St. Paul Rep. Paymar not seeking re-election to Minnesota House

Rep. Michael Paymar, DFL-St. Paul, during a budget debate in 2011 (Nikki Tundel/MPR News file)

State Rep. Michael Paymar, DFL-St. Paul, said today that he will not seek a 10th term in the Minnesota House in 2014.

Paymar, the chair of the House Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee, has been a leading advocate for gun control. He pushed unsuccessfully during the 2013 session for an expanded background check bill that was opposed by many gun owners.

More recently, Paymar expressed frustration over the resistance to enact tighter security measures within the State Capitol.

But Paymar said that those issues were not factors in his decision. He said he intends to spend more time working with Education for Critical Thinking, a nonprofit organization that he started to try to reduce gender-based violence.

“I have an opportunity to do national and international speaking and training on this topic that I feel passionate about,” Paymar said. “So, the stars are just lining up for this career for me.”

On guns, Paymar said he feels like he didn’t get the job done on background checks. But he’s confident that other lawmakers will take up the cause.

“Someone else will have to take the ball on that one,” he said. “It will pass.”

Paymar’s House district includes the Highland Park and Macalester-Groveland neighborhoods of St. Paul.

UPDATE:

A former Paymar staffer has already announced she is running for the 64B seat.

Melanie McMahon said she plans to seek the DFL endorsement.

“I’m grateful for the leadership that Rep. Paymar has provided for the district,” she said in an email.  “Having had the opportunity to work closely with him as a Committee Administrator to the Public Safety Finance Division of the House of Representatives and as his campaign manager, I know that he has served the district well and I wish him well on his new endeavor with Education for Critical Thinking.”

McMahon, an attorney who lives in the district, said she currently serves as the Vice Chair of the Long Range Capitol Improvement Budget Committee of St. Paul, and serves as the Grid #5 Representative on the Highland District Council.