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Jim Metzen, one of the longest serving MN lawmakers, dies at age 72

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Minnesota state Sen. Jim Metzen has died at age 72.

According to a news release, the Democrat from South St. Paul died from lung cancer late Monday.

Metzen was one of the longest-serving Minnesota lawmakers ever, the Pioneer Press reported earlier this year. He was first elected to public office when he was just 23 years old – he served on the South St. Paul City Council until he was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in 1974.

He was re-elected to the House in 10 campaigns, the release says, before being elected to the state Senate in 1986. Metzen was serving in his ninth term in the Senate, but had announced earlier this year he wouldn't be seeking re-election due to health problems.

Metzen got a standing ovation when he decided to retire.

During his tenure, he served as the president of the Senate from 2003 to 2011, as well as the chair of numerous committees and subcommittees. He focused on employment, education, taxes and economic development, his bio says.

The Pioneer Press says Metzen was known around the Capitol for his "easy laugh and congenial attitude."

He survived by his wife and two children, according to his bio.

People who knew the longtime lawmaker have been sharing their condolences.

Lt. Gov. Tina Smith released a statement saying Metzen "loved the Minnesota Senate, South St. Paul, hockey, and most of all his family. He represented his district with energy and commitment for 42 years. He was a great friend, and we will all miss him very much."

Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, said he'll always remember Metzen for his "wonderful personality, his jokes and his nicknames for everyone."

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