Winkler retiring from Legislature

Rep. Ryan Winkler, DFL-Golden Valley, is retiring and moving to Belgium with his family.

Winkler, who worked on education, wage and campaign finance issues, among other things, said his wife has landed a job based there.

"Taking this step has led me to the difficult decision to step down from the House of Representatives this summer," Winkler said in a statement. "For the last nine years you have given me a great honor in letting me represent you in the legislature."

Winkler was first elected in 2006.

Now, a special election will be held to fill Winkler's seat.

Peggy Flanagan, who currently serves as executive director of the Children's Defense Fund-Minnesota, said she's seriously considering a run for Winkler's seat.

Flanagan, who lives in St. Louis Park, previously worked for Sen. Al Franken, Wellstone Action, and Minnesotans United for All Families, the main group working against a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.

House Minority Leader Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, said he'll miss Winkler's "impatience with injustice. He is always willing to take on the tough fights and not back down. He drove the discussion forward about how to make our economy work better for people. His work to raise the minimum wage and improve opportunity for average Minnesotans is a tremendous legacy."

With reporting from MPR New reporter Tom Scheck. 

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