December 5th, 2016
Written by Chuck Samples
Call him Senate Vice President-elect Jeff Longbine.
The 17th District Senator, a Republican from Emporia, was elected to the chamber's No. 2 position Monday.
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Longbine defeated Gene Suellentrop of Wichita by a 23-6 vote of his peers. Come January, he will replace Jeff King, who is retiring at the end of his term. Longbine will now work closely with the Senate leadership team, which includes Susan Wagle of Wichita. Wagle defeated Ty Masterson of Andover 23-7.
In other Senate leadership positions, Jim Denning was elected as Majority Leader and Julia Lynn was elected Assistant Majority Leader. Democrat Anthony Hensley was re-elected as Minority Leader.
Schwab to replace outgoing Mast as Speaker Pro Tem
On the House side, Republican Ron Ryckman was elected Speaker of the House 57-28. Scott Schwab was elected Speaker Pro Tem, filling the leadership post opening up as 76th District Representative Peggy Mast of Emporia retires. Don Hineman was elected Majority Leader. Democrat Jim Ward defeated incumbent Minority Leader Tom Burroughs for that post after two votes - the first ending in a tie, the second leading to a 21-19 win for Ward.
9:40 am Monday: Lawmakers gathering to set leadership structure, committee assignments
State lawmakers don't convene until next month, but they are gathering in Topeka this week.
The goal is to set the leadership structure for both parties in the House and Senate starting Monday, with work on committee assignments the focus Tuesday.
In the Senate, the main leadership job up for grabs is President, as incumbent Susan Wagle faces a challenge from Ty Masterson. However, 17th District Senator Jeff Longbine of Emporia has announced he is seeking the Vice President position to be vacated when Jeff King retires at the end of his term. His run is being challenged by Gene Suellentrop.
In the House, both the Speaker and Speaker Pro Tem positions are available. House Majority Leader Jene Vickrey, Appropriations Committee chair Ron Ryckman and Russ Jennings are all candidates. 76th District Representative Peggy Mast of Emporia, the Speaker Pro Tem, is vacating her leadership role as she retires from the House.
Committee assignments for Longbine, 51st District Representative Ron Highland, 60th District Representative-elect Mark Schreiber and 76th District Representative-elect Eric Smith won't be announced for several weeks.