TOPEKA (KSNT) – Kansas House Majority Leader Dan Hawkins has sent a letter to the Republican Caucus asking for their support to elect him Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Hawkins tells the caucus that serving as the House Majority Leader has been one of the honors of his life.
In the letter, Hawkins challenges Gov. Laura Kelly’s handling of the pandemic and claims that crime rates are up, “the dignity of life is an afterthought,” and inflation is rampant.
“I believe we can work together to find solutions that support our law enforcement, protect the sanctity of life, and protect our children from radical social experiments. I believe in Kansas.”Dan Hawkins
Hawkins said he intends to travel the state to meet with every member of the incoming Republican House caucus.
Other candidates for the Speaker position include:
State Rep. Blake Carpenter, Derby
First elected to House: 2014
Leadership positions: Majority whip 2019-21; vice chair of elections 2017-20; and chair of elections in 2021; vice chair of Joint Committee on Information Technology in 2017.
“While last night didn’t turn out entirely as we had hoped, several positives still work in our favor. It appears we will maintain our supermajority and be able to continue overriding Laura Kelly’s vetoes if she can hold onto her lead. If we had dropped below 85 members, even to 84 members, the Democrats would have been able to add another member to committees because of how the ratios are calculated for the House. Right now, it looks like we will have 85 members for the next biennium, and if Laura Kelly holds onto her position, we will need every single person in our caucus over the next several years. With the numbers being as tight as they are, we will all have to work together as a team to continue to make Kansas the best place to live and retire.”
State Rep. Kyle Hoffman, Coldwater
First elected to House: 2010
Leadership positions: Vice-chair Joint Committee on Information Technology; vice chair of K-12 Education Budget Committee; vice chair of appropriations committee; majority House caucus chair 2012-13; chair of the agriculture budget committee 2013-2016; chair of the House Agriculture Committee in 2017-18.
“This will be my seventh term in the Kansas House and I believe I have the experience and qualities needed for this position. I look forward to having a conversation with you in the next several weeks to lay out why I feel you should entrust me with this responsibility. A little about myself, I am a farmer/rancher in the South-Central part of the state, representing six counties mostly along the Oklahoma line. I have a wonderful family, my wife of 27 years and my two almost grown (where has the time gone) daughters.”
State Rep. Stephen Owens, Hesston
First elected to House: 2018
Leadership positions: Chair Corrections and Juvenile Justice; vice chair of Joint Committee Corrections and Juvenile Justice Oversight; vice chair of Criminal Justice Reform Commission.
“Choosing your leadership team is one of the first and most difficult decisions you will make. While I don’t believe a title is necessary to be an effective leader, many of our colleagues believe I am the right person for this position. I am honored they believe so and I am eager to accept this responsibility if our caucus chooses. I believe every person in this race is great in their own way and I respect them all. I consider each of them friends as do you. In the end, the most important thing is that we all remain friends and unified as one Republican caucus.”
State Rep. Adam Smith, Weskan
First elected to House: 2016
Leadership positions: Chair tax committee; chair of 2021 and 2022 special tax committees; chair of the Rural Revitalization Committee in 2020; vice chair of the Rural Revitalization Committee.
“It’s a common misconception following election night that Kansas will have the same governor. That is simply not true. While the name might be the same, this governor is no longer running for reelection! She will be even more aggressive with her liberal agenda that does not align with traditional Kansas values. It will be critical for legislators – the true collective voice of the people – to be diligent in keeping administrative directives and executive orders in check. We will need your wisdom and thoughtful input when considering a policy. We will need a good leadership team to make sure it passes cleanly through the process.”
State Rep. Bill Sutton, Gardner
First elected: 2012
Leadership positions: Chair general government budget committee; chair of elections committee 2019-20; vice chair of K 12 Education Budget Committee 2015-16.
“I’m running for Pro-Tem with two major goals: get all the members involved, informed, and communicating. I want everyone to not only know what we’re working toward but why…and how. The second goal is to be able to interact effectively with our friends on the east side to make sure we don’t trip each other up in working toward our goals.”