|42nd Governor of Kansas|
January 14, 1991 – January 9, 1995
|Preceded by||Mike Hayden|
|Succeeded by||Bill Graves|
|33rd Treasurer of Kansas|
January 6, 1975 – January 14, 1991
|Preceded by||Tom Van Sickle|
|Succeeded by||Sally Thompson|
|Born||February 12, 1925|
Topeka, Kansas, U.S.
|Died||July 28, 2001 (aged 76)|
Topeka, Kansas, U.S.
|Political party||Republican (Before 1974)|
|Education||Washburn University (BA)|
Joan Finney (February 12, 1925 – July 28, 2001) was an American politician who served as the 42nd Governor of Kansas from 1991 to 1995, the first woman to hold that office. She had previously served four terms as the Kansas State Treasurer from 1975 to 1991, the first woman to hold that office as well.
She was born Joan Marie McInroy in Topeka, Kansas, the daughter of Leonard and Mary Sands McInroy. Her father abandoned the family shortly after her birth. She graduated from high school in Manhattan, Kansas in 1942. In 1957, she married Spencer Finney, Jr. and had three children, Sarah "Sally" Finney Timm, Richard Finney, and Mary Finney Holladay. In 1978, she graduated from Washburn University with a degree in economic history.
Early political career
From 1953 to 1969, Finney served on the staff of Republican U.S. Senator Frank Carlson. From 1970 to 1972, she served as Commissioner of Elections for Shawnee County, Kansas. In 1972, running as a Republican, she was an unsuccessful candidate for a U.S. House seat in Kansas's 2nd congressional district. She also served as a Special Assistant to Topeka Mayor Bill McCormick.
After switching her political affiliation from Republican to Democrat, she served as the first female Kansas State Treasurer from 1975 to 1991. Her staff her first term as treasurer included Nancy Claggett and Kathleen Boston Cole McCune as deputies.
After upsetting former Governor John W. Carlin in the 1990 Democratic primary for governor, Finney defeated incumbent Republican Mike Hayden in the general election becoming the first woman to defeat an incumbent governor in a general election in the United States.
In addition to being the State of Kansas's first female governor, Finney was Kansas' first Roman Catholic governor, and also one of the few pro-life Democratic governors of her time. Taking office at age 65, she was also Kansas' oldest governor until Laura Kelly was inaugurated at age 68 in 2019.
Following her term as governor, in 1996, Finney ran for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Bob Dole, but was defeated in the Democratic primary by Jill Docking, who gained 74% of the primary vote, and subsequently lost the general election to Sam Brownback.
- Joan Finney at Find a Grave
- Publications concerning Kansas Governor Finney's administration available via the KGI Online Library
Tom Van Sickle
| Treasurer of Kansas
| Governor of Kansas
|Party political offices|
| Democratic nominee for Governor of Kansas