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The Associated Press September 13, 2010, 4:39PM ET

Kan. gov to lead health care group when term ends

Kansas Gov. Mark Parkinson announced Monday that he has landed a job as head of a health care and assisted living group to begin after his term ends in January.

Parkinson, who worked in the nursing home industry before becoming lieutenant governor, will become president and CEO of the Washington, D.C.-based American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living.

"I have always intended to return to the business of caring for our senior citizens with dignity," Parkinson said in a statement. "My wife Stacy and I share a passion for this cause, and we have been fortunate to make a difference in the lives of thousands of senior citizens and their families."

The Democrat became governor in April 2009 when Kathleen Sebelius resigned to become U.S. secretary of Health and Human Services. Republican Sam Brownback and Democrat Tom Holland are running in November to replace Parkinson, who decided not to seek re-election.

The organization Parkinson joins represents more than 11,000 facilities, both for-profit and not-for-profit ones, which provide care for more than 3.5 million people. He will succeed Bruce Yarwood in the post, who announced his plans to step down earlier this year.

Spokesman for the organization Greg Crist said Parkinson was selected for the post after a national interview process that included more than three dozen candidates.

Robert Van Dyk, chairman of AHCA's board of directors, said Parkinson's experience in state government and the health care industry were factors in selecting him.

"America's long-term care needs will only grow in the coming years as baby boomers age," Van Dyk said in a statement. "A policymaker who knows how Washington works and as the owner and operator of several skilled nursing and assisted living facilities, Mark will be that measured voice to speak on the elderly's behalf."

Before becoming lieutenant governor under Sebelius, Parkinson owned several facilities in Kansas and Missouri. He was CEO of Ad Astra Development LLC in Olathe and chairman of the board, founder and developer of Allen Park Inc., Allen Park Two Inc., and Allen Park III Inc.

Parkinson's path followed that of another former governor, Bill Graves, who landed a job heading a national organization after his term expired. Graves became president and CEO of the American Trucking Association after eight years in office. His family had owned a trucking company in central Kansas for a number of years.

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