Barton County Commission Chairwoman Alicia Straub has been selected to replace resigned Republican 113th Kansas Rep. Greg Lewis, who stepped down in February citing his on-going battle with brain cancer.
“I’m thrilled to be representing Barton County at another level,” an ecstatic Straub said early Wednesday. “I had to pinch myself again this morning.”
Straub was named during the convention of Republican precinct committee members from the district who met at the Community Center in Pratt 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.
There were three candidates nominated for the post and in order to be named, one had to receive at least 50 percent of the votes. Otherwise, additional rounds of balloting would be required.
The other candidates were Doug Keesling of Chase and Donna Hoener-Queal of Pratt (Hoener-Quael had been endorsed by Lewis), said Pratt County Republican Committee Chairman Darren Hodgkinson.
However, Straub’s election came on round one. “I was amazed,” she said, adding she was honored that the delegates from all four counties had faith in her.
Now, once she is sworn in, Straub will take Lewis’s seat in the House chamber yet this legislative session. She will likely have to resign her position on the County Commission.
According to the state statutes governing the filling of a legislative seat vacated by a resignation, 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 has seven days to finalize the appointment. If no action is taken, Straub automatically assumes the post.