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Constituents honor Sen. Gary Kubly as he heads to St. Paul for one last session

State Sen. Gary Kubly was feted Sunday in Granite Falls, as he prepared to head to St.

State Sen. Gary Kubly was feted Sunday in Granite Falls, as he prepared to head to St. Paul next week for what will be his final legislative session.

Kubly, who was diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease in December 2010, won’t seek re-election but is ready to represent the people of District 20 one more time after 16 years working in the halls of the Capitol.

Community members honored Kubly with a lunch at Prairie’s Edge Casino Resort, sponsored by the DFL-7th District Central Committee.

Kubly, a Lutheran minister, was first elected to the state House in 1996 and to the state Senate in 2002.

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He used a cane to get around the Capitol last session; this year, he’ll use a walker.

He told the West Central Tribune:

“I had thought of resigning, but they talked me out of it.’’

“Nobody wanted him to resign,’’ quickly added his spouse, Pat. They will celebrate their 42nd wedding anniversary next month. Her husband’s slow and strained speech is difficult for many to understand, and Pat often serves to voice his messages.

She will be accompanying him to St. Paul, where they have an apartment near the Capitol for the session.

His wife told the Star Tribune’s Jon Tevlin:

“The original reason he ran for office was to keep rural issues on the front burner. His initial area of concern were the large, industrial feedlots in Renville County.”

Added Tevlin:

Kubly worked on legislation that involved safety and odor problems with the feedlots, as well as making sure taxes did not fall disproportionately on rural communities, she said. “He’s always said his favorite part of the job is solving problems for his constituents,” said Pat. 

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Kubly, who ended his full-time pastor job when he got into politics, hasn’t been known to readily mix the two in office. Early in his career, he said that “I don’t think there is a Christian position on most things. There are just Christians who hold views.”