Kansas House speaker had coronavirus; Gov. Kelly to get tested

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This lovely state capitol, like many in our nation, was modeled after the Federal Capitol Building in Washington. Construction of the Kansas State Legislature Building began in 1866 and it was used by the state senate and house of representatives starting in 1869. However, the structure did not become fully functional until 37 years of work later at a total cost of $3.2 million. The top of the cupola is 304 feet tall, and the stone is brown sandstone quarried from the bluffs of Deer Creek, near Vinewood in Shawnee County, Kansas. Parts of this capitol were designed by John G. Haskell, George Ropes, and other architects (Haskell and Ropes are notable as courthouse architects in the Sunflower State).

TOPEKA, Kan. — Kansas House Speaker Ron Ryckman Jr. tested positive for coronavirus last month, and a spokesman for Gov. Laura Kelly said Thursday that she will get tested because she was in a meeting later with Ryckman and other legislative leaders.

Ryckman is the highest-ranking Kansas official known to have been infected. He notified fellow House Republicans in a letter after Tuesday’s primary, saying he had been hospitalized but is “on the road to recovery.”

Kelly’s spokesman Sam Coleman said the governor had no idea that Ryckman had tested positive until Thursday. He said the governor will get tested “as soon as we can set it up.”

Ryckman said he began self-isolating at home after he was notified July 10 by phone that he’d had contact with someone who might have the virus.

He said he tested positive on July 13 and he began experiencing symptoms that led him to be hospitalized later for a week. His contact ended up not having the virus, and Ryckman said his family also did not get infected.

Ryckman said that he no longer was contagious when he attended a public meeting with other legislative leaders and Kelly on July 29 at the Statehouse.

After the governor’s response, Ryckman issued a statement saying she was “fear mongering and public shaming.” Read his full statement below.

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