Our Honorary ChairsGovernor of Kansas
Pledging independent leadership to move Kansas forward, in 2003 Kathleen Sebelius became the 44th Governor of the State of Kansas. Governor Sebelius was reelected to a second term in 2006.
At the heart of Governor Sebelius’ administration is a commitment to growing the Kansas economy to create jobs; ensuring every Kansas child has an effective – and efficient – school; protecting Kansas families and communities; making health care more affordable; and taking advantage of the state’s renewable energy potential. In 2005, Time magazine named her one of the nation’s top five governors.
Through a commitment to making the Kansas business climate more attractive to businesses – and by balancing the state budget without raising taxes – the Kansas economy has rebounded and created thousands of new jobs. The Governor also made cutting waste in government a priority, and moves such as selling 700 unneeded state cars have added up to more than $1 billion savings and efficiencies during her term.
Because good schools equal good jobs and a growing economy, Governor Sebelius has made improving public schools a priority. During her first term the state made a historic commitment to Kansas’ schoolchildren, as well as undertaking audits to ensure the resources Kansas spends on schools are being used in the most efficient manner possible.
Another important responsibility is to keep Kansas communities safe. That’s why the Governor pushed for a law that makes it harder to get the ingredients that go into meth, and why her administration works with local law enforcement to prepare for natural disasters and other emergencies. Governor Sebelius has called for—and signed into law—tougher jail terms for sexual predators and a minimum marriage age.
Since the rising cost of health care is a threat to families and businesses, which is why the Governor is working to lower health costs, starting with the 30% of every health care dollar that goes to administrative costs. She’s also proposed providing health insurance to every uninsured Kansas child from birth to age five in order to give these children a healthy start on life.
Finally, Sebelius believes Kansas must take advantage of its enormous potential for renewable energy production. She’s working with business and community leaders, utilities, and local governments to promote wind energy and biofuels production in Kansas, as well as expanded energy conservation efforts.
In 2006, Governor Sebelius was elected chair of the Democratic Governors Association. She also chairs the Education Commission of the States, as well as serving on the National Governors Association’s Executive Committee.
Kathleen Sebelius has been married to her husband, Gary, a federal magistrate judge, for 32 years. They have two sons: Ned, age 25 and John, age 22. Both Sebelius boys are products of the Topeka public school system, pre-Kindergarten through high school. Ned is a law student, and John recently graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design. Sebelius is the first daughter of a Governor (John Gilligan, Ohio, 1971-1975) in U.S. history to be elected to that same position.