Thissen will not seek re-election

Former Minnesota House Speaker is running for governor


Rep. Paul Thissen said Wednesday he does not plan to seek re-election to a 9th term representing District 61B.

Thissen announced plans to run for governor in June and is seeking the DFL endorsement in that race. He has represented his Southwest Minneapolis since 2002, and previously ran for governor in 2010.

“It has been an incredible honor to serve my constituents and the people of Minnesota for the past fifteen years,” Thissen said in a statement released by his office. “Together we experienced some serious challenges including the worst economic downturn in generations from which many Minnesota families have still not fully recovered and we joined together to win some incredible victories for every day Minnesotans. Above all, I had the opportunity over the last fifteen years to meet and learn from the most amazing people all across this state — people who step up every day to make their communities and their state better. We are so blessed to live in a state with so many brilliant, creative, committed people.”

Thissen served as Minnesota House Speaker during the 2012–2013 biennium. In the middle of Gov. Mark Dayton’s first term, DFLers in the legislature notched a number of victories, including passage of marriage equality, funding for free, all-day kindergarten statewide and Minnesota’s first minimum wage hike in nearly a decade.

Thissen also served as chair of the Health and Human Services Committee 2007–2010 and led House DFLers 2011–2016. He lives in the East Harriet neighborhood and is an attorney with Ballard Spahr (formerly Lindquist & Vennum) specializing in health care law.

At least four DFL candidates are seeking Thissen’s seat: healthcare industry consultant Sara Freeman; high school teacher Tim Laughinghouse; Jamie Long, the deputy chief of staff for Congressman Keith Ellison; and General Mills brand manager Meggie Wittorf.

District 61B includes the East Calhoun, CARAG, East Harriet, Lynnhurst, Kenny, Armatage, Windom and Page neighborhoods, as well as portions of Tangletown, Fulton, Diamond Lake and Field.