Democrats replace Ward as Kansas House leader

Rep Tom Sawyer.jpg

Democrats in the Kansas House have replaced the chamber’s minority leader.

The vote Monday among Democratic members and members-elect was 24-16 in favor of Rep. Tom Sawyer over Rep. Jim Ward. Both are veteran legislators from Wichita, but Ward has a reputation for being more of a firebrand.

Ward has been minority leader during the past two years, serving with conservative Republicans Sam Brownback and Jeff Colyer as governor. Sawyer will have the job of helping shepherd Democratic Gov.-elect Laura Kelly’s agenda through the Legislature.

Sawyer served as minority leader from 1993 through 1998, stepping down to run unsuccessfully for governor that year. He returned to the House in 2003, stepped down in 2009 for a seat on the state parole board and came back to the House in 2013.

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