by Karl Kurtz
'Tis the season for legislative leadership elections in state legislatures. Within a couple of days of the election, legislative parties started caucusing in many parts of the country to select new leaders. This is the first of a series of reports that we will provide about once a week between now and the middle of January on leadership elections. We'll focus on new leaders in the top three posts in each chamber (presiding officer, majority and minority leader) or particularly interesting contests for leadership.
Readers' contributions to the list are welcome. Eventually, we will have an NCSL web site that lists all leaders.
Alaska: Rep. John Harris, R-Valdez, will continue as speaker of the House. Rep. Ralph Samuels, R-Anchorage, was selected majority leader, replacing John Coghill, R-North Pole, who becomes chairman of the House Rules Committee.
Michigan: The new Democratic majority in the House has elected Andy Dillon as Speaker of the House. and Republicans have chosen Craig DeRoche, who was previously speaker, as the Minority Leader. Sen. Michael Bishop will be the (Republican) majority leader in the Senate and Sen. Mark Schauer the minority leader (D).
Nevada: Democratic Assemblywoman Barbara Buckley of Las Vegas has been elected the first woman speaker of the Nevada Assembly. Assembly Republicans named Las Vegas Assemblyman Garn Mabey as minority leader. Sen. Bill Raggio (R), who has been majority leader of the Nevada Senate since 1987, will continue in that post. Senator Dina Titus, who lost a bid for the governorship, will continue as minority leader of the Senate for the Democrats.
Oregon: Rep. Jeff Merkley, who has been minority leader, has been selected as speaker by the new Democratic majority. Rep. Dave Hunt will be the majority leader.
Vermont: After sitting out a term in the Senate due to a failed campaign for Lt. Governor, Sen. Peter Shumlin (D) returns as president pro tem. Gaye Symington (D) will continue as speaker of the House.
Wisconsin: Republicans elected Rep. Michael Huebsch as Speaker of the Assembly and Rep. Jeff Fitzgerald as majority leader. Rep. Jim Kreuser will continue as minority leader for the Democrats.