Parkinson demonstrates political landscape changed
Evidence of the state political landscape changed with the resignation of Kathleen Sebelius to become part of President Barack Obama’s cabinet was not long in coming. One week after being sworn in as governor, Mark Parkinson announced a deal had been struck with Sunflower Electric Power Corp., which will allow the construction of a coal-fired generating plant near Holcomb. The deal limits construction to one 895-megawatt plant instead of the two 700-megawatt plants proposed in bills Sebelius vetoed last year.
Sebelius attempted to find a compromise with Sunflower last year but didn’t meet with success. Perhaps because of new positions or a fresh start, a deal was possible under Parkinson.
Parkinson has already announced he will not run for re-election in 2010. Such a lame-duck status is generally seen as a liability, but it could well be that it makes Parkinson a more effective governor.
As one Democratic lawmaker noted with approval, Parkinson seems to be popular with Republicans. It’s not surprising the man who was once chairman of the state GOP should be looked on more favorably than someone plucked to join the new president’s administration. They probably correctly expect his views to be closer to theirs.
At the same time, Parkinson, the non-candidate, won’t have to tread softly out of concern for alarming fellow Democrats.
Parkinson boldly demonstrated he is his own man. It should be expected that his identity is one of a governor with much more in common with many Republican lawmakers and a desire to work with them to leave a record of achievement in his short tenure of office.