Iraq war veteran and former Republican state Rep. John Kriesel, 31, is enjoying life away from politics these days. "I have learned how precious life is," Kriesel told the Pioneer Press. After just one two-year term in the Legislature, he decided not to run for re-election to spend more time with his wife and two boys.
"My children asked me not to. I could not look them in the eye and say that after all they sacrificed, after me being gone for so long, I wouldn't quit. I wanted them to know when they got older that they could look back and know I loved them."
Kriesel remains busy counseling veterans as the director of veteran services for Anoka County, hunting and coaching. His book, "Still Standing," has also won seven awards.
While serving overseas, Kriesel lost both his legs and two friends in a roadside bomb attack. In the book, Kriesel shares his battleground experience and road to recovery -- which involved 35 surgeries.
Kriesel's time as a politician may not be over yet. In November, he said, “I would never rule out a run for governor, and the encouragement and support that I’ve received has been flattering, but I absolutely love my new job working for Anoka County Veterans Services and I’ve enjoyed being able to spend more time with my wife and sons now that I’m out of politics."