Leave it to a Trinity Woman to get a renowned U.S. Senator to do something he doesn’t normally do. Senator Barack Obama paid the highest compliment to Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius (Trinity ’70) last night when he stopped by a small gathering of her friends to applaud the accomplishments of our Trinity alumna. Senator Obama said that his schedule is such that he must normally limit his appearances to candidates for the U.S. House and Senate, and not state offices. But he made an exception for Governor Sebelius because he admires her leadership so much.
Senator Obama ticked off just some of the accomplishments of Kathleen Sebelius: named among the five best governors in the nation by TIME Magazine; elected by a strong majority as a Democratic governor in a heavily Republican state; forged strong political alliances across party lines; took the state from fiscal crisis to a health surplus; improved schools and higher education; bravely tackled health care issues. Senator Obama noted that while gender, like race, should not have to be an issue in supporting candidates for public office, the reality is that very few political women have won the respect and support of citizens across the spectrum in quite the same way that this “State CEO” Governor Sebelius has achieved.
The Trinity alumnae in the room — who were out in force, particularly the Classes of 1969 and 1970 — beamed with pride for their friend and classmate who has achieved so much.
When Governor Sebelius stepped forward to say a few words, she radiated confidence as well as a strong sense of purpose. In an age of so many phony politicians, she is genuine, a good listener with a big heart and broad vision about how her leadership can help to change lives.
One of Trinity’s most important goals is the education of women for public leadership. Governor Kathleen Sebelius exemplifies the leadership goals of her alma mater.