Rep. Nick Zerwas resigning from Legislature after heart surgery

The Elk River Republican will step down next month.
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Minnesota lawmaker Rep. Nick Zerwas is resigning from the House next month, which follows recent heart surgery.

The 38-year-old is currently serving his 4th term in the Legislature, but will step down effective Dec. 6.

"For the last 13 years it has been the honor of my lifetime to serve my neighbors in Elk River on the city council and the state legislature," he said in a statement. "My recent heart surgery brought into focus the need to spend as much time as I can with my wife and three-year-old son and spend my prime working years providing the best possible life for my family.

"It is not easy leaving a job that I absolutely love, but I'm able to depart on my own terms with no regrets and with optimism for what lies ahead. I want to thank my parents, my brothers, my wife Bette and my son for being unbelievably supportive of my service in the legislature."

Rep. Zerwas underwent a procedure last month to replace the cardiac pacemaker he'd had previously installed.

During his time in the office, Rep. Zerwas has been behind bills including the "Right To Try" act, giving dying patients the rights to try experimental medications and procedures.

It comes after he was born with a three-chambered heart, with his parents told he wouldn't live past the age of 7. He himself underwent an experimental operation to replace one half of his heart with part of a cow's, as the Star Tribune reported.

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Over his life he's had 11 heart surgeries, two of them during his time in the Legislature. His work on Right to Try saw him invited by President Donald Trump to the White House for the signing of federal legislation to that effect.

Rep. Zerwas was also involved in the reform of the use of solitary confinement in prisons in Minnesota, and during his time in office has also been a vocal critic of Metro Transit spending and the ongoing problems in the Minnesota DHS.

House Minority Leader Rep. Kurt Daudt said Zerwas' service has "made Minnesota a better place."

"He has earned respect on both sides of the aisle, and we will miss his humor and wit," he said. "I know this was a difficult choice, but he’s making the best decision for him and his family and we wish him nothing but the best as he moves on to the next chapter."

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