Updated: 01/06/2014 10:20 AM
Created: 01/06/2014 9:33 AM KSTP.com
By: Jennie Olson
Former Minnesota House Speaker Rod Searle, who led the chamber when it was evenly split, has died at age 93.
The Waseca farmer had been afflicted by heart complications. The Mankato Free Press reports Searle died Sunday at his home.
The moderate Republican served 24 years in the Legislature, including one session when he was elected speaker. It came when Democrats and Republicans each held 67 seats and had to strike a power sharing deal to move ahead. The split was broken during a special election later that year.
Searle was born in New Jersey but moved to Minnesota with his wife in 1947. He began farming 280 acres of run-down land. He remarried after his first wife passed away. He is survived by wife, Ruth, and three children.
Gov. Mark Dayton sent the following statement about Searle's death:
"I had the opportunity to work with former Speaker Rod Searle during his distinguished service in the Minnesota legislature. Rod was a principled leader, a dedicated public servant, and a true gentleman. He was elected Speaker of the House in 1979, because he held the respect and trust of both Republican and DFL members in that deadlocked chamber. On behalf of all Minnesotans, I extend to his family my deepest condolences and my appreciation for his service to our state."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.