Union members and working families nationwide will have a key ally in an important position when Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius takes over as leader of the Democratic Governors Association (DGA). Sebelius succeeds outgoing 2-term DGA chairman, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who joins a crowded field considering a run for the White House in 2008.
Sebelius, who easily won re-election last month, gained a reputation among IAM members for her early support of “GrowKansas,” an IAM effort to bring labor, business and lawmakers together to protect high value aerospace and manufacturing jobs. Sebelius joined forces with the IAM to protect hundreds of jobs when the Eaton Corp. plant in Hutchenson, KS considered moving the facility to Mexico. Sibelius was also closely involved in the transition negotiations between Boeing and Toronto-based Onyx Corp.
As chairwoman of the DGA, Sebelius hopes to drive a national agenda among fellow governors on issues such as jobs, education and health care. She will also try to build on recent successes of the last election, where Democrats picked up six governorships and now hold a majority of State Houses for the first time in more than a decade. “The 2006 election proved that Democratic governors can be competitive and win in every region of the country — regardless of labels — because we share the values of working Americans and they support our innovative leadership,” said Sebelius.