Democrat women set new records in Kansas Senate (KAKE)

A new year, a new session, a lot of new lawmakers, but also new leadership in the Kansas Senate.  It’s a leadership team that was setting records even before the session began.

When the Kansas Senate got down to business Monday afternoon there were some new faces in charge.

Andover Senator Ty Masterson took over as the Senate’s new president.  But it was the leadership on the other side of the aisle making history.

“I was humbled and honored to be selected,” said Sen. Dinah Sykes, D Lenexa.

A Republican just two years ago, Sykes took over as the Senate Minority Leader this week.  She is one of three women leading the Democrats in the Senate, chosen by their fellow Democratic senators for the position.  It’s a first for either party.

“It shows that we as Democrats have confidence in women making, being able to provide the right kind of leadership,” said Sen. Pat Pettey, D Kansas City, Minority Whip.

Wichita’s Senator Oletha Faust-Goudeau returns as Assistant Minority Leader, the number two spot, setting two records with her appointment.

“As the first African-American, man or woman, in this position in our state of Kansas…It gives me great pride,” she said.  “And I know I’ve got to produce. All eyes are on me.”

All three say having women in these positions will mean a change in leadership style, influenced by their different life experiences.

“I do believe that women come to the legislature with, and for the most part, carrying a lot more bags than men usually do,” Pettey said about the multiple roles women hold in most households.

“As a mom and someone who ran her own business, you know, it’s always juggling everything and…having to make compromises and having those conversations,” said Sykes.

“I think what we will bring to the table…we are more consensus builders,” said Faust-Goudeau. “We want to make things work.”

This article was originally published on the KAKE website, here.