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​Kansas House Speaker's Chief of Staff Departing for New Job


TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas House Speaker Ray Merrick's chief of staff is taking a new job with a health insurance company and will be replaced by a Kansas Chamber of Commerce official. The Stilwell Republican's office announced Thursday that Chief of Staff Wade Hapgood will step down when the Legislature finishes its annual session next month. Hapgood has been Merrick's top aide since June 2013. Hapgood will become vice president of state government affairs for UnitedHealth Group, which is the parent company for one of three firms managing the state's Medicaid program for the needy and disabled. He will be replaced by Christie Kriegshauser. She is the Kansas Chamber's vice president for political affairs but was Merrick's chief of staff before Hapgood. The chamber's CEO is former House Speaker Mike O'Neal.

The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering, supplying a steady stream of news to its members, international subscribers and commercial customers. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.