Joan M. Finney: The Independent Institute

The Power of Independent Thinking

Joan M. Finney
Joan M. Finney

Joan M. Finney was the 42nd Governor of Kansas from 1991 to 1995, the first woman to hold that office. She had previously served four terms as the Kansas State Treasurer from 1975 to 1991, the first woman to hold that office as well. Kansas' first Roman Catholic governor, she was also one of the few pro-life Democratic governors of her time. She received a B.A. in economic history from Washburn University.

From 1953 to 1969, Finney served on the staff of Republican U.S. Senator Frank Carlson. From 1970 to 1972, she served as Commissioner of Elections for Shawnee County, Kansas. In 1972, running as a Republican, she was an unsuccessful candidate for a U.S. House seat in Kansas's 2nd congressional district. She also served as a Special Assistant to Topeka Mayor Bill McCormick. After switching her political affiliation from Republican to Democrat, she served as the first female Kansas State Treasurer from 1975 to 1991.

Following her term as governor, in 1996, Finney ran for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Robert Dole, but was defeated in the Democratic primary by Jill Docking, who gained 74% of the primary vote, and subsequently lost the general election to Sam Brownback.