UPDATED: Rep. Kate Knuth Won't Seek Re-election
Redistricting put her in new Fridley district with Rep. Tillberry.
UPDATED BELOW State Rep. Kate Knuth (DFL-50B) will not seek re-election this year, she said in a statement at her legislative website.
Knuth represents a small portion of southeast Fridley (see PDF map). She was one of two incumbent representatives in a new House district that includes all of the city of Fridley as well as parts of other cities.
Last week a new redistricting map put Knuth in new House District 41A with Tom Tillberry, who lives in Fridley.
“Representing my neighbors in New Brighton, Arden Hills, Shoreview and Fridley in the Minnesota House of Representatives is an honor. Running for and serving in office has allowed me to get to know my community and its geography and people in a unique and fulfilling way. I am so grateful for the many wonderful people who have taken the time to help me do this job well.
“I am proud of the work we do together to make Minnesota an exceptional place to live. In particular, I am proud to have worked with local leaders on environmental cleanup and redevelopment needs in my community. I am also glad that Minnesota is on a cleaner, more homegrown energy path because of work we have done over the last few years.
“While I will not be seeking reelection, I look forward to serving my neighbors through this term. I will continue to seek out ways in which to contribute to making Minnesota, and the world, a healthier and more sustainable place. I consider myself lucky to love Minnesota, my home state, more than I can fully describe. My service, leadership, and life’s work will always be firmly rooted in this place and its people.”
Neither Knuth or Tillberry was immediately available for comment. Knuth lives in New Brighton and is in her third term at the Minnesota Legislature. Tillberry lives in Fridley and is also in his third term.
Word of Knuth's decision spread via media reports on Twitter, where people are also reacting to the news.
News to HimUpdate (4:45 p.m. Wednesday): Tillberry said in an interview Wednesday afternoon that although the two legislators had discussed their dilemna, Knuth's announcement came as news to him.
"I didn't know what decision she had made," Tillberry said. "I knew she was struggling with the decision. I know it's difficult. I had the same decision to make."
Tillberry said he had decided to run again, but observed that the new redistricting map left Knuth in a different situation than his.
"Her district got but up pretty good," Tillberry said, with the city of New Brighton divided under the new political boundaries. He said he is "used to" Fridley being divided between House districts and is "rejoicing" that the city is unified in a single district on the new map.
A Family Dynasty
Update (5 p.m. Wednesday): Knuth is a second-generation Minnesota legislator. Her father, Dan Knuth, served three terms in the state House, also as a DFLer, representing New Brighton in what was then District 52B.
Kate Knuth's uncle, Gordon Backlund (Dan Knuth's brother-in-law) also served in the House for a term in the 1980s as an Independent Republican representing Fridley and what was then District 51A. Backlund now serves on the Fridley School Board.
Update (8:30 a.m. Thursday): Editor's Note: Look for more from interviews with Knuth and Tillberry soon at Fridley Patch.