Kriesel leaving: 'best decision for family'
ST. PAUL -- John Kriesel is leaving the Minnesota Legislature for his family. After one term in the Minnesota House, Kriesel, R-Cottage Grove, announced Thursday he is not running again so he can spend more time with his wife and children. "I wil...
ST. PAUL -- John Kriesel is leaving the Minnesota Legislature for his family.
After one term in the Minnesota House, Kriesel, R-Cottage Grove, announced Thursday he is not running again so he can spend more time with his wife and children.
"I will miss this, but this is the best decision for my family," he said in an interview.
Kriesel entered the House last year already well known to many in the Twin Cities. He lost both legs in the Iraqi war and received lots of publicity for that and a resulting book before running for office.
Now, he said, it is time to be with his sons and to allow his wife, Katie, to pursue her own goals.
"I'm at the point in life where I feel like she should get to follow her path," he said. "She held down the fort when I was deployed overseas, pulled extra duty when I decided to run for office and worked full time through it all."
Kriesel was elected to the House in 2010 when he beat Jen Peterson, a Cottage Grove City Council member. His goal in coming to the Legislature was to "restore people's faith in politics," and Kriesel said he hopes to have achieved that.
"I wanted to show that you can be a regular person and still do this," he said.
Kriesel's biggest legislative spotlight came last May when he was one of two Republicans who voted against a constitutional amendment proposal that would ban gay marriages.
He said he fought in Iraq for freedom, and the ban would do the opposite.
He will continue to work hard until the end of the session, he said.
"There is still much work to be done," Kriesel said. "I have a genuine passion for politics and plan to stay active, just not as a candidate."
Kriesel said he looks forward to spending time with his sons this summer, watching them play baseball and going fishing. "all the things kids are supposed to do with their dad."
He thanked lawmakers and constituents for the opportunity and their support.
"It's been amazing. Every day I walk in here ... it feels almost like a dream," he said. "It's something I'll look back on fondly and I'm glad I did it."
Nordine reports for Forum Communications Co., which owns the Daily Globe.