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Minnesota state Rep. Diane Loeffler dies at 66

Updated: November 16, 2019 10:29 PM

Minnesota State Rep. Diane Loeffler died Saturday after a battle with cancer, according to a news release from the Minnesota House of Representatives. She was 66.

The DFLer was a lifelong resident of Northeast Minneapolis and represented District 60A. She was first elected in 2004 and was serving her eighth term.

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House Speaker Melissa Hortman, DFL-Brooklyn Park, said in a statement that Loeffler "had battled cancer, and recently the cancer returned."

“Diane was dedicated to helping people in Minnesota who were the most vulnerable — the sick, the elderly, and those with disabilities," Hortman said. “She was unfailingly kind to her colleagues. In the spring, tulips from Diane's garden graced many desks in the House Chamber. She will be missed by her House colleagues and her constituents.”

Gov. Tim Walz expressed his condolences in a tweet:

"Gwen and I send our deepest sympathies to the friends, family, and loved ones of Rep. Loeffler. She exemplified servant leadership throughout her 15 years serving in the MN House. She was a fierce advocate for her community, and will truly be missed in #mnleg."

As a child, Loeffler attended Waite Park Elementary School, Northeast Junior High School and Edison High School. She graduated from Augsburg College with a bachelor's degree in social science and a minor in education and took graduate classes at the University of Minnesota as a Policy Fellow of the Institute for Educational Leadership.

Loeffler often volunteered as an activist at the local level to improve Northeast Minneapolis. Her volunteer efforts include saving a local library, addressing pollution, developing youth programs and getting involved in housing and economic development, according to her website.

Loeffler spent her career in public service working as a policy analyst. She has worked on education issues for the state of Minnesota, on city finance and tax issues for the city of Minneapolis and the League of Minnesota Cities and in Human Services, Health and Training and Employment for Hennepin County.

Most recently she worked on health care policy analysis for Hennepin County. Her areas of focus included services for seniors and persons with disabilities and expanding access to affordable health coverage.

In her time as a state representative, Loeffler chaired the House Property and Local Tax Division and served on the full House Taxes Committee and the health and human services committees.

Loeffler is survived by her husband, Michael Vennewitz.

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