Kathleen Sebelius Biography

U.S. Governor(1948–)
When Kathleen Sebelius, daughter of a former Ohio governor, was elected governor of Kansas, they became the first father-daughter governors in U.S. history.

Synopsis

Kathleen Sebelius was born May 15, 1948, in Cincinnati, Ohio. She was director of the Kansas Trial Lawyers Association (1977–1987). As a Democrat, Sebelius entered politics as a member of the Kansas House of Representatives for eight years, from 1986 to 1994. She then served as the Kansas Insurance Commissioner from 1994 to 2002. She was elected Governor of Kansas in 2002 and re-elected in 2006. In 2009, Sebelius joined the administration of President Barack Obama as the head of the Department of Health and Human Services. She resigned from the post in 2014.

Early Life

Politician and Governor of Kansas. Born Kathleen Gilligan on May 15, 1948, in Cincinnati, Ohio. She is the daughter of former Ohio Governor John J. Gilligan. When Kathleen was elected Governor of Kansas, they became the first father-daughter governors in U.S. history.

Raised Roman Catholic, Kathleen attended Summit Country Day School, a Roman Catholic secondary school. She graduated from Trinity Washington University, a Roman Catholic university in Washington, D.C., with a B.A. degree in 1970. She earned a Master's Degree in Public Administration from the University of Kansas in 1977.

Political Career

In 1974, Kathleen married K. Gary Sebelius, a federal magistrate judge and the son of a former Republican U.S. Representative, and moved to Kansas. They have two sons, Ned was born in 1982 and John was born in 1985.

Sebelius worked as an aide with the Kansas Department of Corrections (1975-77) and earned a Master's Degree in Public Administration from the University of Kansas in 1977. She was also the director of the Kansas Trial Lawyers Association (1977-87).

As a Democrat, Sebelius entered politics as a member of the Kansas House of Representatives for eight years, from 1986 to 1994. She then served as the Kansas Insurance Commissioner from 1994 to 2002. She was elected Governor of Kansas in 2002 and re-elected in 2006.

In 2009, Sebelius became the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. She had been nominated for the post by President Barack Obama. During her time in the position, Sebelius faced some challenges as the president's Affordable Care Act proved to be politically divisive. She especially came under fire in October 2013 after a new government website regarding health insurance, HealthCare.gov, debuted with serious technical problems. Many Republican lawmakers, including Paul Ryan, called for her to resign. She remained on the job until the following April. In her resignation address, Sebelius described her health care reform efforts as "the most meaningful work of my life." 

After leaving her position with the Obama administration, Sebelius was rumored to be a possible Democratic senatorial candidate in Kansas. She rejected this idea through a spokesperson, according to the Huffington Post, but remained involved in the ongoing health care debate through public speaking.

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