Senate President Susan Wagle will need to rebuild her staff before the next legislative session.
Wagle’s chief of staff, Ryan Gilliland, announced his departure Thursday after serving the Wichita Republican for the past three sessions. He is taking a lobbying job with ITC Great Plains, a subsidiary of ITC Holdings Corp., the nation’s largest independent electricity transmission company.
Gilliland, a Concordia native, will oversee the company’s state government affairs in Oklahoma and Kansas. He will continue to work in Topeka.
“Ryan’s political and communication skills are highly regarded under the dome and he will be missed,” Wagle said in a news release. “This is an exceptional opportunity and I’m always proud when my staff is recognized for their skills and dedication. It’s a compliment to the work we’ve done in this office and the quality of my staff, and I look forward to building on that success in 2016 and beyond.”
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Gilliland’s skill had even impressed some lawmakers on the opposite side of the aisle. Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, remarked in December that hiring Gilliland had been one of Wagle’s smartest moves as Senate president.
Gilliland previously worked for Gov. Sam Brownback when he was a member of the U.S. Senate. His departure follows the exit of Wagle communications director Aly Beley in March. Beley’s position has not been filled since she took a job working for U.S. James Lankford, R-Okla.
His announcement also comes four months after House Speaker Ray Merrick’s chief of staff, Wade Hapgood, announced his departure for a lobbying job.