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South St. Paul senator won't seek re-election, ending 4 decades of service

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One of the Minnesota legislature's longest-serving lawmakers has announced he won't be seeking re-election later this year.

District 52 State Senator Jim Metzen (DFL-South St. Paul) will step down later this year having started his political tenure in the House of Representatives in 1974 at the age of 31, before being elected to the Senate in 1986.

Last year he announced he had been receiving treatment for lung cancer at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester and, according to a press release, he was recognized at a special reception in South St. Paul last month with speakers including former Governor Tim Pawlenty and U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar.

During his time in the Capitol, he was president of the Senate and second-in-line to the governorship, and chair of a series of committees including banking and government operations.

"I have always been pragmatic in my approach at the Legislature. When my term is completed it is my hope that my constituents believe I represented them well and those that came in contact with me at the Capitol believe I was fair," said Sen. Metzen. "No matter if you were a Democrat or Republican, I tried to form friendships and alliances with people."

The Pioneer Press described Metzen as having "an easy laugh and a hail-fellow-well-met attitude," as well as an "old school lawmaker with close ties to lobbyists, opponents and business."

The newspaper notes he is the 4th-longest serving senator and 7th-longest serving Minnesota lawmaker ever.

Rep. Rick Hansen (DFL-South St. Paul), paid tribute to his Senate counterpart, saying: "Senator Metzen always delivered for our community. He was a chief architect of the Mighty Ducks grant program, which provides grants to upgrade ice arenas and increase indoor air quality.

"Young hockey players have him to thank for this important program to the state. Senator Metzen was also instrumental in securing funding for the Kaposia Landing in South St. Paul. These are just a couple of his many contributions. I will miss his expertise, leadership, and most importantly, his laughter in the legislature."

Melin is among a growing list of legislators who have recently announced plans to not seek re-election. The Pioneer Press’ Rachel E. Stassen-Berger has kept a running list of politicians who are planning to retire.

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