Best Politician - 2012
In today's divisive world of Minnesota politics, sane moments are hard to come by. That's why Republican John Kriesel made such an impression. At the end of the 2011 legislative session, when everyone was ignoring the pressing budget crisis in favor of a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, Kriesel was one of the only Republicans who refused to toe the party line. In one of the most moving speeches given by a Minnesota politician in recent memory, Kriesel, a veteran of the Iraq war, publicly denounced the amendment, declaring that any soldiers who can fight for their country should have the right to come home and marry their loved ones. "This amendment doesn't represent what I went to fight for," declared Kriesel. This passion has defined Kriesel's short tenure as a Minnesota Republican. He's among a minority of legislators who actually votes the way he sees fit, rather than how the party overlords tell him to. It's a shame that Kriesel recently announced he would be retiring from the Legislature. The way things are going, we can use all the sanity we can get.