It’s encouraging that Sen. Carolyn McGinn, R-Sedgwick, will be the new chairwoman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee. McGinn is experienced and pragmatic and will seek balanced solutions to the state’s budget problems. But she has a difficult task, as the state faces a more than $900 million shortfall for the next 18 months. Several other area lawmakers also will be leading legislative committees, including Sen. Mike Petersen, R-Wichita (Transportation); Sen. Dan Kerschen, R-Garden Plain (Agriculture and Natural Resources); Rep. Dan Hawkins, R-Wichita (Health and Human Services); Rep. Brenda Landwehr, R-Wichita (Social Services Budget); Rep. Les Osterman, R-Wichita (Veterans and Military Affairs); Rep. Pete DeGraaf, R-Mulvane (Government, Technology and Security); and Rep. Joe Seiwert, R-Pretty Prairie (Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications). Area Democratic lawmakers also will play key roles on several committees. – Phillip Brownlee
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