Senate Majority Leader Dziedzic stepping down from leadership role amid cancer recurrence

Senate Majority Leader Kari Dziedzic (DFL-Minneapolis) is stepping down from her leadership position after learning her cancer has returned.

In a statement released Friday through a Senate DFL spokesperson, Dziedzic reflected on her accomplishments in the Senate, particularly last year.

“During the 2023 session the Minnesota Senate, working with the House and Governor’s Office, passed a historic budget to improve the lives of Minnesotans and make our state the best place to live, work, and raise a family. … From Paid Family and Medical Leave to universal school meals to the $2.6 billion Capital Investment Bill, we passed legislation that will enhance communities and strengthen families for generations,” Dziedzic said. “We worked with many Minnesotans to protect freedoms including reproductive freedom, made progress towards clean energy to address the climate crisis, strengthened gun violence prevention measures, and expanded voting rights.”

Dziedzic went on to say that within the last week, she had learned her cancer had returned and made the decision to step down as majority leader after the caucus selects a new leader.

The fifth-term senator first announced that she had a cancerous tumor removed in March before revealing the severity of that surgery the following month.

Dziedzic currently chairs the Senate’s Rules and Administration Committee and also serves on the Taxes Committee.

Several colleagues on both sides of the aisle issued statements wishing Dziedzic well, with fellow DFLer and House Speaker Melissa Hortman calling her “a great friend” and a “kind, thoughtful and wise” leader. Senate Minority Leader Mark Johnson said he’s keeping Dziedzic in his prayers and added, “I wish her all the best as she takes care of herself and beats cancer again; I know she will. Her genuine friendship as a fellow caucus leader will be deeply missed.”

She added, “Regular check-ups are key to early detection. Please visit your doctor and prioritize preventative care. Encourage your friends and family to get their wellness checkups.  It can save a life. 

“Life can be rough. You never know when others are dealing with family or medical challenges. Kindness and a smile go a long way. Take time to call a friend and hug your loved ones.”