Minnesota lawmakers announce retirementST. PAUL — Sen. Steve Murphy laughed and cried and urged his colleagues to carry on with good work as he made his retirement speech on the Senate floor Sunday night.
By: Andrew Tellijohn, Worthington Daily Globe
ST. PAUL — Sen. Steve Murphy laughed and cried and urged his colleagues to carry on with good work as he made his retirement speech on the Senate floor Sunday night.
To many lawmakers retirement speeches like Murphy delivered were the highlight of the final legislative day.
Murphy is one of eight senators and 13 representatives who announced they will not run for re-election by the time this edition went to press.
Murphy, DFL-Red Wing, thanked family and staff, joking that the latter did a good job of making sure he took his medication. Then he turned serious, calling on lawmakers to work together like they did this year on a bill aimed at reducing DWIs so “we can pick up a headline we can all be proud of.”
Other Democrat senators leaving include Jim Vickerman of Tracy, Assistant Majority Leader Tarryl Clark of St. Cloud, who will leave to challenge Republican U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, and Mee Moua of St. Paul, the state’s first Hmong senator and one of the few in the country.
Retiring Republican Senators include Sens. Debbie Johnson of Blaine, Steve Dille of Dassel, Pat Pariseau of Farmington and Dennis Frederickson of New Ulm.
DFL House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher of Minneapolis won her party’s nomination for governor and will run in an Aug. 10 primary.
Rep. Tom Emmer of Delano and former House Minority Leader Marty Seifert of Marshall competed for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. Emmer won, but Seifert announced during his candidacy that he would not return to the Legislature.
GOP Rep. Dan Severson of Sauk Rapids will run for secretary of state. Other Republicans exiting the House include Rob Eastlund of Isanti, Laura Brod of New Prague, Paul Kohls of Victoria and Randy Demmer of Hayfield.
Rep. Doug Magnus, R-Slayton, also will leave the House to run for state Senate.
Democrat representatives leaving include Karla Bigham of Cottage Grove, Larry Haws of St. Cloud, Jeremy Kalin of North Branch and Cy Thao of St. Paul. Thao and Moua are the state’s only Hmong legislators.
Dille left his colleagues laughing several times. He recounted his rodeo career, which was successful until one competition when he was bucked off.
“Now I just shoot the bull,” he quipped.
An emotional Vickerman expressed pride in his work for veterans. He recalled deciding to run for the Senate at the State Fair several years ago, thinking it would be a great place to work. Through tears, told colleagues he was right.
“Remember, this is a great place and a wonderful place to work,” he said.
Seifert also got emotional talking about the friends he has from the House, both Republican and Democrat.
“I can tell stories about everyone in the room.”
With tears flowing, Bigham thanked family and colleagues for the opportunity to serve where she grew up. She said she tried to work across the aisle “because that’s how you get things done.”
Pariseau thanked staff, family and colleagues for “a joy ride” and said she’s got to go knit for her children and grandchildren.
Tellijohn reports for Forum Communications Co., which owns the Daily Globe.