Senate Bill 46 into law, which repealed a 1933 state law prohibiting civilian ownership of machine guns and other firearms restricted by the National Firearms Act of 1934 provided that any prospective civilian owner successfully meets the requirements of the NFA. The law was passed in part to address legal issues that could have prevented dealers from delivering firearms to law enforcement agencies in Kansas. The law took effect on July 1, 2008.
Sebelius did not support an April 2005 amendment to the Kansas Constitution that made same-sex marriage in the state unconstitutional. Sebelius said she supported the existing state law outlawing same-sex marriage, viewed it as sufficient, and therefore opposed the constitutional amendment. The amendment passed with 70 percent voter approval.
Sebelius is an opponent of capital punishment. During her first term, the Kansas capital punishment laws were declared unconstitutional by the Kansas Supreme Court. However, on appeal by Kansas' then-Attorney General Phill Kline, the ruling was again overturned and the current law reinstated by the United States Supreme Court.
- ↑ United States Department of Health and Human Services-Secretary Kathleen Sebelius
- ↑ "Response to the 2008 State of the Union address". http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/01/28/dems.response/index.html#cnnSTCVideo.
- ↑ http://www.ksgovernor.com/ShowPage.asp?page=bio.asp Meet Kathleen] ksgovernor.com
- ↑ Magistrate Judge K. Gary Sebelius U.S. District Court, District of Kansas, U.S. Government
- ↑ Political Women Go Hunting National Wild Turkey Federation, Oct. 27, 2004
- ↑ State Races: Kansas CNN.com
- ↑ America's 5 Best Governors by Amanda RIpley and Karen Tumulty, Time Magazine, Nov. 13, 2005
- ↑ SurveyUSA (2006). Governor Approval Ratings 01/06 Sort by State. Retrieved April 25, 2006.
- ↑ Kan. gov. selects running mate for race by David Twitty, Associated Press, May 31, 2006
- ↑ Rasmussen Reports: The most comprehensive public opinion coverage ever provided for a mid-term election
- ↑ CNN.com Election 2004
- ↑ Kathleen Sebelius: Believer in Balance by Rob Gurwitt, NGoverning Magazine, Nov. 2001
- ↑ http://legislature.cjonline.com/stories/011304/leg_stateofstate.shtml
- ↑ Time (2006). America's 5 Best Governors: Kathleen Sebelius |Kansas. Retrieved April 25, 2006.
- ↑ The White House Project (2006).  Retrieved March 19, 2008.
- ↑ CNN (2004). John Kerry campaign: Democratic candidates for vice president. Retrieved April 25, 2006.
- ↑ WHO WILL JOHN KERRY PICK AS HIS RUNNING MATE?. Retrieved April 25, 2006.
- ↑ The 2008 Veepstakes prospect.org
- ↑ Will Kansas Governor Be Dems VP Candidate in 2008? by Jesse Nathan Zerger, BeyondChron, Apr. 24, 2006
- ↑ Cillizza, Chris and Shailagh Murray. "So, Candidates, Who's It Going to Be?", Washington Post, May 11, 2008.
- ↑ "Political Ticker", CNN, May 13, 2008.
- ↑ A Vice President For Abortion
- ↑ Sebelius Obama's VP? - Political Machine
- ↑ Carpenter, Tim. "Sebelius to give response to State of the Union, Governor represents Democratic Party in opposition speech", Topeka Capital-Journal, January 16, 2008.
- ↑ Kansas Gov. Sebelius Endorses Obama, Governor Represents GOP-Friendly State Where Candidate Has Family Ties Associated Press, CBS News, Jan. 29, 2008
- ↑ "Obama wins Kansas Caucus", Kansas City Star
- ↑ "Barack Obama chooses Kathleen Sebelius for Vice President", August 18, 2008.
- ↑ http://edition.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/08/23/biden.democrat.vp.candidate/index.html
- ↑ Kan. governor draws national attention, by John Hanna, Associated Press. Retrieved January 28, 2007
- ↑ Bilderberg Group list of attendees (PDF) bilderberg.org
- ↑ Obama Taps Kansas Gov. Sebelius as Health Secretary
- ↑ 
- ↑ 
- ↑ 
- ↑ O'Callaghan, John (March 31, 2009). "Health nominee Sebelius reveals tax errors". Reuters. http://www.reuters.com/article/politicsNews/idUSTRE53004X20090401. Retrieved on April 1, 2009.
- ↑ Levey, Noam (April 1, 2009). "Sebelius and taxes: Health Secretary-designate Kathleen Sebelius, latest pick for President Barack Obama's Cabinet, to reveal tax problems". Chicago Tribune. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-sebelius_wedapr01,0,5257116.story. Retrieved on April 1, 2009.
- ↑ Pear, Robert (March 31, 2009). "Sebelius Pays Back Taxes". New York Times. http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/03/31/sebelius-corrects-tax-errors/. Retrieved on 2009-04-02.
- ↑ Rubenstein, Sarah (April 1, 2009). [http://blogs.wsj.com/health/2009/04/01/sebelius-runs-into-tax-problems-but-daschles-were-bigger/ "Sebelius Runs Into Tax Problems, But Daschle’s Were Bigger ."]. Wall Street Journal. http://blogs.wsj.com/health/2009/04/01/sebelius-runs-into-tax-problems-but-daschles-were-bigger/. Retrieved on 2009-04-02.
- ↑ Goldstein, David (April 1, 2009). "Add Sebelius to list of Obama Cabinet picks with tax troubles". Miami Herald. http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation/story/978022.html. Retrieved on 2009-04-02.
- ↑ "Sebelius lowballed donations from abortion doc". MSNBC. April 14, 2009. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30197717/. Retrieved on 2009-04-14.
- ↑ Sebelius wins panel approval as health secretary
- ↑ Cite error: Invalid
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- ↑ Sebelius approved as HHS secretary
- ↑ The rebirth of abortion: With an absurd attack on a Democratic rising star who's Catholic, the right is once again seizing on the issue by Tim Rutten, Los Angeles Times, May 28, 2008
- ↑ Novak Takes A Swipe At Possible Obama VP Pick by Chris Cillizza, Washington Post, June 5, 2008
- ↑ Abortions in Kansas: Preliminary Reports Office of Health Assessment, Kansas Department of Health and Environment
- ↑ 47.0 47.1 Veto Message for House Substitute for Senate Bill 389 by Nicole Corcoran, Office of the Governor, State of Kansas, Apr. 21, 2008
- ↑ U.S. Abortion Rate Continues Long-Term Decline, Falling to Lowest Level Since 1974; More Effort Still Needed to Reduce Unintended Pregnancy by Rebecca Wind, Guttmacher Institute Media Center, Jan. 17, 2008
- ↑ A Vice President for Abortion by Robert Novak, Chicago Sun-Times. May 26, 2008
- ↑ Kansas Senate fails to override veto of abortion law by Jim Sullinger, The Kansas City Star, May 30, 2008
- ↑ Archbishop Naumann: Kansas governor should stop receiving Communion by Dennis Sadowski, May 12, 2008: "[Naumann] said many Kansans 'find it more than an embarrassment' that the state had become 'infamous for being the late-term abortion center for the Midwest.'"
- ↑ Rigid bishops one-up the popes, National Catholic Reporter, May 30, 2008
- ↑ Conservatives gear up again to use Communion as a political weapon, no matter the cost to American Catholicism by Patrick Whelon, Catholic Democrats, May 14, 2008
- ↑ The Greater Kansas City Women’s Political Caucus
- ↑ Auction payment was late by James Carlson, The Topeka Capital-Journal, June 03, 2008
- ↑ Bill for Tiller event wasn't paid for a year by David Klepper, The Wichita Eagle, June 03, 2008
- ↑ Passions cool as session looms - Few legislators say they'd defy court Kansas City Star June 20, 2005 retrieved June 5, 2008
- ↑ State Agency ‘Green Teams’ Focus on Recycling and Waste Reduction WBIW, March 4, 2008
- ↑ Sebelius vetoes coal plant bill Kansas City Star, May 16, 2008
- ↑ What's not the matter with Kansas Grist Magazine, July 10, 2008
- ↑ Kansas Governor Rejects Two Coal-Fired Power Plants
- ↑ LJWorld.com / Sebelius calls on feds to step up development of wind energy
- ↑ Sebelius vetoes concealed carry bill Associated Press, Apr. 16, 2004
- ↑ USA Today (2005). Kansas governor vetoes concealed weapons bill. Retrieved June 14, 2007.
- ↑ Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline (2006). Kansas Concealed Weapon. Retrieved April 25, 2006.
- ↑ Sebelius signs machine gun bill Associated Press, Apr. 22, 2008
- ↑ Sebelius on gay marriage Boston Globe, Apr. 6, 2008
- ↑ Kathleen Sebelius Biography New York Times
- ↑ Fiscal Policy Report Card on America’s Governors: 2006 (PDF) Cato Institute
- Biography at the National Governors Association
- Summary, biography, voting record, and interest group ratings at Project Vote Smart
- Issue positions and quotes at On The Issues
- Campaign contributions at Follow The Money
- Appearances at the Internet Movie Database
- Profile at Notable Names Database
- Profile at Wikipedia
- About.com's Inside Profile of Gov. Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas
- Kathleen Sebelius for Governor official campaign site
- Kansas Office of the Governor Kathleen Sebelius official state site
- Trinity Washington University (2006). Profile: Kathleen Sebelius '70. Retrieved June 15, 2008.
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