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Archive for Tuesday, December 3, 2002

s Ballard retains job as caucus chairwoman

December 3, 2002

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— Rep. Barbara Ballard of Lawrence was re-elected to the House Democratic leadership team Monday.

Ballard, a 10-year legislative veteran, faced no opposition to maintain her position as caucus chairman.

As caucus chairman, Ballard runs Democratic caucus meetings, helps new members and sets up weekly issue meetings for Democrats.

Ballard said it was important for Democrats to stick together as they were outnumbered in the House 80-45.

"We canâÂÂt be split. We have to come together," she said.

Ballard said budget issues would drive the Legislature. The state faces a $312 million deficit in the current fiscal year and a nearly $800 million deficit in the next.

Ballard worked with Republicans to craft a tax increase in the closing days of the last legislative session.

Of newly elected speaker Doug Mays, R-Topeka, she said, "He will have his hands full."

Ballard said she had considered running for the assistant minority leader position. But she decided against it because she would have had to give up her position on the House Appropriations Committee, which recommends a state budget to the full House.

In other House leadership races, Rep. Troy Findley, D-Lawrence, did not seek re-election as policy chairman, saying he wanted to focus on several legislative initiatives. Rep. Judy Showalter, D-Wichita, was elected to the position without opposition.

On the Republican side, Lawrence-area legislator Lee Tafanelli of Ozawkie ran for assistant minority leader, but was defeated 46-33 by Ray Merrick of Stilwell.

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