Sen. Pat Apple, who represents the southern part of Gardner and Edgerton in the Kansas Legislature, will take a new role in Topeka. Gov. Sam Brownback named Apple to the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) on March 24. The three members of the KCC provide regulatory oversight of natural gas, electricity, telephone and transportation vendors in the state.
“I am humbled and honored to be appointed to the KCC by Governor Brownback,” Apple said. “While I will miss serving the people of the 37th District in the Kansas Senate, I look forward to continue serving the people of Kansas at the KCC.”
Once confirmed to the KCC, Apple will resign from his Senate seat. Once Apple submits his formal resignation to the Kansas Secretary of State’s Office, the county party chair will have 21 days to schedule a convention to replace Apple. Republican precinct committee men and women in the 37th Senate District will select Apple’s replacement in the Kansas Senate.
Apple anticipates he will be confirmed by the state Senate in the first week of April. The confirmation process will require Brownback to submit a packet nominating Apple to the KCC. A Senate committee will vet the nomination, and Apple must be confirmed by a majority of the Senate.
Apple said his goal is to have a replacement for his Senate seat by May 1. His Senate term ends in 2016, but if his replacement is seated prior to May 1, voters will elect someone to serve out the final two years of Apple’s terms. A primary for that election would be in August of 2014, and voters would choose his replacement in the general 2014 election in November.
If Apple is replaced after May 1, the person precinct people select will serve the final weeks of the 2014 session of the Kansas Legislature and the last two years of Apple’s term.
“It was very important to me that the people of the 37th District select my successor,” Apple explained. “If we have a chance to have an election, let’s have an election.”
To date, at least two people had expressed interest in replacing Apple in the state legislature. They include Molly Baumgardner and Charlotte O’Hara. Baumgardner is a radio and television student intern advisor at Johnson County Community College and a former member of the JCCC Board of Trustees. O’Hara ran against Apple in 2012. Previously, she served in the Kansas House of Representatives.
Ideally, Apple said whoever precinct people select to replace him in the Senate will only serve for a few months before having to stand for election.
“We’re trying to meet two goals,” Apple said of the process. “One is having someone here whenever the legislature is in session, and two, giving people an opportunity to vote on my successor.”
Apple was elected to the Kansas Senate in 2005. He began representing Gardner and Edgerton in the legislature in 2012, after 2011 redistricting.
Apple has served in numerous capacities including Chair, Senate Committee on Utilities since 2009 and vice-chair from 2005-2008; member, Senate Assessment and Taxation; Senate Commerce Committee; Senate Confirmation Oversight Committee and Vice-chair of Kansas Electric Transmission Authority.
“Pat Apple brings a wealth of knowledge and experience and will serve the KCC well,” Brownback said. “I appreciate his willingness to continue his service to our state as a Commissioner on the KCC.”
Apple will fill the seat of KCC-member Tom Wright whose four-year term expired on March 15, 2015.