Tafanelli nominated for adjutant general
State Rep. Lee Tafanelli has been nominated by Governor-elect Sam Brownback to be the next Kansas adjutant general.
Once confirmed by the state senate, he will join the governor’s cabinet and resign his 47th District House seat. Brownback made the announcement Friday.
Tafanelli, 49, was re-elected in November to a sixth term in the House. The 47th district encompasses all of Jefferson County and two townships in Atchison County that includes the city of Effingham.
The rural Ozawkie man currently wears two more hats along with being a state representative. He recently gained the rank of Kansas brigadier general and was appointed to head the Kansas Army National Guard and he is program coordinator at the National Agriculture Bio-Security Center at Kansas State University. He will also resign from his civilian job.
He expects his rank as brigadier general will be confirmed by the U.S. Senate later this week or early next week before Congress adjourns. He said his name is now before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Serving as state adjutant general he will preside over the state military and be director of Homeland Security and director of Emergency Management. The office of adjutant general oversees the Kansas National Guard and directs the state response to disasters.
Tafanelli said he has known the governor-elect since he was state secretary of agriculture. He said he has worked with him on a couple of projects during his years in Congress.
“I am humbled and honored that he chose me,” he said. “but it is bittersweet. I have really enjoyed representing the people of my district in the House and to give that up is not easy.”
Tafanelli said he would be checking with the Secretary of State concerning the timing of his letter of resignation. Once the letter is submitted Republican precinct committee men and women in the 47th district will start the process of electing someone to fill the vacancy.
His tenure in the House was interrupted once before when he went to war in Iraq as commander of the 181st Engineer Battalion in 2005. In that instance, the Republican leadership elected his predecessor, Joann Flower, to return to the House for one session and then put Tafanelli back into elected office when he returned.
Tafanelli and his wife, Tammy, have two children, Nicholas and Francesca.
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