Members of the Kansas State House of Representatives met today to elect leaders for the upcoming legislative sessions. We knew going in that there were going to be some challenges to the current leadership team and the results showed a few upsets.
Republicans re-elected Rep. Ron Ryckman, R-Olathe, to a second term as speaker, 80 to 4, over Rep.-elect Owen Donohoe, R-Shawnee. Donohoe, who has been re-elected to the House after some time out of the Legislature, had announced his challenge to Ryckman some time ago with hints that Ryckman was not conservative enough.
While retaining Ryckman as Speaker, the more conservative Republican caucus ousted Republican moderate Don Hineman, R-Dighton, as Majority Leader. Hineman was defeated by conservative Rep. Dan Hawkins, R-Wichita, on a vote of 48 to 35.
Rounding out the Republican team are Blaine Finch, R-Ottawa, as Speaker Pro Tempore; Les Mason, R-McPherson, as Assistant Majority Leader; Blake Carpenter, R-Derby, as Whip; and Susan Humphries, R-Wichita, as Caucus Chair.
On the other side of the aisle, Democrats in the House elected Rep. Tom Sawyer, D-Wichita, as Minority Leader over Rep. Jim Ward, D-Wichita, 24 to 16. Ward had served as Minority Leader for the last two years.
They also narrowly ousted Assistant Minority Leader Stan Frownfelter, D-Kanas City, with Rep. Valdenia Winn, D-Kansas City, winning 21 to 19.
Rounding out the Democratic leadership team are Jim Gartner, D-Topeka, as Whip; Brett Parker, D-Overland Park, as Agenda Chair; Barbara Ballard, D-Lawrence, as Caucus Chair; and Eileen Horn, D-Lawrence, as Policy Chair.