Gonzalez to replace Tafanelli in Kansas House

? Ramon Gonzalez Jr., chief of the Perry Police Department, on Saturday was elected state representative of the 47th House District to replace Lee Tafanelli. He will take office Monday at the start of the 2011 legislative session.

Gonzalez, 63, defeated Richard Malm of Valley Falls in a 15-9 vote of Republican precinct committeemen and committeewomen, according to Travis Oliver, chair of the Jefferson County Republican Central Committee.

Six candidates had been nominated but four were eliminated in earlier rounds of voting, he said. The election was conducted at the American Legion Post in Oskaloosa.

Tafanelli, R-Ozawkie, resigned his seat after he was appointed Kansas Adjutant General by Gov.-elect Sam Brownback.

“He (Gonazlez) will have some big shoes to fill,” said Oliver. “Lee was a good representative and a good man.”

The district includes Jefferson County and part of Atchison County.

Gonzalez is retired from Southwestern Bell and also is a special investigator for the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department.

He said he is looking forward to applying his experience in law enforcement and management to his new position. “I’ve always been involved in public service, and this is another avenue to serve the community,” Gonzalez said.

He said he will continue as police chief and his post with the sheriff’s department, saying both are part-time jobs.