John Kriesel at the State Capitol
ST. LOUIS PARK, Minn. - Politics is often described as a contact sport, which may be why State Rep. John Kriesel chose KFAN radio to make a big announcement Thursday.
Kriesel (R-Cottage Grove), an Iraq war veteran who lost both legs to an Improvised Explosive Device (IED), told listeners he will not run again for the seat he won to represent his district in Cottage Grove.
The reason Kriesel gave was to spend more time with his family. He says that after serving in Iraq and spending months in the hospital recovering from his injuries and being fitted with two prosthesis, it's time to give his wife a break.
Kriesel did not rule out running for office in the future, just not this fall.
He has been an independent voice in the state legislature during his two years in St. Paul, backing the Vikings Stadium and the legal sale of more powerful fireworks.
Kriesel has also been outspoken against his party's backing of a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
Below is the letter that Kriesel sent to his colleagues in the house.
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.
(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. )