Kansas Gov. Sebelius: State must invest in its future

Kansas is better positioned to weather the current economic turmoil than many other states, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius said Wednesday.

That advantage could vanish, she warned, if the state backs off on investing in vocational education, transportation, biotechnology, aviation and alternative energy.

In a lunchtime issues forum sponsored by the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce, Sebelius acknowledged there's "no doubt we're in difficult economic times."

But, she added, "thankfully, we've been insulated" from devastating problems in states such as California and Florida.

"As of last month almost 800,000 jobs have been lost to the states around the country, to the point I'm feeling almost a little bit guilty when I talk to some of my colleagues," Sebelius said.

"The states that had huge housing booms are now seeing enormous busts and economies that are really suffering, really reeling," Sebelius said. "So far, we're not in a situation in Kansas of seeing that."

But she said Kansas has to continue to invest to stay ahead of the game.

"America is about to make a big pivot I think in the energy area," Sebelius said. "We have an enormous opportunity here in Kansas to be one of the leaders in that pivot."

She said Kansas is known in some circles as the "Saudi Arabia of wind" because of the state's potential to supply wind-generated electricity.

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