Godspeed, Senator Koch (UPDATE: Whoa!)
I fully admit that I had ZERO clue this was coming.
After just one year on the job, Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch suddenly announced she was resigning from the post because she would not seek reelection.
"We cannot afford a lame duck leader in negotiations next session, which is why I am resigning from my position as Majority Leader," she said in a letter.
You can read Senator Koch's entire letter here.
When state Republicans, in November 2010, won control of the Minnesota Senate for the first time since the early '70s, Koch shortly thereafter was named majority leader, becoming the first woman in Minnesota history to hold that title.
At this moment, there is little to go on as to why Sen. Koch will not seek re-election in 2012. Nevertheless, that doesn't preclude people like myself from speculating.
Despite the fact the legislature is in session only half the year, being leader of the majority caucus is literally a full-time (and then some) job. That leaves very little to no time for working to supplement the pittance of a salary earned by legislators, never mind a family life. With a daughter in 10th grade, it's quite possible Senator Koch felt as though she was missing out on too much family time. Since Koch herself is not a career politician, it's also possible she had grown quite weary of the nasty tone levied against her during the government shutdown in July or the fact she's been rather lukewarm on the polarizing issue of a new Vikings stadium.
To me, this might well be the perfect time to step down. In light of the news a couple of weeks ago that the state of Minnesota is looking at a $876 billion budget surplus, all without raising taxes, GOP leaders were able to extract a pledge from Governor Mark Dayton that he would not push for his long sought-after tax increase during the 2012 session. If you can get a liberal Democrat like Dayton to acquiesce to such a thing, your work is done! That, and I believe the interview I conducted with Sen. Koch on December 4 was the last radio guest appearance she conducted as Senate Majority Leader. Again, how does she top that???
But in all seriousness, I wish Senator Koch nothing but the best. She served the state of Minnesota with a tremendous amount of passion and professionalism and was true to her core convictions all the while.
UPDATE: Sen. Koch accused of "inappropriate relationship." Wow, this has been just a banner month for the Minnesota GOP, eh?