Freshman Republican Rep. John Kriesel, an Iraq War veteran and widely touted as a rising star in the House GOP caucus, says he will not seek reelection to his House seat this fall.
The first-term lawmaker from Cottage Grove announced his retirement in a letter to his colleagues on Thursday, citing a “strain at home” caused by his work at the state Capitol.
“My military career was very tough on my family, and while being a state representative pales in comparison, it still causes additional strain at home,” he wrote. “Juggling my job at the Capitol, my job working for the National Guard and still giving my wife and sons the time they deserve has become increasingly difficult.”
Kriesel’s surprise victory in House District 57A, a DFL-leaning, blue collar area, led to an even more surprising first year in St. Paul. Kriesel regularly took firm positions against his caucus on issues like the budget, expanded gambling, and most notably, the gay marriage amendment. Kriesel has been working with the main group opposing the gay marriage ban, Minnesotans United for All Families, in an effort to defeat the constitutional amendment his fellow Republicans passed last spring.
“I am proud of the work that I’ve done at the Capitol,” he wrote. “Although I’m certain there is not one person that agrees with every vote I made, I truly thought about each decision and voted from my heart with the best interest of my constituents in mind.”
Kriesel says he plans to stay active in politics.