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SPOTLIGHT
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New leaders for Kansas House committees named

Published on -12/12/2012, 4:11 PM

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TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- The list of Kansas House committee chairmen and chairwomen for 2013-14 is a mix of holdovers and newcomers.

Incoming Speaker Ray Merrick, a Stilwell Republican, released the list late Tuesday. He also released a list of five Appropriations subcommittee leaders.

The House will have 20 standing committees, down from 22.

Merrick combined the Children and Family Committee with the Aging and Long-Term Care Committee, and he merged the Elections and Local Government committees. He eliminated the Government Efficiency Committee.

But he split the Energy and Utilities Committee into separate panels for Energy and Environment and for Utilities and Telecommunications.

All committee leaders are Republicans, in keeping with the GOP's 92-33 majority.

The standing committee chairmen and chairwomen:

-- Agriculture and Natural Resources: Sharon Schwartz, Washington. She replaces Larry Powell, Garden City, who won a seat in the Senate.

-- Appropriations: Marc Rhoades, Newton.

-- Children and Seniors: Connie O'Brien, Tonganoxie. The Children and Families Committee had been led by Mike Kiegerl, Olathe, who didn't see re-election. The Aging and Long-Term Care Committee's chairman was the late Bob Bethell, of Alden.

-- Commerce and Economic Development: Marvin Kleeb, of Overland Park. He replaces Anthony Brown, Eudora, who ran unsuccessfully for the Senate.

-- Corrections and Juvenile Justice: John Rubin, Shawnee. He replaces Pat Colloton, Leawood, who ran unsuccessfully for the Senate.

-- Education: Kasha Kelley, Arkansas City. She replaces Clay Aurand, Belleville, who lost his seat in this year's elections.

-- Elections and Local Government: Scott Schwab, Olathe, previously chairman of the Elections Committee. The Local Government Committee had been led by Steve Huebert, of Valley Center.

-- Energy and Environment: Dennis Hedke, Wichita. The Energy and Utilities Committee's chairman was Carl Dean Holmes, Liberal, who lost his seat.

-- Federal and State Affairs: Arlen Siegfreid, Olathe. He replaces Steve Brunk, Bel Aire.

-- Financial Institutions: Pete DeGraaf, Mulvane. He replaces Forrest Knox, Altoona, who was elected to the Senate.

-- Health and Human Services: David Crum, Augusta. He replaces Brenda Landwehr, Wichita, who lost her seat.

-- Insurance: Clark Shultz, McPherson.

-- Judiciary: Lance Kinzer, Olathe.

-- Pensions and Benefits: Steve Johnson, Assaria. He replaces Mitch Holmes, St. John, who was elected to the Senate.

-- Rules and Journal: Shultz.

-- Taxation: Richard Carlson, St. Marys.

-- Transportation: Richard Proehl, Parsons. He replaces Gary Hayzlett, Lakin, who didn't seek re-election.

-- Utilities and Telecommunications: Joe Seiwert, Pretty Prairie.

-- Veterans, Military and Homeland Security: Mario Goico, Wichita.

-- Vision 2020: Tom Sloan, Lawrence.

The Appropriations subcommittee leaders:

-- Agriculture and Natural Resources: Kyle Hoffman, Coldwater, replacing Schwartz.

-- Education: Ward Cassidy, St. Francis. He replaces Lana Gordon, Topeka, who didn't seek re-election and is now acting state labor secretary.

-- General Government: DeGraaf, who replaces Joe McLeland, Wichita, who didn't seek re-election.

-- Social Services: Brian Weber, Dodge City, replacing Crum.

-- Transportation and Public Safety: Virgil Peck, Tyro.

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