CHEYENNE - Republican and Democratic state legislators have selected their party leaders for two-year terms that will start when the Wyoming Legislature convenes in January.
Republicans caucused in Casper on Saturday, while the Democrats caucused in Rawlins on Sunday. In addition to party leaders, House and Senate Republicans also made committee assignments. Senate Democrats completed committee assignments for their members, while House Democrats are still working on their assignments.
Senate Republicans maintained their advantage, 23-7, over Democrats in the November election. On Saturday, Republican senators elected Sen. John Hines of Gillette as Senate president, Sen. Jim Anderson of Glenrock as majority floor leader and Sen. Tony Ross of Cheyenne as Senate vice president.
"I suppose each one of us has a different priority, but mainly I think we need to be conscious of the economic situation and maybe start watching our spending a little more than we have in the past," Hines said Monday.
Senate Democrats elected Sen. Kathryn Sessions of Cheyenne as minority floor leader, Sen. Mike Massie of Laramie as minority whip and Sen. John Hastert of Green River as minority caucus chairman.
"We need to invest the money that we need to invest for the future of this state, and we need to do it carefully in the right manner," Sessions said of the upcoming legislative session.
In the House, Democrats picked up at least one seat in the November elections. Republicans will govern 41-18 in the House, with the outcome of one race still pending a special election.
House Republicans elected Rep. Colin Simpson of Cody as speaker of the House, Rep. Edward Buchanan of Torrington as majority floor leader, Rep. Frank Philp of Shoshoni as speaker pro tempore and Rep. Lorraine Quarberg of Thermopolis as majority whip.
Simpson said the Legislature will have to be cautious with its budget in light of the economic recession.
"Property tax relief will be an issue, (and) how we continue to enhance clean-coal research and development," Simpson said. "Budgeting and our spending policies will continue to be reviewed."
House Democrats elected Rep. Saundra Meyer of Evanston as minority floor leader, Rep. Patrick Goggles of Ethete as minority whip and Rep. Lori Millin of Cheyenne as minority caucus chairman.
Meyer said bipartisan cooperation will be important during the session.
"We look forward to working with the Republican leadership and the members of each house to address the needs of the citizens of Wyoming," Meyer said.