Facebook Twitter

Ex-governor of Kansas Joan Finney dies at 76

SHARE Ex-governor of Kansas Joan Finney dies at 76

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Joan Finney, whose populist beliefs and gift for connecting with voters helped her become the first woman governor of Kansas, died Saturday. She was 76.

Finney's daughter, Mary Holladay, said the former governor died at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Topeka, where she was taken Friday because of complications from liver cancer.

Finney, a Democrat, served a single term as the state's chief executive in 1991-95 after 16 years as state treasurer. She did not seek re-election in 1994 and lost a U.S. Senate primary two years later.

Finney was best known for making personal connections with the people she met during her campaigns and government duties.

"She really enjoyed being a public servant," Gov. Bill Graves said. "You could just see how she lit up when she was around people."

Finney fought to let voters put proposed laws and constitutional amendments on the ballot without going through the Legislature, but lawmakers rejected her proposals to amend the state Constitution to allow initiatives and referendums.