Kansas House Republicans have re-elected Ray Merrick to a second, two-year term as speaker. Fellow conservative Virgil Peck had challenged Merrick, but Merrick easily won in an 80-16 vote.
"I would like to think that most of them have seen me for two years and know what I've done and what we got accomplished and I think it validates that," says Merrick.
Merrick says one of his priorities this session will be finding ways to fill a budget hole. He says he'll focus on spending cuts, rather than raising revenues.
Kansas House Speaker Ray Merrick says he'll be working to focus the chamber on economic issues for the rest of the legislative session.
Recently, some controversial bills in the House have caught national attention and criticism.
Merrick says he can't stop members from filing bills, but he can try to get lawmakers back to what he calls the basics.
"Making (Kansas) the most business friendly state in the country and emphasizing that the rest of the session," he says.
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.