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A leading MN lawmaker is leaving her seat to join a lobbying firm

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A veteran DFL lawmaker is resigning her seat in the Minnesota House to join a lobbying firm.

Rep. Ann Lenczewski of Bloomington announced the decision Monday, saying she has accepted a position with Lockridge Grindahl Nauen P.L.L.P. and will begin working there next year.

Lenczewski has served in the Legislature since 1999, and is one of the House's leading experts on tax policy, the St. Paul Pioneer Press notes.

She has chaired or been the minority party lead on the powerful House Taxes Committee for much of her tenure, and helped usher through Gov. Mark Dayton's tax increase package in the 2013-14 legislative session, according to the Star Tribune.

House DFL Leader Paul Thissen issued an email statement saying Lenczewski's departure leaves "a huge hole" in the Legislature.

"There is no one at the Capitol – indeed, few in the entire state – who knew and cared as much about taxes," Thissen said of Lenczewski. "She leaves behind a fairer, structurally sound tax system for all Minnesotans."

Lenczewski was first elected in 1998, and has won re-election by comfortable margins for years. She defeated her Republican opponent in 2014 by about 30 percentage points.

"It is time for someone else in Bloomington to bring ideas and advocacy to the Capitol," Lenczewski said in her statement. "It is also time for me to return to the private sector."

At Lockridge Grindahl Nauen, Lenczewski will work on the government relations team, the firm said in a statement.

"Ann's unique expertise in tax policy and its interaction across state, county and municipal governments – together with her unparalleled political savvy – will significantly enhance our practice," said Rebecca Klett, a firm partner in charge of state government relations.

The firm has offices in Minneapolis and Washington DC.

Lenczewski is the latest in a long line of former legislators who have gone to lobbying after leaving office – at least 60 have done so since 2002, according to the Pioneer Press.

That happens despite the fact that Minnesota House rules call for members to wait for a year after leaving office to become lobbyists. The Pioneer Press says that rule is "unenforceable" and therefore ignored.

A special election will be required to fill Lenczewski's seat in the House.

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