A deadly light rail accident on the Green Line hit home at the State Capitol, as the woman struck and killed by a train was a long-time staff member of the Minnesota Senate. Lynne Thomas was a legislative assistant with the nonpartisan Senate Research Office. There's not a senator or staffer who didn't know her, and there wasn't a dry eye in the Senate chambers on Thursday.
"Members and staff that we're joined with, I have to announce that the Senate lost one of our own this morning," Majority Leader Tom Bakk said. "There was a tragic accident on the light rail line, and Lynne Thomas died as a result of her injuries."
Thomas was a 28-year veteran of the Minnesota Senate staff.
At about 7:30 a.m. Thursday, Thomas crossed University Avenue at Snelling Avenue. For unknown reasons, she was struck by a Green Line train and later died at Regions Hospital.
At her Senate office, the empty chair creates space that grief cannot fill.
"Everybody of every party, everybody cared about her," said Sen. John Marty (DFL-Roseville). "And she was a very careful person. The kind of employee everybody would want to have. The person you'd want to work with. The first person you'd see in the morning."
It was Lynne Thomas who could start all conversations, but today she stopped them. A moment of silence was held in both the House and Senate.
Gov. Mark Dayton statement
"My heart goes out to the family and friends of Lynne Thomas for their sudden and tragic loss. I also extend my deepest condolences to all of the Senators and staff in the Minnesota Senate family."
Words from the Capitol
Thoughts and prayers to the family of the Minnesota Senate's Lynne Thomas. We will miss her.— Sen. Karin Housley (@SenKarinHousley) April 30, 2015
I am keeping the friends and family of Lynne Thomas in my thoughts and prayers. It's a very sad day for our Senate family. #mnleg— Senator Kent Eken (@Kent_Eken) April 30, 2015
MGRC members were always met with a smile from Lynne Thomas in Senate Counsel & Research, thoughts & prayers to Senate staff & her family.— MGRC (@MGRC315) April 30, 2015
Very saddened by the passing of Lynne Thomas, who always had a kind word. Her family & friends are in my thoughts & prayers.— Susan Kent (@SusanKentMN) April 30, 2015
Terrible news about Lynne Thomas. The #mnleg will sorely miss her sunny professionalism - thoughts and prayers go out to her family.— Andrew Chelseth (@Henryk006) April 30, 2015