Gov. Parkinson and his wife donate $1,000 to Toys for Tots

TOPEKA – The Governor and First Lady announced Monday morning that they were donating $1,000 of their personal funds to Toys for Tots in Wichita.

“We’re asking all of the generous people in the Wichita community to step forward very quickly with financial contributions and with additional contributions of gifts so hopefully this can all be replenish by the end of the week,” said Gov. Mark Parkinson, a Democrat.

Parkinson and his wife Stacy are both originally from Wichita.

Sometime between 4 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. Sunday, thieves broke into the warehouse of the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots and took more than 1,000 toys.

They apparently picked a lock on the barrier gate, threw open an overhead door and ransacked box after box meticulously packed and readied for distribution.

“That’s really about as low as you can get,” Parkinson said.

He did not hold out hope that the stolen gifts would be returned.

“I’m not sure any sort of reason would matter to people like that,” he said. “The mind set of stealing gifts intended for poor kids is so disconnected with any sense of reason that I don’t think we can reason with these folks.”

Parkinson did think that the Wichita community would come together and replace the stolen toys.

“It’s a terrific community, it’s a very giving community,” he said.

More information on the program and locations of drop-off sites in the area is avalible at www.toysfortots.org.

Governor calls for national energy standards

Gov. Mark Parkinson said today that it will take “almost a Marshall Plan” to develop green energy in America.

Parkinson called for national standards to require renewable energy use and subsidies and regulatory changes favoring environmentally friendly energy sources, especially wind power.

He said in the last five years, Kansas has gone from essentially no wind power to the No. 7 producer in the country, with more than 1,000 megawatts of wind capacity now on line.

But taking wind power nationwide will require improvements to the transmission system and other actions by the federal government, he said.

Parkinson made his remarks to the annual meeting of The Energy Council, a group of elected officials and energy company executives from energy-producing states, Canada and Venezuela.

Some representatives from other states were cool to the idea of federal intervention.

Alaska state Rep. Craig Johnson, R-Anchorage, said the federal government can’t supply solutions that would help all states.

Alaska, for example, has its highest power demand during winter months when the nights are long and winds are generally calm, he said.

“A universal fix is not the answer,” he said. “It’s got to be a local fix.”

Senate confirms Sebelius as HHS secretary

The U.S. Senate voted Tuesday to confirm Gov. Kathleen Sebelius as secretary of Health and Human Services.

The vote, 65 to 31, came just before 6 p.m. in Washington D.C. after an all-day debate.

Both Kansas senators, Republicans Pat Roberts and Sam Brownback, voted for Sebelius, a Democrat.

Last week, Brownback had said the governor’s veto of a bill aimed at tighetning regulations of late-term abortions made it harder to support her. Sebelius had vetoed similar bills in previous years.

The move means Kansas is likely to have a new governor when the Kansas Legislature returns Wednesday for a wrap-up session.

It’s hard to say if Sebelius could hand the reins of power over to Lt. Gov. Mark Parkinson tonight or not – her office is keeping mum on its plans.

Tiahrt urges Lt. Gov. Parkinson to approve Holcomb coal plants

Congressman Todd Tiahrt, R-Goddard, sent a letter to Lt. Gov. Mark Parkinson, a Democrat, on Tuesday urging Parkinson to support a bill that would allow two coal-fired plants to be built in western Kansas.

With Gov. Kathleen Sebelius likely leaving in the near future to become the health and human services secretary, Parkinson could decide if HB 2014 is vetoed or signed.

Tiahrt is running for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., who is running for governor. Read More »

Parkinson ready to lead Kansas, but won’t run in 2010

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TOPEKA – The state’s future governor, Lt. Gov. Mark Parkinson, acknowledged Tuesday that most Kansans did not know who he is but added “I want them to be assured that I’m ready to serve when that time comes.”

Parkinson, a Democrat, was elected to the office with Gov. Kathleen Sebelius in 2005 and is poised to finish out her term. Monday, President Barack Obama announced Sebelius as his pick for Health and Human Services secretary.

Parkinson said he did not know what timeline the nomination process would follow. “It’s entirely possible that the governor could remain as governor until the end of the session,” he said.

He also reiterated a prior statement that he would not run for governor in 2010 and said there have been no formal discussions with anyone about who would succeed him as the lieutenant governor.

Because Sebelius had been consider as both a vice presidential candidate and a potential cabinet pick in the fall, Parkinson said he had worked closely with the budget office as it crafted this year’s proposal.

“The priorities that the governor has are my priorities,” he said adding that he thought the transition would be “seamless.”

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.

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