Path To Power
Sebelius' father, John Gilligan, was a one-term Democratic governor of Ohio, who considered a presidential run in 1976 (Sebelius is the first daughter of a governor ever to be elected to the same position). She spent much of her childhood in Cincinnati, Ohio, helping out on her father's city council campaigns and, by the time she was in college, Sebelius was campaigning to elect her father governor.
Sebelius graduated from Trinity College in Washington, D.C., in 1970. There, she met Gary Sebelius, a Georgetown Law student, whose father Keith Sebelius, was a Republican congressman from Kansas. They married in the Ohio governor's mansion in 1974 and moved to Topeka, Kansas. Gary is now a federal magistrate judge for the District of Kansas, and likes to refer to himself as the "First Dude."
Salon.com has called Sebelius "a passionate advocate of political moderation, as oxymoronic as that may seem." That's how the governor who twice vetoed a bill allowing Kansans to carry concealed weapons and supports abortion rights succeeds in a state that hasn't voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since 1964.
As Kansas governor, Sebelius developed a reputation as an efficient manager when she resolved a $1.1 billion budget deficit by ordering a thorough review of state government spending. She cut costs with measures such as reducing the state's motor vehicle pool and standardizing business cards. "While her administration suggested the initiatives led to $1 billion in savings, critics said the effort was more show than substance," the Associated Press reported.
Sebelius was an early Obama supporter, coming out in favor of the candidate in early 2008. She often represented him on the campaign trail, especially to women's groups.
Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) reportedly considered Sebelius as his vice presidential nominee in 2004.