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Peggy Flanagan to seek Ryan Winkler’s seat in House District 46A

Flanagan moved quickly in response to Winkler’s surprise announcement Thursday that he will resign because his family is moving to Belgium.

Peggy Flanagan has moved quickly following State Rep. Ryan Winkler’s surprise announcement Thursday that he will resign from the Legislature because his family is moving to Europe.

Flanagan, a well-connected DFLer who is now executive director of the Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota, said she’ll run for the seat. She’s previously worked at Wellstone Action and Minnesotans United for All Families.

Flanagan, 35, lives in St. Louis Park, and says she’s a U of M grad and a citizen of the White Earth Nation of Ojibwe. She and her husband have a 2-year-old daughter.

Flanagan said in the statement announcing her run:

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“My mom and I moved to St. Louis Park when I was a baby. As a single mother, she chose this community because of the opportunities that it provided for good public education, stable neighborhoods, and economic security, and she was right. My family and I settled in my hometown for the same reasons, and now I want to give back.”

Winkler announced Thursday that his wife has accepted a job in Belgium. He’ll leave the Legislature but keep his job here with Biothera, a Minnesota company with international operations. He’ll split his time between Minnesota and Belgium.

Gov. Dayton will call a special election for the seat, possibly in November to coincide with local elections.