Wiping away tears, an emotional Alicia Straub officially announced her plans to resign from the Barton County Commission. Pending approval by Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly, she will leave the commission to take Greg Lewis’ 113th District seat in the Kansas House of Representatives.
“I just have to say it has been an honor and a privilege to serve all of you,” she said, her voice trembling. “I’m not leaving. I’m just going to Topeka for a few months at a time. I will be back and I will still continue to work with all of you.”
“Alicia, we appreciate your service,” fellow Commissioner Jennifer Schartz said. “I just want to caution you when you go to Topeka, don’t get caught up in the politics.”
She also reminded Straub to remember who she represents and remember she is not alone. “You have friends here. Use us and don’t forget where you came from.”
Schartz also wished her luck. “The job is going to be a huge one.”
On behalf of the commission, Schartz presented Straub with a clock in recognition of her time on the governing body.
“I wasn’t expecting gifts,” Straub said. She already has an office, phone number and email in Topeka, but this clock will be the first decoration for her otherwise barren desk.
“I’m looking forward to this,” she said. “I know it is going to be a challenge, just like we’ve had our challenges over the past four years.”
She believes the county has made great strides in recent years, and has good people in place to see these continue.
“I want to work with all of you to carry our voice further,” she said.
The commission chamber erupted in applause. “We’ll miss you,” audience member Becky Wornkey said.
Straub said state officials tentatively have her swearing in scheduled for Tuesday morning in Topeka.
“It was quite a week last week,” Straub said.
Last Tuesday, she was in Pratt for the Republican party precinct convention where she was named to fill the seat vacated by Lewis. Wednesday evening, she was teaching kids how to knit and crochet. And Thursday, she was in Topeka for orientation.
“It has just been an absolute whirlwind,” she said.
“I’m really not leaving permanently, she said. “I do plan on coming back here. I’m not too far away. I’m still right here in Barton County.”
How it works
Serving as commission chairwoman, Straub of Ellinwood replaces Lewis, who stepped down in February citing his ongoing battle with brain cancer.
The 40-year-old Straub was named during the convention of Republican precinct committee members from the district who met in Pratt last Tuesday night. The 113th encompasses all of Pratt and Stafford counties, and parts of Barton, Pawnee and Rice counties, but by state statute, the gathering takes place in the county with the highest number of registered voters in the district.
Now, once she is sworn in, Straub will take Lewis’ seat in the House chamber yet this legislative session. But, it also means she must resign her position on the Barton County Commission.
Straub will serve in the Legislature through Lewis unexpired term which ends in 2020. The seat will be on the November 2020 ballot for a full two-year term.
What is next
According to the state statutes, once the resignation letter is received, it is forwarded to the county in the district with the highest number of registered voters. At that point, there was a 21-day deadline to convene a convention of the county’s precinct committee members from the party of the resigning lawmaker. But, the announcement of this convention must be made within 10 days.
Straub’s name is now submitted to Gov. Laura Kelly who had seven days to finalize the appointment. If no action is taken, Straub automatically assumes the post.
For the most part, this format holds for filling Straub’s position on the commission as well, said Barton County Clerk Donna Zimmerman.
In this case, Straub’s resignation letter is forwarded to Barton County Republican Party Chairman Dick Friedeman. From there, the process is the same, but only includes the 11 precinct committee members for her commission Fourth District (there are a total of 14 positions, but three are vacant leaving 11 members to vote).
According to the Barton County website. District Four covers the far southeast corner of Great Bend, and Clarence, Pawnee Rock, Liberty, South Bend, Comanche and Lakin townships in the southern half of the county. That includes the cities of Ellinwood, Dundee and Pawnee Rock.
Friedeman said the Barton County convention is set for 7 p.m. Monday, April 1, at the Barton County Courthouse, 1400 Main in Great Bend. He urged any interested parties to call him at 620-792-8231.
Selection details for Straub’s replacement set
Barton County Commission Chairwoman Alicia Straub will likely be sworn in Tuesday morning to take Greg Lewis’ 113th District seat in the Kansas House of Representatives.
Since Straub is a Republican, replacing her falls to the Barton County Republican Committee. More specifically, that means committee precinct members from the commission’s Fourth District.
In this case, Straub’s resignation letter is forwarded to Barton County Republican Party Chairman Dick Friedeman. Friedeman said the Barton County convention is set for 7 p.m. Monday, April 1, at the Barton County Courthouse, 1400 Main in Great Bend. He urged any interested parties to call him at 620-792-8231.
According to the Barton County website, District Four covers the far southeast corner of Great Bend, and Clarence, Pawnee Rock, Liberty, South Bend, Comanche and Lakin townships in the southern half of the county. That includes the cities of Ellinwood, Dundee and Pawnee Rock.
Once a replacement is picked, the name will go to Kelly who has seven days to act. If no action is taken, the appointment becomes automatic.