After one term in Legislature, wounded war vet Kriesel will head Anoka County Veteran Services

State Rep. John Kriesel

After making a mark during just one term in the Legislature, state Rep. John Kriesel will take a new job as head of Anoka County’s Veteran Services department.

Kriesel announced in March that he would not seek re-election to his seat representing the Cottage Grove area. He said he was stepping down to spend more time with his family.

He’s a wounded war vet who lost both legs in a roadside bomb in Iraq. He and his wife have two sons, 10 and 11.

He told Minnpost in March:

“It’s the right choice for my family,” he said. “I was away from them 24 months in total. I missed a lot of their lives,” he said.  “It bothered them. They never really spoke about it but they wanted me not to run.”

A Republican, Kriesel bucked his party’s line by publicly opposing the proposed constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage. He’s been a vocal supporter of a publicly funded Vikings stadium.

The Anoka County Board announced this morning that they’ve hired Kriesel for the vets’ job.

Board Chair Rhonda Sivarajah said in a statement:

“John Kriesel will lead our service to Anoka County veterans with compassion and empathy. His desire to serve comes from his deep-rooted love of our country and his experience on the battlefield and in recovery. His presence and leadership will help veterans and their families find  strength and healing as they work through the issues that arise after leaving military service.”

The county says its Veteran Services “helps veterans, widows, widowers, and children of veterans understand and overcome the myriad problems and situations faced after leaving service.” 

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