The Innovators: Governor Sebelius

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Sebelius on a
More Prosperous Kansas
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Sebelius on
Making a Difference
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Sebelius on
Finding Common Ground
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Sebelius on Making
Kansas a Healthier State
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Elected: 2002 as Governor
Next Election: 2006
Hometown: Topeka, KS
Birth Date: May 15, 1948
Prior Experience: Kansas Insurance Commissioner 1994-2002; Kansas House of Representatives 1987-1994.
Family: Married with two sons, ages 23 and 20.
Heartland Highlight: Sebelius is the first daughter of a Governor to hold the same position (Former Ohio Governor Joe Gilligan).

Gov. Sebelius’ Website

Kathleen Sebelius

Governor of Kansas

Kathleen Sebelius was elected Governor in the fall of 2002, becoming the first daughter of a Governor to also be elected as a state’s top official. As the 44th Governor of Kansas, Sebelius has focused on making government more efficient and accountable to all Kansans.

Governor Sebelius was first elected in 1987 to serve in the Kansas House of Representatives. During her four-term tenure, Sebelius worked to bring back a balanced budget without having to raise taxes. Sebelius became the state’s insurance commissioner in 1995 and served two terms before becoming Governor.

In addition to her dedication to fiscal responsibility, Governor Sebelius is devoted to improving public education for all of Kansas’ children. Sebelius strongly believes that a superior education system will provide not just some, but all Kansans with opportunity to get a good job with a decent wage.

Governor Sebelius has also worked to bring more affordable healthcare to all Kansans. She has been named by Modern Healthcare Magazine as one of the “100 Most Powerful People in Healthcare.”

Dedicated to improving education, growing the Kansas economy, and making health care more affordable, Governor Sebelius has committed herself to “serve and protect the people first.”

Best Practices

Preventing Domestic Violence Fatalities

Governor Kathleen Sebelius established the Governor’s Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board to investigate all adult domestic violence-related fatalities. The board is charged with reviewing the cases and describing trends and patterns regarding the fatalities. The goal is to create recommendations for strategies to prevent future fatalities and to determine if adequate resources and trainings are in place for those who respond to domestic violence crimes.

Read more about Governor Sebelius’ Domestic Violence Prevention Initiative.

Governor’s Office of Health Planning and Finance

Governor Sebelius created the Governor’s Office of Health Planning and Finance in order to make the state government more efficient. The office collaborates policy information in order to create a single comprehensive health policy initiative. The office continues to work with experts to come up with new practical solutions to reduce the rising costs of healthcare. The office is pooling together the purchasing of healthcare in state offices in order to maximize savings and bring an efficient healthcare service to Kansas’ state employees.

Read about Governor Sebelius’ Office of Health Planning and Finance.

Healthy Kansas Initiative

Governor Sebelius’ Healthy Kansas initiative is focused on reducing the increasing cost of healthcare by employing effective and preventative strategies. The initiative reduces administrative overhead, offers a low cost healthcare plan for small businesses, grants coverage to Kansas’ children with a focus on preventative techniques, implements a pilot program for that offers health care and decreased prescription drugs to low income state employees and their children, and includes an outreach plan to teach the public about the dangers of tobacco and the advantages of physical fitness.

The initiative is funded by a fifty-cent assessment on cigarettes and a 5% assessment on all other tobacco products. The benefit of the assessment is twofold—it raises state revenue to pay for the program and it decreases demand for unhealthy tobacco products, especially with young adults.

View the goals of Governor Sebelius’s Healthy Kansas Initiative (pdf).

Read more about the Healthy Kansas Initiative.

Military Bill of Rights

Governor Kathleen Sebelius has been working to implement a Military Bill of Rights to ensure the well-being of those in the military. The first law grants dependents of those in the military who die or who are declared POW/MIA tuition waivers for any public university, community college, or technical school in Kansas.

The bill also gives those in the service more flexibility, so that if they are reassigned to a state outside Kansas, they are not penalized once they come back into Kansas and request their original health insurance.

Governor Sebelius is continuing to fight for other aspects of her Military Bill of Rights plan to guarantee that those who sacrifice for their country receive enough benefits to ensure their well being even after their service is over.

Read more about the signing of the Military Bill of Rights.