After resignation, former state Rep. Ruth Richardson eyes next goal

After resignation, former state Rep. Ruth Richardson eyes next goal

A state lawmaker known for moving bills rooted in equity through the legislature is stepping away from the State Capitol.

About a week after former Rep. Ruth Richardson’s early September resignation, she already has her eye on the next goal.

“It’s bittersweet, right? It’s the opportunity to focus my efforts on something that I’m very passionate about,” Richardson said.

Richardson was first elected as a state representative in 2018.

While in office, she was a key player in passing paid family and medical leave.

She also made history by creating the first office to investigate missing and murdered Black women and girls in the nation.

In addition, she led the Minnesota House to become the first legislative chamber to declare racism a public health crisis.

“Those are things that I’m really proud to have been a part of,” Richardson said.

Now, the former lawmaker is walking away from the Capitol and walking toward another goal.

“With taking on this role as president and CEO of Planned Parenthood North Central States, we’re also in a huge fight there as well and it was time for me to focus there,” Richardson said.

Richardson found a crossroads where her leadership role at Planned Parenthood and the Office of Missing and Murdered Black Women and Girls intersect.

“As we think about domestic violence and as we also think about human trafficking and sexual exploitation, these are all things that are connected to our work,” she said.

Black women make up less than 7% of Minnesota’s population but more than 40% of the reported domestic violence cases in the state, while other cases remain unreported.

Richardson said educating patients on consent at Planned Parenthood can have a positive domino effect on lowering that statistic.

“It’s also about ensuring that individuals who are experiencing either rape or sexual exploitation know that there are community resources where they can get support,” she said.

She may be far from the State Capitol but Richardson said she’s staying close to her mission.

“I am still committed to ensuring that we’re building a more inclusive state, a more healthy state and that everyone have that opportunity to reach their optimal health,” Richardson said. “You have to be dedicated to wanting to leave this world a little bit better than the way you found it.”

Governor Tim Walz has a special election planned for Dec. 5 to fill Richardson’s House seat in District 52B.