Will not run for re-election in 2012
By Ryan Gueningsman
ST. PAUL, MN Sen. Amy Koch (R-Buffalo) has told Minnesota Public Radio she will be stepping down from her leadership role in the Republican Party and also will not be seeking re-election in 2012.
Koch, the first female majority leader in Minnesota Senate history, was named to this position earlier this year.
“After thoughtful conversations with my family and friends, I am announcing today that I am not seeking reelection in Senate District 19 and therefore am resigning as majority leader of the Minnesota State Senate,” Koch said in her resignation letter, dated Thursday.
“It has been a challenging, exciting and exhausting year,” she continued. “When I was elected by my peers to be the majority leader, we faced a $6.2 billion budget deficit, had 20 new members in our Republican caucus, and the task of streamlining and organizing the Senate under a new majority.”
Koch said she spent endless hours hiring the best staff, orientating new members, and leading the Senate through “one of the most difficult sessions in the history of our state.”
Koch said Republicans produced a balanced budget with major reforms to improve Minnesota, and said, “we’ve recently learned, reinforcing our fiscal conservative policies, that Minnesota now has a budget surplus.”
She said she feels Minnesota is in a stronger position today because of the steps the Republicans took in the legislature to reform government and put the economy back on course.
“I want the caucus to continue to achieve what the voters sent us to the capitol to do,” she said in the letter. “We cannot afford a lame duck leader in negotiations next session, which is why I am resigning from my position as majority leader.”
Koch said, once she made this decision, it was important to her to provide the residents of Senate District 19 the opportunity to find a new candidate and allow her caucus the maximum amount of time to prepare for the upcoming session.
“I cannot thank members enough for having the confidence in me as leader of our caucus,” Koch concluded in her letter. “I am so proud of the work we have done thus far and look forward to the success we will see under new leadership.”
Koch, who has considered possible runs for higher office, such as Congress and governor in the past, would not rule out a future run for office, but said it’s not in her immediate plans, according to Minnesota Public Radio.
Republican Party of Minnesota Acting Chairwoman Kelly Fenton thanked Koch for her service to the state since her election in 2005, and for her service as Senate majority leader this past year.
“Senator Koch has helped lead our state during these difficult economic times, and her policies have helped bring about a projected surplus in Minnesota,” Fenton said.
“She has fought hard for Minnesota families and small businesses, and has put our state in a great position as we head into the new year. Many thanks to Senator Koch for her incredible service and leadership.”
Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton said he personally regrets Koch’s decision to step down as majority leader and not to seek reelection.
“I have developed great respect for her during the past year of working together,” Dayton said in a statement. “She has been an excellent leader of her caucus and, while we often disagree, a strong advocate for her beliefs. I wish Senator Koch my very best for her continued success in future endeavors.”
Koch, who was first elected in 2005 in a special election to replace Mark Ourada, was re-elected in 2006, and again in 2010.
District 19 includes Delano, Montrose, Waverly, Rockford, Albertville, Buffalo, Clearwater, Maple Lake, Monticello, Otsego, and St. Michael.