Mark Parkinson

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Mark Parkinson
45th Governor of Kansas
In office
April 28, 2009 – January 10, 2011
LieutenantTroy Findley
Preceded byKathleen Sebelius
Succeeded bySam Brownback
47th Lieutenant Governor of Kansas
In office
January 4, 2007 – April 28, 2009
GovernorKathleen Sebelius
Preceded byJohn E. Moore
Succeeded byTroy Findley
Chair of the Kansas Republican Party
In office
January 1999 – January 2003
Preceded bySteve Abrams
Succeeded byDennis Jones
Member of the Kansas Senate
from the 23rd district
In office
January 11, 1993 – January 13, 1997
Preceded byRoss Doyen
Succeeded byKarin Brownlee
Member of the Kansas House of Representatives
from the 14th district
In office
January 14, 1991 – January 11, 1993
Preceded byBettie Shumway
Succeeded byKay O'Connor
Personal details
Mark Vincent Parkinson

(1957-06-24) June 24, 1957 (age 64)
Wichita, Kansas, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic (since 2006)
Other political
Republican (before 2006)
Spouse(s)Stacy Abbott
Alma materWichita State University
University of Kansas (JD)
WebsiteOfficial website (archived)

Mark Vincent Parkinson (born June 24, 1957) is an American businessman and former politician serving as head of the American Health Care Association (AHCA) and National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL). He served as the 47th Lieutenant Governor of Kansas from 2007 to 2009 and the 45th Governor of Kansas from 2009 until 2011. He was also a state legislator.[1]

Early life, family, education, and career[edit]

Parkinson was born in 1957 in Wichita, Kansas, to a family with roots in Scott City, where Parkinson still owns a farm. Parkinson’s father, Hank, worked in advertising, public relations and political consulting. He married his wife Stacy (née Abbott) in 1983. They have three children.[1]

Parkinson graduated from Wichita Heights High School. In 1980, he graduated summa cum laude from Wichita State University. In 1984, he graduated first in his class at the University of Kansas Law School. Parkinson won the national moot court championship during law school.[1][2]

Parkinson immediately entered private practice after graduation. He was a founding partner of Parkinson, Foth & Orrick in 1986. In 1996, Parkinson left his law practice to develop elder care facilities in Kansas and Missouri. His wife was an attorney. In 2006, Parkinson and his wife sold two care facilities in Shawnee.[1][3]


Parkinson served in the Kansas House of Representatives from 1991 to 1993. He served in the Kansas Senate from 1993 to 1997. The districts he represented included Olathe, Kansas. During his time in the legislature, he helped write the state’s death penalty law. He also wrote legislation to facilitate the consolidation of the Wyandotte County government. He stood out for opposing a bill that would have banned flag burning. Parkinson declined to run for reelection to the state senate in 1996.[4][5][6]

From 1999 to 2003, he was chairman of the Kansas Republican Party. He secured this role in part from the support of Gov. William Graves. In 2004, he served as chairman of the Shawnee Area Chamber of Commerce, and in 2005, served as the "Chair of the Chairs" of the six chambers of commerce in Johnson County.[4][7][6]

In May 2006, Governor Kathleen Sebelius announced that Parkinson had switched parties and was her running mate for her reelection campaign, succeeding retiring Lieutenant Governor John E. Moore, also a former Republican who had switched parties shortly before he joined a ticket with Sebelius. Parkinson's business experience and track record of working with both Republicans and Democrats were the reasons Sebelius stated for choosing him.[4][8][1][9][7]

As lieutenant governor, Parkinson focused a significant amount of time on energy issues. He served as co-chairman of the Kansas Energy Council. He also served on the Wind Working Group. In 2008, Parkinson participated in a delegation of lieutenant governors on a trade mission to China. As chairman of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Advisory Group, Parkinson helped decide how to spend federal stimulus funds allocated to Kansas.[9][10][11]

In March 2009, President Barack Obama announced Governor Sebelius as his nominee for United States Secretary of Health and Human Services. Sebelius resigned as governor of Kansas following her confirmation on April 28, 2009; Parkinson was sworn in as governor the same day. Parkinson stated he would not be a candidate in the 2010 election and was succeeded by Sam Brownback.[12][13][14][1][6]

During his time as governor, Parkinson had to implement spending cuts and tax increases in order to manage a budget deficit. Under his leadership, the state developed a comprehensive energy policy including net metering, and a 10-year plan for maintaining transportation infrastructure. Parkinson implemented a smoking ban that included public places; taxicabs and limousines; common areas in public and private buildings, condominiums and other multiple-residential facilities and entries to most buildings. Parkinson opposed moving detainees from Guantanamo Bay. Parkinson signed legislation to create a private cause of action for victims of child pornography. Parkinson lobbied the governors of Missouri and Nebraska to preserve the Big 12 Conference. He led a trade mission to Taiwan and another to mainland China.[15][16][7]


Parkinson and his wife, Stacy, have been involved in several campaigns to benefit non-profit and public organizations. The Parkinsons led a $4.29 million fundraising campaign for Sunflower House in 2002. They led another fundraising drive for SAFEHOME in 2005. Together with two other couples, the Parkinsons co-chaired the University of Kansas’ fundraising efforts from 2012 to 2016. $1.5 billion was raised under their leadership.[17][18][19][20]

As of 2020, Parkinson is president and chief executive officer of the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living. The group represented about 9,000 facilities when Parkinson joined the association. Parkinson helped heal a major rift in the AHCA/NCAL and brought numerous providers who left to form their own association back into the fold. As of 2020, AHCA/NCAL has about 14,000 members.[21] [22]


Citing his bipartisan support and ability to move the state forward in challenging economic times, The Topeka Capital-Journal named Parkinson "Kansan of the Year" in 2009.[7]

In late 2010, Parkinson was honored by Kansas Advocates for Better Care for his work in elder care. Parkinson received the organization's second annual Caring Award, which is given to recognize exemplary contributions of leadership in providing quality care for frail elders and persons with disabilities in Kansas.[23]

As president and CEO of AHCA/NCAL, Parkinson was recognized by CEO Update as a “Top Association CEO” of 2013. He was named to Modern Healthcare’s “100 Most Influential People in Healthcare in 2015 and 2020. Parkinson has been recognized as a “Top Lobbyist” by The Hill in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020.[24][25][26][27][28][29][30][31][32][33]

Electoral history[edit]

Kansas State House District 14 election, 1990[34]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Mark Parkinson 2,880 71.73 -
Democratic Michael R. Norlen 1,135 28.27 -


  1. ^ a b c d e f Mizell, Vanessa (15 March 2011). "New at the top: Mark Parkinson's accidental career". The Washington Post. Retrieved 27 January 2021.
  2. ^ Paget, Paget. "FORMER KANSAS GOVERNOR, INSURANCE LEADER EARN LAW SCHOOL'S DISTINGUISHED ALUMNI AWARD". The University of Kansas. Retrieved 27 January 2021.
  3. ^ Roberts, Rob (2 July 2006). "Parkinson tries to throw hat back into nursing home ring". Kansas City Business Journal. Retrieved 27 January 2021.
  4. ^ a b c Twiddy, David (2006-05-31). "Kan. Gov. Selects Running Mate for Race". The Washington Post. Associated Press. Retrieved 2009-02-19.
  5. ^ Carpenter, Tim (18 February 2010). "Senate to debate death penalty". Topeka Capital-Journal. Retrieved 27 January 2021.
  6. ^ a b c Carpenter, Tim (28 April 2009). "Parkinson becomes 45th governor HIDE CAPTION Mark Parkinson, surrounded by his family (sons Alex and Sam, wife Stacy and daughter Kit), took the oath of office Tuesday night from state Supreme Court Chief Justice Bob Davis. See more photos at Spotted. ANN WILLIAMSON/THE CAPITAL-JOURNAL". The Topeka Capital-Journal. Retrieved 27 January 2021.
  7. ^ a b c d Carlson, James (26 December 2009). "Meet C-J's Kansan of the Year". The Topeka Capital-Journal. Retrieved 27 January 2021.
  8. ^ Moon, Chris (2006-06-02). "Parkinson's party switch causes debate". The Topeka Capital-Journal. Archived from the original on 2009-05-02. Retrieved 2009-02-19.
  9. ^ a b Carpenter, Tim (3 March 2009). "Lt. Gov. awaits transition HIDE CAPTION Lt. Gov. Mark Parkinson said he isn't planning any major policy or staff changes once Gov. Kathleen Sebelius resigns to take a Cabinet position. Thad Allton". Topeka Capital-Journal. Retrieved 27 January 2021.
  10. ^ Staff (15 November 2006). "Sebelius appoints Lt. Gov.-elect to energy post". Wichita Business Journal. Retrieved 27 January 2021.
  11. ^ Gordon, Elana (17 January 2008). "Kansas Plans for Wind Energy". KCUR 89.3. Retrieved 27 January 2021.
  12. ^ "Obama Taps Kansas Gov. Sebelius as Health Secretary". 2009-03-01. Archived from the original on 2009-05-04. Retrieved 2009-04-29.
  13. ^ Goldstein, David; Klepper, David (2009-04-28). "Sebelius sworn in to Cabinet, Parkinson becomes Kansas governor". The Kansas City Star. Retrieved 2009-04-29.
  14. ^ Baker, Peter; Pear, Robert (2009-02-19). "Kansas Governor Seen as Top Choice in Health Post". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-02-19.
  15. ^ Heck, Josh (28 October 2009). "Gov. Parkinson to lead trade mission to China". Wichita Business Journal. Retrieved 27 January 2021.
  16. ^ Milburn, John (29 October 2009). "Taiwan may ease beef restrictions". The Wichita Eagle. Retrieved 27 January 2021.
  17. ^ Sunflower House
  18. ^ SAFEHOME
  19. ^ University of Kansas capital campaign
  20. ^ Raising more than $1.5 billion
  21. ^ Lehman, Katherine (2010-09-13). "AHCA/NCAL Names Kansas Governor Mark Parkinson as Next President and CEO". American Health Care Association. Retrieved 2011-01-17. The nation’s largest long term care association, the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), today announced that Kansas Governor Mark Parkinson has been selected as its next President and CEO. Governor Parkinson will begin his term with AHCA/NCAL in January following his term in office.
  22. ^ "AHCANCAL Elects New Board of Governors, Directors at Annual Convention in Washington, DC". AHCA Press Office. Retrieved 20 January 2015.
  23. ^ Lehman, Katherine (2010-10-18). "AHCA/NCAL Incoming President & CEO Presented Elder Care Award". American Health Care Association. Retrieved 2011-02-04. Kansas Governor Mark Parkinson, the incoming President & CEO of the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) was honored yesterday by the Kansas Advocates for Better Care (KABC). Governor Parkinson received the organization’s second annual Caring Award.
  24. ^ Clara, Ritger (30 September 2013). "Parkinson Focuses on Need for Long-Term Health Care Solutions". National Journal. Retrieved 20 January 2015.
  25. ^ "100 Most Influential People in Healthcare – 2015". Retrieved 2019-02-06.
  26. ^ "Top Lobbyists 2013". The Hill. 13 October 2013. Retrieved 20 January 2015.
  27. ^ "Top Lobbyists 2014: Associations". The Hill. Retrieved 20 January 2015.
  28. ^ Dickson, Rebecca (2015-10-28). "Top Lobbyists 2015: Associations". TheHill. Retrieved 2019-02-06.
  29. ^ Dickson, Rebecca (2016-11-02). "Top Lobbyists 2016: Associations". TheHill. Retrieved 2019-02-06.
  30. ^ Perks, Ashley (2017-11-01). "Top Lobbyists 2017: Associations". TheHill. Retrieved 2019-02-06.
  31. ^ Perks, Ashley (2018-12-13). "Top Lobbyists 2018". TheHill. Retrieved 2019-02-06.
  32. ^ Staff (12 December 2019). "The Hill's Top Lobbyists 2019". The Hill. Retrieved 27 January 2021.
  33. ^ Staff (12 October 2020). "The Hill's Top Lobbyists 2020". The Hill. Retrieved 27 January 2021.
  34. ^ "KS State House 014". KSSOS. 1990-11-06. Retrieved 2009-11-06.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by Lieutenant Governor of Kansas
Succeeded by
Preceded by Governor of Kansas
Succeeded by