Minnesota Senate DFL chooses new Majority Leader

Former Senate Majority Leader Kari Dziedzic (FOX 9)

The Minnesota Senate has chosen a new Majority Leader ahead of the legislative session that begins on Feb. 12, following the announcement that former Senate Majority Leader Kari Dziedzic (DFL-Minneapolis) would be stepping down from her leadership role because her cancer has returned.

The Senate DFL Caucus has chosen Sen. Erin Murphy (DFL-St. Paul) as its new Senate Majority Leader.

"I am honored by the vote of my Senate colleagues, and I’m committed to working with all the members of the diverse DFL Caucus to serve the people of Minnesota wherever they live," said Sen. Murphy in a statement on Tuesday. "In the coming months, following the example set by leader Dziedzic, we will continue our work building on what we accomplished in the 2023 legislative session to meet Minnesotans where they are at, and to improve their lives."

New Majority Leader Murphy, who served as Assistant Leader until her selection, also served as chair of the Senate State and Local Government and Veterans Committee. During the 2023 legislative session, she authored the $1.6 billion State and Local Government budget bill.

Majority Leader Murphy is a registered nurse, and served in the Minnesota House of Representatives from 2007-2019, serving as House Majority Leader from 2013-2015. She was elected to the Minnesota Senate in 2020.

On Feb. 2, Sen. Dziedzic announced she would relinquish the role, and that her cancer had returned.

Dziedzic was diagnosed with ovarian cancer last year and had surgery to remove a tumor in March 2023. At the time, she said her "unexpected diagnosis" complicated the 2023 legislative session, but it "did not slow down or divert us from our focus. Senate DFL members and staff stepped up and worked as a team."

Minnesota House Speaker Melissa Hortman released a statement on Dziedzic's decision, saying:

"I am devastated by the news of Senate Majority Leader Dziedzic's cancer recurrence. Minnesota could not have asked for a better, more effective leader of the Minnesota Senate. Her kind, thoughtful, and wise leadership brought the Senate through the most productive legislative session in 50 years. Beyond all of that, she’s a great friend. I'm praying for her to receive excellent health care and to return to full-time legislating as soon as possible."