Democratic state Senator Linda Higgins says she won’t run for re-election next year in her Minneapolis District. Higgins, who was first elected to the senate in 1996, represents downtown and north Minneapolis. She said she’s announcing her retirement now so candidates have enough time to prepare for the February precinct caucuses.
“It isn’t a lifetime job,” Higgins said. “It is a situation where you do your public service and then you hand it off with a big smile on your face to the person who will go on and serve in that capacity and hope that he or she doesn’t undo all of the good work you did.”
Higgins said she’s most proud of her work to reduce predatory lending, reduce electronic waste and to ensure that courts were referring veterans to the VA health system for care. She chaired several committees until the DFL lost control of the Senate in 2010. She said it’s more difficult being in the majority.
“It’s really frustrating to go from being the chair of a committee and being responsible for $2 billion of the state’s budget to being in the capacity where no one really cares what you think and have different ideas on how to do things,” Higgins said.
Higgins said the collegiality in the Minnesota Senate has eroded since she was first elected. She said there are good people in every seat in the Minnesota Senate but complained there are fewer chances of lawmakers to gather outside of the State Capitol.
Higgins is the latest member of the Minneapolis delegation in the Senate to leave. DFL Senators Linda Berglin and Larry Pogemiller both retired over the past few months. The three members had a combined 85 years seniority in the Legislature.