DFLer Huntley won’t run again for Duluth House seat

State Rep. Tom Huntley, DFL-Duluth, announced his support for a campaign to boost funding for services for people with disabilities at an event in front of the Duluth City Hall on Aug. 13, 2013. (Dan Kraker/MPR News)

Another longtime Minnesota lawmaker is planning to step aside next year. State Rep, Tom Huntley, DFL-Duluth announced today that he will not seek re-election to a 12th term in 2014.

Huntley is currently chair of the House Health and Human Services Finance Committee. He crafted many key pieces of health care legislation, including the Freedom to Breathe Act of 2007, which banned smoking in bars and restaurants.

Huntley said he’s been thinking about leaving the Legislature for the past year, but he wants to remain active in health care

“What I’d really like to do is – and I don’t have a job lined up or anything, but find something where I can work on expanding primary care, which is a huge national issue, and also then helping rural Minnesota adapt to the Affordable Care Act,” Huntley said.

Huntley is the second veteran DFL lawmaker to recently announce retirement plans.  He joins state Rep. Michael Paymar, DFL-St. Paul, chair of the House Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee, who announced last month he will not seek a 10th term in 2014. Both districts are reliably Democratic. Paymar’s announcement triggered a scramble among potential candidates, and Huntley said he expects a similar response in Duluth.

“I think there will be a lot of people running,” he said. “I’ve talked to several already that are very interested.”