ST. PAUL, Minn. (FOX 9) - Minnesota Senate Democratic Leader Susan Kent announced she will be retiring at the end of her term and will be stepping down from her leadership position now.
It means both Senate caucuses are looking for new leaders. Earlier this week, Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-East Gull Lake, announced his resignation from the leadership role. He is expected to announce his decision on whether to run for governor in the coming weeks.
In a statement released Thursday, Kent said she will not seek re-election in 2022 because she wants focus more on her family, especially her mother.
"It's been two years since I've seen my mother, and I'm deeply grateful for her care at an assisted living facility in Dallas where she’s been without direct family support," wrote Kent. "It is time to make changes in my life and put my family first."
The Senate DFL caucus will elect a new Senate Minority Leader on Sept. 13.
Kent has served in the Senate for 10 years and became the first female Senate DFL leader in early 2020 when the caucus ousted Sen. Tom Bakk in favor of Kent.
Kent's announcement comes as a third-party investigation gets underway to determine if she mishandled a sexual harassment complaint made by a DFL staffer against another staffer. Kent has said she followed Senate policies but agreed to an investigation after criticism from several members of her own caucus.
Kent's decision not to seek re-election means an open seat in her competitive East Metro district, though it's unclear how the district will change before the 2022 election because of redistricting. She's the third suburban DFLer to announce plans to retire, following Sen. Chris Eaton of Brooklyn Center and Sen. Jerry Newton of Coon Rapids.
Senate Republicans elected Sen. Mark Johnson of East Grand Forks as their temporary leader Thursday after Gazelka stepped down from his leadership post. The Senate GOP hasn't scheduled an election to choose a permanent leader.