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Kansas Legislative Leaders Call for Unity

Stephen Koranda
Kansas Public Radio
Kansas House members applaud as lawmakers are sworn in.

As he officially took over his new job on Monday, Kansas Speaker of the House Ron Ryckman said lawmakers should work together to craft solutions and carry on the state’s tradition of small government.

There are more Democrats and moderate-leaning Republicans in the House than last year, and Ryckman, a Republican, said the factions should try to reach an agreement.

“I believe our priorities and goals can be met this session, but only if we check our political agendas and work towards the collective goal of supporting the best outcome possible for our beloved state,” Ryckman said.

The top Democrat in the House, Jim Ward, echoed that sentiment and said lawmakers will have their hands full as they tackle a budget deficit and write a new school funding formula.

“The task before us is difficult and many are losing faith. We have a state to restore to prosperity, and it will take the dedication of each and every one of us to get it done,” Ward said.

Some early work on the issues began on Monday, with the House tax committee meeting that afternoon. Gov. Sam Brownback will outline his priorities starting with the State of the State Address on Tuesday.