TOPEKA, Kan. - Mark Parkinson, Kansas' 45th Governor, is the tallest Governor we've ever had, and possibly the brightest. And he's proving, during his short tenure, to be one of the best. During the worst state budget crisis in memory, Parkinson is being praised by both sides of the aisle for stepping up to the plate and making unpopular budget cuts.
Parkinson seems to be the consummate anti-politician. He's not running for anything, so he's not asking for, or taking, campaign donations. He has his own money, so he doesn't panhandle for freebies like some politicians. He doesn't make wiseacre remarks to belittle the opposition. He just wants to fix things.
Parkinson's deepest roots are Democratic. His family in Scott City, Kansas was always active in Democratic politics. Parkinson's father chose the Republican party---perhaps just to be a maverick. And his father grew to a powerful position in Washington in Republican politics. Growing up, Parkinson saw both parties up close.
As a WSU student, Parkinson threw down the gauntlet and challenged longtime Republican State Representative Ben Foster in the Republican primary. Foster no doubt scoffed at the young upstart. But Parkinson walked. And walked some more. And knocked on more doors, and more doors----the Wichita Eagle called his efforts "indefagitable". He barely lost to Rep. Ben Foster. And Parkinson now acknowledges that had he won that race, it would have "ruined his life."