John Carlin, the state's youngest 20th-century governor, was born in Salina on August 3, 1940. He grew up on the family’s dairy farm, which had been homesteaded four generations earlier by his mother’s family. He graduated from Lindsborg Rural High School and Kansas State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in dairy science. He returned to Saline county to manage the family farm.
Carlin was elected to the state legislature in 1970 as a Democrat in a primarily Republican state. He served 4 terms in the Kansas House of Representatives from 1971-1979. In 1975 Carlin was elected assistant minority leader and later minority leader. Carlin was elected Speaker of the House of Representatives in 1977, only the second Democrat to serve in that position at that point in Kansas History.
In 1979, he moved from the House of Representatives to the Governor's office after defeating the Republican incumbent. Four years later, Governor Carlin became the first person to win a second four-year term. A constitutional change in 1974 created a four-year term for the governor but it also limited service to two consecutive four-year terms. This prevented Carlin from running for a third term as Governor in 1986.
In 1987 Carlin served as a visiting professor of public administration and international trade at Wichita State University. He later served as president of Midwest Superconductivity, Inc. in Lawrence. In 1995, President Bill Clinton appointed Carlin as the 8th Archivist of the United States, a position he held until 2005. He is now a Visiting Professor, Executive-in-Residence, in the Political Science Department at Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas.
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People - Notable Kansans - Carlin, John William.