New Leadership

New Leadership
By Terry Humphrey
On Monday, both parties in the Kansas House and Senate elected their leadership for the next two and four years, respectively. These leaders, elected by their peers in each chamber, will shape the Legislature in many ways, especially through committee assignments, including chairmanships.  We expect committee chairs to be announced in the next week or so. Gov. Brownback met briefly with the new leadership teams to offer his congratulations.

House Elections. In the House, Rep. Ron Ryckman Jr., R-Olathe, defeated Rep. Russ Jennings, R-Lakin, to win the top spot of Speaker. Rep. Don Hineman, R-Dighton, was elected Majority Leader, and Rep. Scott Schwab, R-Olathe, was elected Speaker Pro Tem. Rep. Tom Phillips, R-Manhattan, was elected Assistant Majority Leader, while Rep. Kent Thompson, R-Iola, won Majority Whip. Rep. Susan Concannon, R-Beloit, was elected Caucus Chair.

The House Democratic caucus narrowly elected Rep. Jim Ward, D-Wichita, for Minority Leader over incumbent Rep. Tom Burroughs, D-Kansas City. Assistant Minority Leader went to Rep. Stan Frownfelter, D-Kansas City. Rep. Barbara Ballard, D-Lawrence, was re-elected Democratic Caucus Chair, and Rep. Ed Trimmer, D-Winfield, was elected Caucus Whip.

Senate Elections. In the Senate, incumbent President Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, soundly defeated (23-7) Sen. Ty Masterson, R-Andover, to lead the Senate, and Sen. Jeff Longbine, R-Emporia, was elected Vice President. Sen. Jim Denning, R-Overland Park, was unopposed for Majority Leader. Topeka Sen. Vicki Schmidt was elected Assistant Majority Leader, while Sen. Elaine Bowers, R-Concordia, was elected Senate GOP Whip.

Senate Democrats re-elected Sen. Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka as Minority Leader, and fellow Topekan Sen. Laura Kelly defeated Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin, for Assistant Minority Leader. Marci Francisco, D-Lawrence, was elected Agenda Chair; Sen. Oletha Faust-Goudeau, D-Wichita, Minority Whip; and Sen. Tom Hawk, D-Manhattan, Caucus Chair.

Also on Monday, Governor Brownback announced that Revenue Secretary Nick Jordan will leave his post to lead the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisers. The new Secretary of Revenue will be Sam Williams, retired CFO and managing partner at Sullivan, Higdon, and Sink, an advertising firm in Wichita.

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