Who is Wes Summerfield?

Three days ago, Constantin Richelieu stepped down as Speaker of the Panem House of Representatives following what was likely to be a failure to keep the Liberty-Conservative House coalition together, triggering a contested Speaker election for the first time in ten years. Yesterday, a young three-term representative from District 4 assumed the position of Speaker of the House, becoming Panem’s top-ranking legislator.

However, many are asking: who exactly is Speaker Wes Summerfield?

Wesley Summerfield was born two years after the Panem Revolution ended, making him the first Speaker to be born under the new Republic. Born in District 4 to a family of fisherman and sailors, Summerfield ran his family’s business following his father’s death whenever Summerfield was sixteen. Summerfield had a knack for business and managed to expand the outdoors business that his father previously owned into a chain of outdoors stores throughout District 4.

In the middle of this success Summerfield met Maria Ramirez, a graduate student at the University of the Coast in District 4. Ramirez, then a marine biology doctoral student, began dating Summerfield and married him a year later. The newly-married Maria Summerfield was actually the person who first urged Summerfield to run for Congress after seeing the dilapidation of the towns in District 4’s twelfth congressional district and attributing many of the issues to a Labor representative by the name of Francisco Morales.

Summerfield’s first run for Congress was deemed by pundits to be a lost cause. The town in which Summerfield lived was the only town in the twelfth congressional district to vote for the Liberty candidate in previous elections, and the district was considered overall to be a likely hold for Labor for years to come. However, Morales had always been a poor campaigner and had never faced an opponent that had true firepower or clear name recognition. In the campaign, Summerfield portrayed Morales as a lackadaisical representative who was detached from the needs of the district, never coming home until it was an election cycle. Morales, insisting that Summerfield was not a threat due to his previous landslide victories against Liberty candidates, attacked back at Summerfield, but not in a way that indicated any real effort to keep his seat. Ultimately, voters backed Summerfield over Morales that November, resulting in a victory of 57 percent for Summerfield to 37 percent for Morales, with 6 percent going to other candidates. The twenty point landslide indicated that the district was not so dead-set on the Labor Party as some might believe, and it became one of the biggest moments for the Liberty Party in a midterm that was not particularly favorable to them, providing a gain in a district that was never supposed to go for Liberty.

Speaker Wes Summerfield on his family’s dock at his home in District 4. Summerfield succeeded Constantin Richelieu as Speaker of the Panem House of Representatives after the latter failed to maintain a tenuous coalition between the Liberty and Conservative Parties in the House.

Summerfield then entered Congress, and to Summerfield, that means he went to work. During his first term, Summerfield filed forty different bills, eight of which became law. He established himself as a firebrand, regularly railing against the Canth administration for their tax policies and their foreign policy. For many, Summerfield was a breath of fresh air. To the leadership of the House, Summerfield represented a problem. Leaders like Miranda O’Neal and Constantin Richelieu viewed Summerfield as risk-averse and prone to starting arguments when the leadership was looking for compromise. Summerfield never publicly spoke against the leadership in the House, but his feelings were well-known in the Capitol about how he believed Richelieu to be a poor fit for the Speakership.

Summerfield’s victory also ushered in a movement towards the Liberty Party in District 4’s twelfth congressional district. Voters, who had been disgruntled for years towards their municipal governments, began to vote out their Labor officeholders in favor of Liberty ones after the success that Summerfield had in Congress. Summerfield was swept back into office two years after his first victory by a massive forty-point margin over his Labor opponent, and ran unopposed for the next two terms.

Wes Summerfield’s victory as speaker is certainly representative of his meteoric rise in politics; at the age of thirty, Summerfield also holds the distinction of being the youngest House Speaker in Panem’s history. His time as Speaker begins with a success, much like his initial foray into politics; Summerfield managed to ensure the integrity of the Liberty-Conservative coalition that was set to collapse under Richelieu, resulting in a working majority for the Liberty agenda in Congress. Following that success, it appears that Summerfield will be working to achieve many more victories, most particularly those on President Peeta Mellark’s second-term agenda.

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Wes Summerfield formally elected Speaker of the Panem House of Representatives

Wes Summerfield, the conservative firebrand who shocked the Liberty political establishment with his win over House Majority Leader Miranda O’Neal for the Liberty nomination for Speaker of the House of Representatives, has officially been elected Speaker of the House in a vote today.

Summerfield, a fourth-term Liberty Party representative who represents the twelfth congressional district of District 4, will now succeed Constantin Richelieu as the head of the lower chamber of Panem’s national legislature. In the vote today, Summerfield was able to achieve a majority through the support of the Conservative Party members of the House, resulting in a vote of 122 votes for Summerfield, 54 votes for Daniel Hutton of the Centre Party, 18 votes for Teraton Wendle of the Labor Party, and 6 votes for Georgia Landon of the Civic Party.

Summerfield now will begin today a series of discussions with the Conservative Party regarding the future of the tenuous coalition that was formed under Constantin Richelieu. According to inside sources within the House, Conservative leader Kari Lyles favors Summerfield much more than she did Richelieu, finding Summerfield much more agreeable and closer to her view of politics. This indicates that the Liberty-Conservative coalition, which has not been formally dissolved by either side, will continue to remain as it currently stands.

Summerfield will now meet with President Peeta Mellark, Vice President Rebecca Tarson, Senate President pro tempore Sophia Delacruz, Senate Majority Leader Michael Debroff, House Majority Leader Brooklyn Howard, House Conservative leader and House Majority Whip Kari Lyles, and presidential Chief of Staff Melanie DeFrancis at Stonehaven to discuss legislative policy.

SPEAKER ELECTION: Liberty House Conference to select presumptive Speaker

The Liberty Party House Conference is set to meet today to formally select their candidate for the upcoming Speaker election. Competing for the position are House Majority Leader Miranda O’Neal, a moderate party member, and Representative Wes Summerfield, a conservative firebrand. Although only two candidates have filed, it is tradition that candidacies be allowed to be declared from the floor and for an option for a write-in vote to be allowed.

To achieve a win in the first round of voting, a candidate must receive a majority of votes of the Conference. In this election, that number is 49 representatives. In the case that additional rounds are required, the bottom-most candidate from the previous round shall be eliminated from consideration and no new candidates shall be allowed to be fielded.

UPDATE 1: We can now report the results of the first round.

Miranda O’Neal: 44 votes

Wes Summerfield: 42 votes

Constantin Richelieu: 6 votes

Katniss Everdeen: 2 votes

Jonathan Madison: 2 votes

As no candidate achieved an outright majority of 49 votes, a second round will be required. Candidates for the second round will be Miranda O’Neal, Wes Summerfield, and Constantin Richelieu.

UPDATE 2: We can now report the results of the second round.

Miranda O’Neal: 46 votes

Wes Summerfield: 46 votes

Constantin Richelieu: 4 votes

As no candidate achieved an outright majority of 49 votes, a third round will be required. Candidates for the third round will be Miranda O’Neal and Wes Summerfield.

UPDATE 3: We can now report the results of the third and final round.

Wes Summerfield: 50 votes

Miranda O’Neal: 46 votes

Wes Summerfield has defeated Miranda O’Neal for the Liberty nomination for Speaker of the House of Representatives. 

UPDATE 4: Conservative Party leader Kari Lyles congratulated Wes Summerfield on his victory and promised the support of the House Conservatives in the vote for Speaker that is scheduled for tomorrow. As such, this support will result in the election of Wes Summerfield as the Speaker of the Panem House of Representatives.

UPDATE 5: Following her defeat for the Speakership nomination, Miranda O’Neal announced her resignation as House Majority Leader to the Liberty Conference, triggering yet another election for today. Instead of fielding formal nominations, the process is instead currently underway. The results of the first round are as follows:

Brooklyn Howard: 48 votes

Miranda O’Neal: 23 votes

Reggie Garnet: 22 votes

Lexi Morse: 3 votes

UPDATE 6: The results of the second round of voting for House Majority Leader are as follows:

Brooklyn Howard: 71 votes

Miranda O’Neal: 22 votes

Representative Brooklyn Howard of the Capitol will be the next House Majority Leader and Leader of the House Liberty Party members. 

Liberty House leader Miranda O’Neal, Rep. Wes Summerfield announce bids for Speakership

Two Liberty representatives formally filed to run in the upcoming election for the Speakership of the Panem House of Representatives today, and the other members of their party decided to clear the way for the two.

Representative Miranda O’Neal, who currently serves as the House Majority Leader and the leader of the Liberty Party in the lower chamber, filed today around noon. O’Neal has served for the past ten years in her current role as House Majority Leader and served for approximately four years prior to that as House Majority Whip. O’Neal is openly favored by current House leaders and by Liberty moderates in the House as she tows a hard line but favors bipartisanship to divisiveness. However, she may be deemed too much like Constantin Richelieu, the outgoing speaker, to be considered a viable replacement and would not be able to revive the coalition talks with the Conservative Party members in the House.

Representative Wes Summerfield, who has served as representative for District 4’s twelfth congressional district for six years and was just elected to a fourth term, also filed to run for the Speakership today around 3 PM. Summerfield is known for his staunch right-wing ideals and never equivocating in the face of conflict in the House. A favorite of the Liberty base, Summerfield was floated for the role of National Security Advisor but was passed over in favor of Deputy NSA Kirk Hawking. Summerfield is likely to make this past election a referendum on how Liberty needs a change in leadership. Another plus for Summerfield is that he’s considered much more acceptable to the Conservatives, which would lead to a certain coalition between Liberty and the Conservatives. 

The two will face off in a vote of the Liberty Party conference, who determines the Liberty nominee for leadership positions in the House. Following that, the nominee will be put forward formally on the floor. However, in the way of both candidates lies the fact that a Speaker is elected by the full House in a majority vote of members. This means that 101 of the 200 members of the House will need to vote for a candidate for Speaker, requiring some sort of cross-party voting in order to elect a Speaker.

In addition to the two Liberty candidates, Centre leader Daniel Hutton has filed to run, as has Civic leader Georgia Landon and Labor leader Teraton Wendle. All three are not expected to win as they cannot form a majority, even in the scenario that the three opposition parties combine their efforts. Meanwhile, Conservative leader Kari Lyles has declined to file, stating that she wishes to use the Conservative caucus’ influence to decide the new Speaker.

BREAKING: Constantin Richelieu resigns as Speaker as House coalition on the verge of collapse

BREAKING: Constantin Richelieu, the Speaker of the Panem House of Representatives, has announced his resignation of the Speakership effective immediately, The Panem Free Press has learned.

According to sources within House leadership, Speaker Richelieu decided to resign following high tensions with the Conservative leadership in the House and the potential fracturing that he viewed as likely to occur.

“He just felt that he could no longer form a workable team,” the source claimed. “Richelieu decided that the issue was between him and Representative Lyles, and so he decided that after ten years as Speaker, it was a sign for him to retire from leadership.” The source also noted that Richelieu would not resign his position as a representative, but rather step back into the rank-and-file and assess his political future at a later date.

This means that a Speakership election must now occur, the first since Samuel Trenton resigned his position many years ago. The immediate frontrunner for the position is expected to be House Majority Leader Miranda O’Neal, who has served for ten years under Richelieu as his number two in the House. It is unknown who else will enter the race, but O’Neal should beware: the Liberty Party has a propensity of selecting a Speaker from the rank and file rather than from leadership, as shown through former Speakers Jonathan Madison, Enrique Saldana, and of course Constantin Richelieu.

Celine Oswald to head Liberty National Committee; Deputy NSA Kirk Hawking appointed as NSA

President Peeta Mellark (Liberty-D12) made two more appointments today. However, both of these do not require approval by the Senate like others before them.

To the position of Chair of the Liberty National Committee, President Mellark has designated Celine Oswald, his outgoing Secretary of State, as his pick to serve in that role. Though Oswald will need to be formally voted on at the Liberty National Committee’s spring meeting, it is tradition that the President gets to select the chair upon inauguration. President Mellark previously designated First Lady Katniss Everdeen as chair, but following the Liberty Party’s decline during the last election cycle, Everdeen decided to step down as chair. Celine Oswald will come into the role with a vast rolodex and will be considered a breath of fresh air; Oswald’s history in the party is only rivaled by Presidents Everdeen and Mellark themselves. Oswald served as an independent governor of District 13 before running against President Paylor and Katniss Everdeen for the presidency. She then served as Secretary of State under Everdeen, joining Liberty soon after its formation. She then became the vice presidential nominee of the Liberty Party alongside Katniss Everdeen and was elected to the number two spot. She served for four years in this role before becoming the presidential nominee of the Liberty Party following Everdeen’s decision to step down after two terms. Despite her loss in that election to Rick Canth, Oswald remained active through her service as Secretary of State and through her third presidential run, in which she was defeated for the nomination by then-Senator Peeta Mellark.

For the second nomination, President Mellark has selected Kirk Hawking to serve as his new National Security Advisor. Hawking has served as Mellark’s deputy National Security Advisor for the past four years and served previously as President Everdeen’s Deputy Secretary of State under Celine Oswald and then under Jonathan Madison. Hawking replaces Cecelia Paylor, who served in many capacities in Panem’s government from National Security Advisor to Attorney General to President.

Senate confirms Wallace as Sec. of Homeland Security, Dalton as Sec. of Transportation

The Panem Senate confirmed two more of President Peeta Mellark (Liberty-D12)’s second-term Cabinet picks.

Mason Wallace, the former governor of District 7, was confirmed by the Senate to the post of Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security in a voice vote. Wallace takes over from longtime Secretary and Mellark family friend Haymitch Abernathy, who is retiring after a sixteen-year tenure at the Department. The Department of Homeland Security is considered one of the Cabinet’s most important posts, even though it lacks seniority in the presidential line of succession. Wallace previously served as the governor and lieutenant governor of District 7 and was defeated for reelection to that post this past cycle. He resigned the governorship in order to dedicate his time to his nomination process.

Sextimus Dalton, a transportation industry executive, was confirmed by the Senate to serve as the next Secretary of the Department of Transportation in another voice vote. Dalton, a Centre Party member, has now become the first and only member of President Mellark’s cabinet to be of an opposition party. Dalton takes over the department from Secretary James Peliot, who insisted on only serving a single term at the Department. Dalton has a long political history, starting from his first time as representative from District 5, his failed vice presidential run against Plutarch Heavensbee, his second vice presidential run with Elizabeth Steinbeck, his second tenure as a representative, and finally leading up to becoming the first Centre statewide officeholder in the nation of Panem as the lieutenant governor of District 5. Following his defeat for reelection in that role Dalton returned to the private sector until his selection to serve as Secretary.

Following these confirmations, only two nominees remained unconfirmed by the Senate (Jonathan Madison for Secretary of State, and Valère Descoteaux for Secretary of Defense). Both are awaiting confirmation hearings by the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and by the Senate Committee on Armed Services, respectively.