A gathering to officially mark the end of the 2008 Kansas Legislative session took an emotional turn Thursday.
The widow of Rep. Ted Powers, Betty Mae, and one of the couple's three children were on the floor to greet his colleagues.
Powers passed away following a stroke earlier this month, after lawmakers adjourned their business. The 73-year old from Mulvane spent 16 years in the legislature and recently filed for re-election. He was a music teacher before entering the legislature.
Betty Mae Powers told House members Thursday that her husband loved every one of them. She said the Statehouse was his favorite place to be and his fellow lawmakers were his first love.
But Rep. Jene Vickrey, R-Louisburg, disagreed. He told the chamber that Ted loved Betty Mae, and everyone knew that when the session adjourned, they'd best get out of the way because Ted's truck would be headed toward the Wichita area where Betty Mae was home waiting.
Both Vickrey and Rep. Dale Swenson, R-Wichita, shared stories of Ted Powers' sense of humor. Swenson said he once went to dinner with Ted Powers, and Powers put his empty water glass on his head to catch the waitress' attention.
"I didn't know what to think," Swenson said.
Swenson noted Powers' recent filing for re-election.
"He passed away with his boots on," Swenson said. "He was still in the saddle, so to speak. He wanted to come back and do it again."
Vickrey called it an honor to have served with Powers.
"He was a character, but he had deep character - green suspenders and all," Vickrey said.
In addition to presenting Betty Mae a proclamation, lawmakers also left flowers on Ted Powers' desk.