DFL Rep. John Lesch is the first Democrat to file for an open Minnesota Senate seat that’s being vacated by DFL Sen. Ellen Anderson. Gov. Dayton appointed Anderson to chair the Public Utilities Commission. Lesch officially filed his paperwork on Friday morning to run for the seat.
Lesch, who represents House District 66A, is a St. Paul City Attorney. He also serves in the Minnesota National Guard.
Lesch has been active on consumer protection and tax issues during his time in the Legislature. His most noticeable piece of legislation was a ban on “dangerous dogs” that would have outlawed five breeds of dogs from the state. The legislation never made it into law.
Some of his actions have also raised eyebrows. For example, Lesch decided to travel to Iraq on his own in 2006 right at the height of the Iraq war. He told MPR News at the time that he wanted to see firsthand what conditions were like in the country.
Senate District 66, which includes St. Paul and Falcon Heights, is a district that votes heavily for DFL candidates. Several other Democrats are also thinking about running for the seat. Republican Greg Copeland has also filed.
Here’s the part of the release from Lesch’s campaign:
John Lesch was first elected State Representative for Minnesota’s District 66A in November of 2002. His Saint Paul district includes Como Park, the North End, and East Side neighborhoods. His focus in the legislature is on consumer protections, crime/public safety and economic justice issues. Legislative committees on which he has served include: Taxes, Local and Property Tax Division, Regulated Industries, Gaming division, Civil Law and Elections, Judiciary Policy and Finance, Governmental Operations and Veterans Affairs Policy, and Local Government and Metropolitan Affairs.
In addition to his role as a legislator, John prosecutes domestic assault crimes as an Assistant City Attorney for Saint Paul. In this role, he is an active member of AFSCME Local #3757, and a delegate to the St. Paul Trades and Labor Assembly. Prior to his job as a prosecutor, John worked for two years as Legislative Aide to then Saint Paul Councilmember (now mayor) Chris Coleman where he addressed affordable housing issues, traffic and safety initiatives, and neighborhood environmental concerns.
“I am proud to have served with a strong mentor and friend,” said Lesch, “and I will be sad to see her leave. I plan to continue her fight for progressive change in our neighborhoods and throughout Minnesota.”