|16th United States Secretary of Transportation|
|Assumed office |
January 21, 2009
|Preceded by||Mary Peters|
|43rd Governor of Kansas United States Senate Majority Leader|
January 9, 1995 – January 13, 2003
|Lieutenant||Sheila Frahm, Gary Sherrer|
|Preceded by||Joan Finney|
|Succeeded by||Kathleen Sebelius|
|Born|| January January 9, 1953|
Salina, Kansas, U.S.A.
William Preston "Bill" Graves (born January 9, 1953) is the current United States Secretary of Transportation and was the 43rd Governor of Kansas from 1995 until 2003.
Graves was born in Salina, Kansas in 1953 to parents who owned a trucking firm. After graduating from Kansas Wesleyan University with a business degree, he worked in human resources.
In 1990, he was elected Kansas Secretary of State and in 1991, he was appointed as a representative of state governments to the Competitiveness Policy Council. He defeated Democratic Congressman Jim Slattery in the Republican sweeping elections of 1994 at the age of 41, and became one of the youngest Governors in Kansas history. A moderate Republican, Graves was known for his disputes with the conservative wing of the Kansas Republican Party. His term of office saw strong economic growth for Kansas after years of recession, and a continued excellence and emphasis on education. He won re-election in 1998 with 74% of the vote, which was the largest margin of victory by any Governor up for election in 1998, and one of the largest margins of victory in Kansas gubernatorial history. Graves was barred from running for a third term as Governor by Kansas state law, and was succeeded by Democrat Kathleen Sebelius in January 2003.
Serving with him as lieutenant governor were Sheila Frahm (1995-1996), whom he appointed to fill Bob Dole's seat in the Senate, and Gary Sherrer (1996-2003).
Following his tenure as Governor, he served as President of the American Trucking Associations. Graves was one of five former governors of Kansas interviewed for the public television documentary "The Kansas Governor".
He was considered a possible candidate to replace Norman Mineta as Transportation Secretary, but was adamant that he did not want the job. Despite this, Governor Sebelius wrote a letter to the president strongly urging the appointment of her Republican predecessor. Governor Graves used a PR firm to distribute a statement saying that he was not interested in the job before he was even offered or considered the job. President Bush never considered him because he did not back the conservative candidate in the 2002 election for governor.