JOAN FINNEY was born in Topeka, Kansas; she earned her bachelor's degree in economic history from Washburn University of Topeka. She served on the staff of former U.S. Senator Frank Carlson in his Washington, D.C. and Topeka offices in 1953-1969. She was commissioner of elections of Shawnee County in 1970-1972. She worked as administrative assistant to the mayor of Topeka in 1973-1974 and was acting director of the Topeka Housing Authority. She was elected state treasurer in 1974 and was reelected in 1976, 1978, 1982, and 1986. She was elected Governor of Kansas in January 1991.