Watkins stepping down from the Legislature

watkins,jason TOPEKA – Rep. Jason Watkins is stepping down from his seat in the state House of Representatives, he said Thursday.

The 37-year-old Wichita Republican has held the position since 2004 and his resignation will be effective Dec. 13.

In a statement Watkins, who is a contractor and owns the brokerage Watkins and Associates, cited the growing time demands of the elected position.

“Over the last few months it has become a challenge to fulfill the duties of my office and provide for my family,” he said in a written statement. “The citizens of Kansas deserve a Representative who can devote the necessary time to the job and my family deserves a husband and father who can be a full-time provider.”

During his time in office, Watkins has risen quickly through the ranks and last year became the vice-chair of the House Appropriations Committee. He also sits on the House Judiciary Committee, chairs the General Budget Committee, and is on the joint committees on Legislative Budget and State Building Construction.

For more, check back later or read Friday’s Wichita Eagle.

ADDITIONAL: FYI – Lawmakers are paid $88.66 each day they serve in their elected capacity. They also receive a $109 per diem to cover expenses. So during a typical 90-day session a lawmaker will pull in $17,789.40.

Due to his position on the House Appropriations Committee, which has met several times since the session ended in May, Watkins’ annual take home will be higher, but it would be at the same rate.

Parkinson reiterates his promise not to run for governor

TOPEKA – Gov. Mark Parkinson predicted that the 2010 gubernatorial race would be competitive – but he won’t be part of it.

Wednesday, Parkinson reiterate his statement that he will not run for reelection. It’s a promise he’s repeated consistently since taking over the state’s top executive spot.

Earlier this month, Kansas Democratic Party Chairman Larry Gates said he would not run for governor. Currently, the party does not have a candidate.

Parkinson said a number of other potential and “very interesting” candidates have surfaced but he wouldn’t name anyone.

“This is one of those things where time will tell and I continue to predict that we will have a strong and competitive candidate for governor,” he said.

Brownback announces Secretary of State Thornburgh as campaign co-chair in gubernatorial bid

TOPEKA – Secretary of State Ron Thornburgh will help lead the statewide gubernatorial bid for U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback.

The two men made the announcement Thursday at the Kansas GOP headquarters in Topeka.

“Ron Thornburgh is a model public servant – hard working, effective, principled and honest” Brownback said.

Thornburgh, who had previously contemplated running for governor himself said he and Brownback “share the same priorities… it is time we reinvest in the state of Kansas.”

The four-time secretary of state admitted that working on Brownback’s campaign was not the opportunity he initially anticipated but “I’m OK with that,” he said.

Brownback praised Thornburgh saying his joining the campaign would help unite the GOP across the state.

Both Thornburgh and Brownback said any discussion on whether the secretary of state might later join the campaign as a running mate were premature.

Thornburgh joins John Petersen of Overland Park, the former finance chair for Gov. Bill Graves; Wichita City Councilwoman Sue Schlapp and Garden City Commissioner Reynaldo Mesa as co-chars on the statewide campaign.

Barnett to announce health care coalition Tuesday in Wichita

TOPEKA – State Sen. Jim Barnett is scheduled to announce his Congressional campaign’s Health Care Coalition Tuesday in Wichita.

“As a citizen and a doctor I have major concerns about the direction the health care debate in Washington is heading,” said Barnett, R- Emporia, in a press statement. “A personal principle of mine is to work towards solutions rather than complaining about the problems.” Read More »

Ryun endorses Congressman Todd Tiahrt for U.S. Senate

Former Republican Congressman Jim Ryun threw his support behind Congressman Todd Tiahrt’s bid for U.S. Senate.

Ryun represented the 2nd Congressional District until he was ousted by former Rep. Nancy Boyda, a Democrat.

Tiahrt, a Goddard Republican, is running against fellow Republican Rep. Jerry Moran, who currently represents the 1st Congressional District which encompasses most of western Kansas.

The two are hoping to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Republican Sen. Sam Brownback, who is stepping down and running for Kansas governor in 2010.

Below is Ryun’s endorsement letter.

Read More »

El Dorado man running for insurance commissioner

TOPEKA – Dave Powell plans to announce his bid for state Insurance Commissioner next week during a two day tour of Kansas.

Powell, 63, and a long-time El Dorado resident will make his initial announcement Monday morning in Overland Park. He will end the day at a Wichita event 4:30 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.

Powell started David J. Powell and Associates, LLC in 1998 and provides a variety of insurance options including health, supplemental and life insurance.

In 2002, Powell ran for insurance commissioner but was defeated in the Republican primary.