Wichita remains the largest city in the state, with 13 percent of its population. Yet no Wichitan has ever been president of the Kansas Senate, and it’s been 60 years since a Wichitan served as Kansas House speaker. Unfortunately, the latest election of Kansas House leadership did nothing to improve the city’s standing in the legislative hierarchy. True, newly re-elected House Speaker Mike O’Neal, R-Hutchinson, is from the region, and committee assignments also hold the potential for power. But the only Wichitan in either party’s top jobs, Democratic Rep. Jim Ward, was unseated Monday as assistant minority leader by Rep. Tom Burroughs, D-Kansas City. Northeast Kansas got more clout with the elections of House Majority Leader Arlen Siegfreid, R-Olathe, and Speaker Pro Tem Jene Vickrey, R-Louisburg. The only member of the area delegation to claim some new influence was Rep. David Crum, R-Augusta, who was elected the new GOP caucus chairman in the House. More legislative leadership changes will come Dec. 20, when GOP senators choose a new majority leader to succeed Attorney General-elect Derek Schmidt.
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