Kansas may be torn but it should trust Gov. Sebelius

Kansas is no stranger to controversy, to being pulled in opposing directions. During the Civil War, Bleeding Kansas, as the state was called, was trapped in the middle of the country - at the tender border between the Confederacy and the Union - and regularly a witness to bloody raids and battles over slaves.

Today, the state finds itself caught at the intersection of an aging, dirty energy habit and a clean, prosperous energy future. In that sense, the differing visions of the state’s legislature and the Governor are a microcosm of the national (and global) debate on climate and energy.

In an op-ed today, written on behalf of the editorial board of The Wichita Eagle, the local paper (in a city that typically keeps the pulse of the heart of truly red conservativism) essentially declared its support for the bold energy vision of Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, articulated clearly in her State of the State address earlier this week.

Gov. Sebelius has devoted her most recent political endeavors to moving Kansas to the forefront of energy pioneers, despite the kicking and wrestling of some internal forces stuck clinging to the past. But if the legislators really know what’s best for the state, they will work with Sebelius to realize her vision, stated the paper’s editorial board.

What is her vision?

[To] again lead an American transformation — lead America to energy security by tapping our fertile resources, our workers, and the ingenuity of Kansas entrepreneurs. We can — and we must — reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and increase our economic competitiveness by using our natural resources.

Overall, I got a better feel for Sebelius’ earlier policies on education than her idea of Kansas’ energy future from the op-ed. But what I also took away from the piece is that Sebelius is a courageous and trustworthy leader for the cause. And some of our strongest leaders emerge when conflict keeps them on their heels, but they perservere.

Hats off to The Wichita Eagle editorial board for recognizing Sebelius’ (and Kansas’) potential and for coming out in support of a leader willing to take worthwhile political risks.

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