Baby on the way for new lawmaker

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In a session already full of historic firsts, some Republicans in the Minnesota Senate were convinced that Senator-elect Michelle Benson’s pregnancy would also break new ground in 2011.

Benson, R-Ham Lake, is expecting her third child on March 23, right in the middle of the session. Turns out the pending delivery is rare but not unprecedented. Retiring Sen. Mee Moua, DFL St. Paul, gave birth to her third child in April 2006, about a month before the end of session.

Still, it means some extra preparations for the incoming freshman. Benson said she still plans to do all the work needed to represent District 49 and the state.

“There are probably going to be times I’m going to have to slow down but I will do my very best to get through that,” Benson said.

Benson said she learned of the pregnancy during the campaign, but at age 42, she decided to hold off sharing the news for a while.

“I am older than the average mom and so the risk of loss is higher the older you get,” she said.

Republicans are taking control of the Senate for the first time in 38 years. Benson is among 21 new members of the GOP caucus. Sen. Amy Koch, R-Buffalo, will be the first woman to serve as majority leader, said she learned of Benson’s pregnancy last week.

“I’ve had a baby, but I’ve never had a baby in the middle of session,” Koch said. “I won’t have a ton of advise for her, but it’s very exciting for the caucus.”

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