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Kan. House speaker names new legislative director

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- Kansas House Speaker Ray Merrick has hired an attorney in the secretary of state's office as his new legislative director.

Merrick, a Stilwell Republican, said Monday that B.J. Harden will join his staff in July.

Harden will replace Wade Hapgood, who recently was promoted to chief of staff. Merrick's former chief of staff, Christie Kriegshauser, left to take a job with the Kansas Chamber of Commerce.

Harden has worked in the secretary of state's office since August 2011. He also serves as a volunteer deputy executive director for the Kansas Republican Party.

He received his law degree last year from Washburn University in Topeka.