Chris Biggs

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Chris Biggs
Biggs Pro Shot.jpg
30th Secretary of State of Kansas
In office
March 16, 2010 – January 10, 2011
Governor Mark Parkinson
Preceded by Ron Thornburgh
Succeeded by Kris Kobach
Kansas Securities Commissioner
In office
May 7, 2003 – March 16, 2010
Governor Kathleen Sebelius
Mark Parkinson
Preceded by David Brant
Succeeded by Steve Wassom (interim)
Personal details
Born (1959-10-14) October 14, 1959 (age 54)
Kansas City, MO
Political party Democratic Party
Alma mater Kansas State University University of Kansas
Profession Attorney
Religion Catholic

Chris Biggs (born October 14, 1959) was the 30th Secretary of State of Kansas. He was appointed on March 16, 2010 by Governor Mark Parkinson to replace Ron Thornburgh who resigned on February 15, 2010.[1] On Nov. 2nd, 2010, he was defeated for election to a full term by a wide margin.

Biggs Served as Kansas Securities Commissioner from 2003 until his appointment as Secretary of State.[2] Prior to that, he served as Geary County Prosecutor from 1989 to 2003 and as a public defender from 1983 to 1988.[3]

In 2002, he was the Democratic nominee for Attorney General, losing to Republican Phill Kline by less than 1%.[4]

Early life[edit]

Biggs was born on October 14, 1958 in Kansas City, Missouri—the youngest of five children. His family settled in Manhattan, Kansas when Chris was a child. His father, John, ran a local hardware store and served as a state restaurant inspector. His mother, Bernice, was a staff secretary at Kansas State University. He graduated from Manhattan High School in 1976.

Education[edit]

Biggs graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Kansas State University in 1980 with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work. He attended the University of Kansas School of Law, graduating in 1983.

Legal career[edit]

Upon graduation from law school, Biggs started working as a public defender for the 8th Judicial District in Kansas, based in Junction City. His first case was an argument in front of the Kansas Supreme Court.

In 1988, Biggs was elected to serve as the prosecutor for Geary County, and was subsequently re-elected three times.[5] In the 14 years he served as prosecutor, he tried over 20,000 cases; the most notable of these was the trial of Sabine Davidson. Davidson was charged with unintentional second-degree murder in the death of an 11 year-old boy who had been mauled by her three Rottweilers. Biggs’ prosecution of Davidson resulted in a conviction of second-degree murder and a sentence of 12 years in prison—the first conviction of its kind in the nation.[6] The trial earned Biggs the 1998 Kansas Outstanding Prosecutor Award.[7]

2002 election for Attorney General[edit]

In 2002, incumbent Attorney General of Kansas Carla Stovall chose not to seek re-election. Phill Kline, a former state legislator, emerged from a bruising Republican primary, defeating David Adkins; Biggs ran unopposed in the Democratic primary.[8]

Biggs was endorsed by the Mainstream Coalition, the Fraternal Order of Police, the Kansas City Star, the Wichita Eagle, former Attorney General Vern Miller, and the Topeka Capital-Journal.

Though Kline led in the polls throughout the race, the final tally was too close to call on election night; in the end, Kline won by 0.5% of the total vote (4,287 vote margin out of 821,107 cast).[9]

Kansas Securities Commissioner[edit]

In May 2003, Governor of Kansas Kathleen Sebelius named Biggs to be the Kansas Securities Commissioner, saying that Biggs “was a good fit.”[10] As Securities Commissioner, Biggs personally prosecuted Thomas Etheredge, founder of the failed Wild West World theme park north of Wichita, for securities fraud; Etheredge was convicted on seven of nine counts and sentenced to five years in prison.[11]

Secretary of State[edit]

In January 2010, Biggs announced his candidacy for Secretary of State. One month later, then-Secretary of State Ron Thornburgh announced his resignation to accept a position in the private sector. After interviewing 15 candidates, Governor Mark Parkinson chose Biggs to fill the vacancy.[12]

Biggs is only the second Democratic Secretary of State in Kansas since statehood, and the first in nearly 60 years; Larry Ryan was the other, serving from 1949-1951.[13]

2010 Election[edit]

Biggs faced a primary challenge for the Democratic nomination for Secretary of State by Kansas State Sen. Chris Steineger, whom he defeated with a 60%-40% victory in the August 3rd election.[14] On the Republican side, a three-way battle for the nomination was won by Kris Kobach, a University of Missouri-Kansas City law professor and former Kansas State Republican Party chairman; he defeated Shawnee County Elections Commissioner Elizabeth Ensley and JR Claeys, capturing 51% of the vote.[15]

On November 2, 2010, Kobach defeated Biggs by a margin of 59%-37%.[16]

Personal life[edit]

Biggs is an accomplished bluegrass musician. He has won several awards for his guitar-playing skills, including three straight third-place finishes at the National Flatpicking Championships held each year at the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, KS.[17] He was the Kansas Guitar Picking Champion in 1982, 1990, and 1994, as well as the Kansas Banjo Picking Champion in 1994.

He has been involved in several civic organizations: Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Rotary International, the Kansas County and District Attorneys Association, the Kansas Bar Association, and the Kansas Bluegrass Association.

Biggs lives in the Flint Hills with his son.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "03.16.10 : Governor Parkinson names Chris Biggs Kansas’ Secretary of State | Kansas Governor Mark Parkinson". Governor.ks.gov. Retrieved 2010-06-18. 
  2. ^ "Parkinson names Biggs SOS". CJOnline.com. Retrieved 2010-06-18. 
  3. ^ Hall, Mike (2002-10-30). "Biggs, Kline tout records". CJOnline.com. Retrieved 2010-06-18. 
  4. ^ By Chris GrenzThe Capital-Journal (2002-11-12). "Kline wins AG race; Biggs won't seek recount". CJOnline.com. Retrieved 2010-06-18. 
  5. ^ John Hanna (2007-12-18). "On list of potential A.G.s, Biggs ranks high". CJOnline.com. Retrieved 2010-06-18. 
  6. ^ "Report: Dog owner tried to flee country | Topeka Capital-Journal, The | Find Articles at BNET". Findarticles.com. 1999-07-14. Retrieved 2010-06-18. 
  7. ^ "Supreme Court Applicant: Christopher E Biggs « Kansas Supreme Court Blog". Kscblog.wordpress.com. 2008-12-15. Retrieved 2010-06-18. 
  8. ^ "Chris Biggs - Ballotpedia". Ballotpedia.us. Retrieved 2010-06-18. [dead link]
  9. ^ "Kansas Secretary of State - Text Only - Elections Statistics". Kssos.org. Retrieved 2010-06-18. 
  10. ^ By JOHN HANNAThe Associated Press (2003-05-30). "Sebelius taps Biggs for securities position". CJOnline.com. Retrieved 2010-06-18. 
  11. ^ "Etheredge sentenced to 5 years in prison | Crime & Courts | Wichita Eagle". Kansas.com. 2010-04-03. Retrieved 2010-06-18. 
  12. ^ CR Construction & Remodeling 785-312-0581 (2010-03-16). "Parkinson chooses securities commissioner as new Secretary of State / LJWorld.com". .ljworld.com. Retrieved 2010-06-18. 
  13. ^ Kansas. "Secretary of State of Kansas - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia". En.wikipedia.org. Retrieved 2010-06-18. 
  14. ^ http://www.kssos.org/elections/10elec/2010PrimaryOfficialResults.pdf
  15. ^ http://www.kssos.org/elections/10elec/2010PrimaryOfficialResults.pdf
  16. ^ http://www.kssos.org/ent/kssos_ent.html
  17. ^ "National Guitar Flat Pick Championship Archives - All Winners". Wvfest.com. 2008-05-17. Retrieved 2010-06-18. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Ron Thornburgh
Secretary of State of Kansas
2010–2011
Succeeded by
Kris Kobach