SNCO Democrats Elect Mah, Alcala To Fill Seats

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - A short meeting of Shawnee County Democratic Party precinct committee members put the stamp of approval on two elected officials to start work early.

Incoming Shawnee County treasurer Larry Mah and Kansas House Representative-elect for the 57th District, John Alcala, were easily confirmed to fill the vacancies created by their predecessors' early departure.

Treasurer Larry Wilson tended his resignation effective January 3, ten months before his term was to end on October 8. Sean Gatewood resigned from his 57th District office last week.

The small meeting, with only about 43 voting members, or about a third of all Democratic precinct committee members, confirmed what everyone expected would happen next.

Ann Mah took to the podium to officially nominate her husband. "With great honor, I'd like to place the name of Larry Mah in nomination for replacement for county treasurer, actually for several reasons.," she told party members."The best one being that the people of this county have already elected him to be our next county treasurer."

The outgoing Larry Wilson motioned to have the incoming Larry Mah confirmed by a voice vote.

"No one else was nominated, therefore rather than having an actual vote, there's a vote by acclamation, which means by voice vote. Everyone agreed," Lloyd Hull, Chairman of the Shawnee County Democratic Party, explained.

Shawnee County Democrats in the 57th District chose the next replacement candidate that same way, responding "Aye" in favor of John Alcala's nomination for the Kansas House of Representatives seat vacated by Gatewood.

Roxanne Ortiz, a friend of Alcala's, nominated him, also citing him as the logical choice, "since he was elected in the general election," she said.

Alcala was absent from the meeting, but Ortiz said, "John does accept the nomination and he apologizes, but he cannot be with you all today due to his work obligation."

Alcala has told Democrats he is ready to start as the 57th District representative January 1, serving out Gatewood's term through January 14.

Larry Mah is equally anxious to start his new role and says he's already done the leg work.

"I've spent a lot of time at the Department of Revenue and I really appreciate how much support they've given me," Mah said. "I've met their staffs. I've gone through all of their training courses. [..] We've talked a lot about different scenarios and how we can improve, not only reducing the lines, but how we can improve service," he added.

Mah said his first priority in office will be to reduce the lines of people waiting for service at the Treasurer's office. He said he will be visiting the office every day in an unofficial, observing role until he is confirmed.

The choices made today will still have to be formally certified by Governor Sam Brownback. Hull, the democratic party chair, says he'll be camping out at the Governor's office Monday to get those papers signed.