Senate DFL leader resigning position, won’t seek re-election

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Senate Minority Leader Susan Kent, DFL-Woodbury, announced Thursday night that she’ll resign her position and will retire instead of seeking re-election at the end of her term next year.

Kent said she decided she needs to focus more on her family, particularly her mother, at this time.

The Senate DFL caucus is scheduled to meet on Sept. 13 to elect a new minority leader.

The announcement comes amid a change in leadership for Senate Republicans.

Below is Kent’s full statement:

"It has been the greatest honor of my life to serve my community in the Minnesota Senate for almost 10 years now. I’ve been inspired by the dedicated community members, advocates and colleagues I’ve had the privilege of working with who are committed to building a better Minnesota for everyone," Kent said. "I began my political career as a mom fighting for better and more equitable public education, and I am proud that over the course of my tenure, Minnesota students have seen some of the biggest advancements in schools in recent history, including this year’s education budget, which will invest $1B over the course of the next biennium to support our students and schools.

"The decision to retire at the end of my term next year was a difficult one, but it is in the best interest of my family. The pandemic has been hard on everyone — hard on millions of families — and mine is absolutely no exception. Throughout it all, I’ve tried my best to do two roles that I alone can do: be my son’s mother, and my mother’s daughter, in fact, her only family member. I’ve done the best I can, and my husband, Chris, has been amazing. However, COVID has complicated our lives in ways that I could not have foreseen when I stepped up to leadership. It’s been two years since I’ve seen my mother, and I’m deeply grateful for her care at an assisted living facility in Dallas where she’s been without direct family support. It is time to make changes in my life and put my family first.

"I’ve reflected on this over several months, and with a bit of distance since session ended, it became clear that I need to prioritize my family and can’t commit to another four-year term. With that decision, I have also decided to step down as Senate DFL leader to give the new leader the time they’ll need to continue fighting for the shared values we all hold dear. I am committed to supporting a new DFL Leader to ensure a smooth transition, and I will continue to work hard in my role as the Senator for my community until my last day in office. I will be forever grateful for this experience and appreciate everyone’s grace and understanding of this decision."