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Longtime state Sen. Dick Cohen of St. Paul says he won't seek reelection

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Sen. Dick Cohen
Sen. Dick Cohen, DFL-St. Paul, speaks during a Senate floor hearing at the Capitol in St. Paul in February 2015.
Jeffrey Thompson | MPR News 2015

Updated: 9:28 p.m.

Longtime Democratic state Sen. Dick Cohen of St. Paul announced Sunday that he won't seek reelection in 2020.

Cohen, 69, has represented Highland Park, Macalester-Groveland and other western St. Paul neighborhoods in the Minnesota Senate since 1987. Prior to his tenure in the Senate, he served three terms in the state House.

When Democrats held the Senate majority, Cohen served as chairman of the powerful Finance Committee. 

In a letter to constituents, Cohen said he's opting against running for another term because of family commitments and business opportunities that will require more travel. He said he'll serve until the end of the current term.

"It has been the honor of my lifetime to represent the district in which I have lived all my life," he wrote.

Senate DFL Leader Tom Bakk issued a statement calling Cohen "an outstanding public servant." 

"His expertise in state budget issues is irreplaceable and his insight will be sorely missed by both the Legislature and the citizens of Minnesota," Bakk wrote.

Just last month, Cohen had indicated he would seek reelection. In October, former Minnesota House Majority Leader Erin Murphy, a fellow DFLer, announced her campaign for Cohen's seat, saying she didn't see enough urgency from Cohen to address important issues.

At that time, Cohen said he assumed "it will be a spirited campaign. I’m going to run on my record, which is as progressive as any legislator in this state."

Murphy issued a statement Sunday, writing that Cohen "was not just a longtime legislator, he was a leader in the caucus and Senate, and he worked to mentor many who serve there now. While we have been competitors, we’ve also been allies and partners — I’ve seen his work firsthand and I know that he will continue to be a force in our politics and public policy for years to come."