State Rep. Ryan Winkler to step down from Legislature as his family moves to Belgium

State Rep. Ryan Winkler, a five-term DFLer from Golden Valley, said today that he’s stepping down from the Legislature because his wife has taken a new job and their family is moving Belgium.

Winkler, who was first elected in 2006 from District 46A, said his wife Jenny will be senior vice president and general counsel for Rezidor Hotel Group, a majority-owned strategic partner of Carlson Hotels that is headquartered in Brussels.

Winkler, an attorney known for his sharp speeches in the House and for starting the ball rolling on a minimum wage hike, said he will leave the Legislature but continue his job with Biothera, a Minnesota company with international operations. He’ll split his time between Minnesota and Belgium.

Winkler said is a statement that “… taking this step has led me to the difficult decision to step down from the House of Representatives this summer. … I have worked hard to create a more responsible, more inclusive, and more equitable state that leaves nobody behind. Now it is time for another member of our community to represent us in the Minnesota House, and to be a champion for our community and all Minnesota workers, families and kids.”

DFL House Minority Leader Paul Thissen said:

“The legislature will miss Ryan’s wit and intelligence, but most of all we will miss his impatience with injustice. He is always willing to take on the tough fights and not back down. He drove the discussion forward about how to make our economy work better for people. His work to raise the minimum wage and improve opportunity for average Minnesotans is a tremendous legacy.”

Winkler told the AP that his wife’s new assignment is not permanent and that he expects to return to Minnesota politics.

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