Government
12:42 pm
Mon December 3, 2012

Wagle Wins KS Senate President, Merrick Speaker

Kansas Republicans elected Susan Wagle Monday as the new president of the state Senate.

A veteran Wichita Republican, she is the first woman to lead either legislative chamber. Wagle defeated Steve Abrams of Arkansas City.

Johnson County Republican Ray Merrick is the new speaker of the Kansas House. Merrick won on a second ballot Monday over fellow Johnson County representative Arlen Siegfried.

When the session begins in January, Republicans will outnumber Democrats 32-8 in the Senate and 92-33 in the House.

Party primaries in August saw the conservative wing of the Republican Party oust several moderates, including Senate President Steve Morris.

In the House, Speaker Mike O'Neal retired after 28 years in the chamber, including two terms as speaker.

Democrats re-elected Anthony Hensley, of Topeka, as Senate minority leader and Paul Davis, of Lawrence, as House minority leader.