John Kriesel, pro-gay marriage MNGOP Rep., won't seek reelection [VIDEO]
Kriesel won't seek reelection this November, saying his military and political duties have created difficulties for his family.
Last May, Rep. John Kriesel, R-Cottage Grove, gave one of the most remarkable, well-delivered speeches in the history of the Minnesota House.
Kriesel, 30, lost both of his legs in Iraq in 2006. During his speech, voice breaking with emotion, he recalled gay military colleagues of his who had died serving their country. If they are good enough to fight and die for the U.S., aren't they good enough to marry who they want? Kriesel urged his Republican colleagues to "stand up for freedom" and join him in voting against the proposed gay marriage ban (video of the speech is embedded below).
Today, citing a desire to spend more time with his young family, Kriesel announced that he will not seek a second term to the Minnesota House. He didn't rule out a run for political office in the future.
In reporting on Kriesel's announcement, Politics in Minnesota characterized the Cottage Grove lawmaker as "a rising star in the GOP caucus." The Star Tribune writes that Kriesel "won notice for his active social media presence, on which he chats about his frequent trips to Las Vegas and his love of beer, and for being one of the few Republicans to vote against the constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage." He's also known as a fervent supporter of the Vikings' new stadium drive.
Observers of Minnesota politics on Twitter generally expressed disappointment about Kriesel's decision. Here's some of the reaction:
Just want to thank @johnkriesel for one of the greatest floor speeches I've ever heard. Will live long in annals of Minnesota human rights.-- David Brauer (@dbrauer) March 15, 2012
And here's video of Kriesel's epic pro-gay rights speech:
Finally, a transcript of Kriesel's statement announcing his decision not to seek reelection:
Fellow members and staff,
After much thought, personal reflection and consultation with my family, I have decided not to seek re-election to the Minnesota House of Representatives.
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. 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.
I cannot believe that my sons will be 10 and 11 this year. As parents we get only a few precious years with our children before they grow up and move out of the nest. I want to make sure that I am around for my sons during this very impressionable time in their lives.
My wife Katie has been nothing short of amazing. She held down the fort when I was deployed overseas, pulled extra duty when I decided to run for office and worked full time through it all. I would not be in the position I am today without her love and support. She has continued to put her career goals on hold while I have pursued my own dreams and now I feel it is my turn to step up at home and let her continue on her path.
I am proud of the work that I've done at the Capitol. I worked hard to represent all the people of my district equally, not just those that voted for me. 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.
Rest assured I will finish this session and the rest of 2012 strong. There is still much work to be done. I have a genuine passion for politics and plan to stay active, just not as a candidate. It has been an honor serving Minnesotans at the Capitol. This is a time in my life I will remember fondly.
I want to thank all of the people that have mentored me and encouraged me to seek re-election. It is truly humbling to know how many supporters I have. Please know this decision was not easy, but it is the decision that is best for my family at this time.
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