Politics and Government

Minnesota State Rep. Ruth Richardson resigns to focus on Planned Parenthood role

Person talks at podium
Ruth Richardson, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood North Central States, speaks at the January 2023 signing of a bill protecting abortion rights in Minnesota. Richardson resigned from her Minnesota House seat on Friday to focus on her Planned Parenthood role.
Kerem Yücel | MPR News

Updated: 5:32 p.m.

Rep. Ruth Richardson, DFL-Mendota Heights, resigned Friday from her House seat.

Richardson took on the role of president and CEO of Planned Parenthood North Central States last fall. At the time, she said she intended to stay in office and ran for reelection.

In an interview with MPR News on Saturday, she said she knows she made a promise to represent her constituents in the Minnesota House. But with so much turmoil around health care and abortion access in the region, she said she had to make a change.

“While I'm stepping away from elected office, I'm not stepping away from this fight and I will still be committed to community just as I've been before,” she said.

Richardson was first elected to the state House in 2018. She said she’s proud of the bills she helped move through the legislature, including the nation's first office on missing and murdered black women and girls, paid family and medical leave and the creation of the House Select Committee on Racial Justice.

“You know, three terms ago when I was a newly elected legislator who had just flipped, a red seat, blue. You know, looking forward to now and what I've been able to accomplish with that community, I'm really proud of that,” she said.

Richardson said she is resigning now in order to allow plenty of time for her constituents to consider her replacement.

She anticipates Gov. Tim Walz will call a special election for her seat in time for next year's Legislative session.

The Minnesota Secretary of State’s office said in a statement that the governor has maximum flexibility in setting the dates for the special primary and special general elections for the seat. The office will present options to the governor’s legal team after the Labor Day holiday.

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