Rep. John Kline will not seek re-election in 2016
(KMSP) - Rep. John Kline announced Thursday he will not seek re-election in 2016.
Kline did not list the reasons he is not running for an eighth term as the congressman for Minnesota's 2nd District, a position he has held since 2002.
The congressman said in a statement he will continue to work hard in the house during his last 16 months in office. Kline currently serves as chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee.
“I will stay true to my conservative values focusing on the critical work of reining in runaway federal spending, deficits, and debt that are a barrier to our economic recovery,” Kline said in a statement.
Gov. Mark Dayton addressed Kline's announcement in a statement Thursday afternoon, saying despite their political differences, Kline has served the people of Minnesota well during his time in Congress.
"While he and I may disagree, honest political differences comprise the strength of our democracy," Dayton said. "I respect him for his sincerity and integrity and I thank him for his public service."
State Rep. Joe Atkins (D-Inver Grove Heights) also thanked Kline for his service in the House. Atkins resides in the 2nd District.
"We have agreed on some issues, like support for veterans and their families, and disagreed on other issues, but I have always appreciated his willingness to serve," Atkins said in a statement. "I wish him well in his retirement."
The Associated Press said Atkins has been recruited by his party for years to challenge the incumbent Republican for his seat. The state representative said he will announce his own plans for the future later this week.
Two Democrats have already officially declared they will run for the Democratic Party's nomination, Angie Craig, an executive at St. Jude Medical, and Mary Lawrence, a physician who worked for the Department of Veterans Affairs.