Topeka — Two incumbent House Republicans are still working to figure out their status for the upcoming Legislative session as one continues to recover from illness, while the other prepares for a year in Iraq.
Rep. Carol Beggs, R-Salina, has been hospitalized for several months after suffering from a respiratory illness that left him on a ventilator at a Topeka hospital. Beggs, 77, has since been removed from the ventilator and oxygen support and remains in Topeka's Select Specialty Hospital.
"We're just waiting to get him up and around," said his wife, Betty Beggs.
She said Beggs hoped to be back at the Statehouse during the 2005 session, adding, "It's just one of those things. Who knows?"
The session begins Jan. 10 and is expected to conclude in early May.
"Carol is getting better and that's certainly encouraging," said House Speaker Doug Mays, R-Topeka.
Mays, who hands out committee assignments, said Beggs would have a regular schedule of committees, but would not be a chairman. Beggs served as vice chairman of the House Education Committee during the 2003-04 session.
Meanwhile, Rep. Lee Tafanelli, R-Ozawkie, is considering his legislative future. He is a lieutenant colonel in the Kansas Army National Guard and his unit will be in Iraq for up to a year. He has yet to decide how to handle his absence, which could be filled by naming a replacement with the approval of county Republican officials.
Tafanelli said he planned to make a decision around Christmas.
Tafanelli, 43, is commander of the 891st Engineer Battalion, based in Iola. He will lead approximately 600 soldiers, including about 150 from Tennessee. The battalion will perform a variety of heavy engineering duties in Iraq.
The soldiers have been at Fort Sill, Okla., training for the mission, but will return to Kansas for the Christmas holiday to be with family before leaving for Iraq in late December or early January, Tafanelli said.