Sebelius will be governor until she is confirmed, Parkinson says

PARKINSON_MH6TOPEKA – Lt. Gov. Mark Parkinson said he would remain in his current position until the governor is confirmed as the Health and Human Services Secretary.

“In the interim, I will continue to be focused on the budget and other issues facing our Great State,” Parkinson said in a written statement. “We know that Kansans are facing the most challenging economy in our lifetimes. Our commitment is to continue to do everything we can to move our state forward.”

President Barack Obama announced Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat, as his nominee for country’s top health slot early Monday afternoon following weeks of speculation.

Sebelius, an early supporter of Obama, became Kansas’ governor in 2002. She previously served in the state House of Representatives and as the state Insurance Commissioner.

While Republican legislative leaders have congratulated Sebelius on the nomination, they’ve also urged Congress to act quickly in its confirmation process.

“Kansas needs the United States Senate to act quickly on the Sebelius nomination so the transition of governors can occur and the critical work of reshaping state government to live within its means for years to come can proceed during the remaining few weeks of this legislative session,” Senate Majority Leader Derek Schmidt, R-Independence said.

Parkinson will succeed Sebelius as governor and serve out the remainder of her term, which expires in 2010. No word yet on a time line for the transition.

Parkinson has previously said he does not plan to run for governor.