Tom Bakk announces retirement from Senate capping two decade career

Longtime iron range representative and Senate majority leader Tom Bakk has announced he will not seek reelection and retire from the Minnesota Senate at the end of the year. 

Bakk represented District 3, which includes portions of Cook, Koochiching, Lake and St. Louis counties in the northeastern part of Minnesota and has served in the Minnesota Legislature since 1995.

He is currently the Chair of the Senate Capital Investment Committee after previously serving as Senate Majority Leader from 2013 to 2016, and Senate Minority Leader from 2011 to 2012 and again from 2017 to 2020. He’s also served as Senate Tax Chair from 2007 to 2010 and Senate Rules and Administration Chair from 2013 to 2016. 

"Representing the people of the Arrowhead region has been one of the greatest rewards of my life, made possible by the support and patience of my family," Bakk said in a statement. "My heartfelt thanks to my constituents for entrusting me to be their voice at the capitol for so many years. I have always tried to do my best for the people I’ve served even if it was not always easy or popular with my own political party."

In February 2020 the DFL installed Senator Susan Kent as the new minority leader, ousting Senator Tom Bakk who had held the position over the last eight years. He became a member of Independent party since 

The move reflects the shifting power dynamic in the caucus away from the Iron Range, which has long been a DFL stronghold, and toward the Twin Cities Metro. 

"There is still a lot more to be done but it is time for me to pass the torch," Bakk said in a statement. 

Roughly 25% of the Legislature is retiring or seeking other offices.