Former state lawmaker Barnes to return to 95th District seat

Former state Rep. Melany Barnes is the new 95th District state representative, replacing Tom Sawyer who resigned the seat to serve on the Kansas Parole Board.

Barnes, who previously served Wichita's 95th District for two terms, will serve out Sawyer's term, which expires in January 2011.

She was chosen Saturday by Democratic precinct committee members in the 95th District, which covers part of west Wichita.

"She was the only candidate," said Kelly Johnston, chair of the Sedgwick County Democratic Party. "She's an experienced legislator, concerned about public education and the outdoors."

Johnston would not say how many people voted, only that the vote was unanimous. State Rep. Raj Goyle, a Democrat from the 87th District, said three people voted.

Barnes, 53, served as the state representative for the 95th District from 1998 to 2002. She stepped down in 2002 to spend more time with her family.

"I had considered it, the possibility of running again," Barnes said Sunday. "After giving this thoughtful considering, I decided this was something I would like to do again."

Issues she is most concerned about include the economy, the high number of Wichita layoffs and the families within her district on limited incomes.