New Leaders Assume Power in Legislature


TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) New Republican leaders have assumed power in the Kansas Legislature.

Lawmakers opened their annual session Monday. The House and Senate formally ratified leadership choices made earlier by the Republican majorities in each chamber.

The new House speaker is 73-year-old Ray Merrick, from the northeast Kansas town of Stilwell. The new Senate president is 59-year-old Susan Wagle, the first woman to lead either chamber.

Wagle, of Wichita, has served 22 years in the Legislature and survived multiple bouts of cancer since being diagnosed with lymphoma in the 1990s.

Merrick has served in the Legislature since 2000. He was born in a log cabin in northern Alberta, Canada.

Following tradition, neither Merrick nor Wagle had opposition, and their selections were unanimous.


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