DFL Sen. Tom Bakk out as minority leader; Susan Kent chosen as replacement

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The DFL has new leadership in the Minnesota Senate.

State Sen. Susan Kent, DFL-Woodbury, was elected as the senate minority leader during a closed caucus Saturday afternoon, said Ellen Anderson, communications director for Sen. Tom Bakk, the DFL’s previous Senate leader. Kent is the first woman to lead the caucus.

Bakk had served as the DFL’s Senate leader since he was elected minority leader in 2011. He was first elected to the Legislature in 1994.

Kent was elected to the Senate in 2012 and is in the last year of her second term. She is on three separate finance and policy committees. Kent had been serving as the assistant Senate minority leader before Saturday’s vote.

In a statement, House Speaker Melissa Hortman called Kent a "progressive champion." She also praised Bakk’s work as DFL Senate leader.

"As my partner and leader of the DFL Senate, he has been a trusted resource and friend," Hortman said. "He deserves our gratitude and appreciation for his service."

House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler also congratulated Kent on her victory.

"There is so much at stake this year, and I look forward to working with her and Senate DFLers on a bold, progressive agenda to benefit all Minnesotans," Winkler said in a statement.