GOP Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch abruptly resigned her position today and announced she won’t seek re-election.
Koch has been unavailable to comment.
Koch says there’s no hidden agenda behind her decision. She said she decided to step down because it’s time to try other things.
“I want to explore some other options. I want to spend a little time with my daughter. I think it’s ok to pass off the baton.”
Koch, who has considered possible runs for higher office like Congress and Governor in the past, says no such run is in her future. She wouldn’t rule out a run for office in the future but said it’s not in her immediate plans. She said it’s more likely that she’ll end up in the private sector than on an election ballot. She said she’ll continue to serve out her term but decided to step down because she didn’t believe the caucus should be represented by a lame duck Majority Leader.
“I’ll continue to support the caucus. I love them all. I’ll support the new Majority Leader. I’m excited what I see in 2012. I’ll be a part of that but just not in front of the cameras and the microphones maybe…”
Some senators didn’t even know the announcement was coming.
“It’s a total surprise,” Sen. David Hann, R- Eden Prairie, told MPR News.
Gov. Dayton issued this statement:
“I personally regret Senator Koch’s decision to step down as Majority Leader of the Minnesota Senate and not to seek reelection. I have developed great respect for her during the past year of working together. She has been an excellent leader of her Caucus and, while we often disagree, a strong advocate for her beliefs.
“I wish Senator Koch my very best for her continued success in future endeavors.”
GOP House Speaker Kurt Zellers issued this statement:
“Senator Koch made history this year, and it was truly an honor and a privilege to work with her during her time as Majority Leader. Her contributions to our state and its future made Minnesota better. Amy is a dear friend and I will truly miss working with her on a daily basis. She’s a role model and a natural leader. I wish nothing but the best to Amy and her family.”
MNGOP Acting Chair Kelly Fenton issued this statement:
“I want to thank Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch for her service and leadership over the past year as our first female Senate Majority Leader. Senator Koch has helped lead our state during these difficult economic times, and her policies have helped bring about a projected surplus in Minnesota. She has fought hard for Minnesota families and small businesses, and has put our state in a great position as we head into the New Year. Many thanks to Senator Koch for her incredible service and leadership.”
DFL Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk issued this statement:
“I was shocked to hear the news of Sen. Koch’s decision to step down as Majority Leader of the Minnesota Senate. While we have had many disagreements over policy and politics while serving as leaders of our respective caucuses, Amy always treated our caucus fairly and was extremely forthright and honest in all of our private discussions and negotiations. I have nothing but respect for her as a colleague, and wish her well in her future endeavors.”
We’re chasing the story but here’s her letter: