State Representative Brian Weber (R-Dodge City) wa elected by his Republican colleagues in the Kansas House of Representatives Monday to serve on the leadership team as House Majority Whip. Rep. Weber faced a colleague from Lenexa in Johnson County, a county that by itself is home to more House members than the region of western Kansas, but Weber won with a vote of 58 to 33.
Senator Garrett Love (R-Montezuma) was also elected as Majority Whip for the Kansas Senate when the legislature voted this week. Love won the election over Jeff Melcher (R-Overland Park) with a vote count of 21-11.
For Weber, being from western Kansas had both positive and negative points logistically. As a whole, western Kansas has fewer representatives than more densely populated areas like Sedgwick and Johnson Counties, which put Weber at a disadvantage. But the ability to speak from a western Kansas perspective gave him the upper hand, he said.
"A lot of times in leadership races, people will support a candidate because they are from their county," he said. "But this time, western Kansas really stuck together and had the same bond you might expect from a city or a county."
Weber said he had support of colleagues who don't share the same city or even county with him and was pleased to have their support as a representative for all of western Kansas.
"It really wasn't about me at all," he said. "It was about western Kansas coming together and being a team and I'm glad I get to enjoy the joint support of the committee."
In their roles as Majority Whip for the House and Senate, Weber and Love will assist with the counting of votes and ensure attendance of party members.
As Majority Whip in the Kansas Senate, Love will be the third-highest-ranking person in the majority party but in reality will be second-ranking Senator in the Majority Conference in terms of actual power. Similarly, as Kansas House Majority Whip, Weber will be outranked by only the Majority Leader and the Speaker.
"I'm basically going to be the communication guy," Weber said. "My role will be to make sure the caucus republicans in the house know about incoming bills and issues so they can make informed decisions and to let the leaders know any concerns or questions the caucus has on those bills and issues."
Love was equally as enthused as Weber about his new position.
Page 2 of 2 - “I am honored that my colleagues have given me this opportunity and am thankful that Western Kansas will have a voice on our leadership team,” Love said in a press release. “We have many challenges ahead and I look forward to working to make Kansas the best state in the country to raise a family and the best state in the country to run a business.”
Weber was first appointed to the House seat in December 2010 when former Representative Pat George joined the Governor's cabinet as Secretary of Commerce. During his first year he was twice chosen to chair the 150 caucus, and in December 2011 was named one of the top ten movers and shakers in Topeka by Hawver's Capitol Report.
Senator Love was elected to the Kansas House of Representatives by defeating a 24-year incumbent and former Speaker of the House by a 2-to-1 margin. He was then elected by precinct committee members to the State Senate to become the youngest State Senator in Kansas history.