Updated: GOP State Sen. Claire Robling Will Not Run for Re-election
Robling: It is very difficult to pass common sense measures into law these days.
GOP state Sen. Claire Robling is not running for re-election.
This is a change of heart for Robling (R-Jordan), who is the chair of the powerful Senate Finance Committee. Robing told Shakopee Patch in late February that after reviewing the new district maps, she was planning on seeking re-election.
"I have been very honored to represent it as a state senator and I would like to continue in that role," Robling said in an email to Patch.
She said Friday in a news release that while she was initially excited when she first saw the new district, with the upcoming endorsing convention, she decided not to move forward with a re-election bid. She faced no serious challenge in the upcoming election.
“It’s been an honor to serve this area, and I’ve always worked hard to represent my constituents in St. Paul, but sixteen years in this position is long enough," Robling said. "I find my enthusiasm for doing this job for another four years is waning. I think it’s time to let someone else step into this spot.”
She also expressed frustration, saying that the political process in St. Paul has continued to become more partisan during the years she has served.
“I fear that statesmen are vanishing as partisanship deepens,” she said. “It is very difficult to pass common sense measures into law these days because special interest groups block or promote agendas that only benefit themselves.”
Robling's new district is shrinking although it covers the majority of her existing district, with the addition of Louisville and Jackson townships, two areas that Robling had previously represented. However, her district will no longer cover the Savage, Elko New Market, and New Market Township areas. Her new district includes over 78,000 residents while her current district has over 108,000 residents.
Robling said in February that the job can be very stressful.
"After going through a very difficult time last year when I was faced with a $5.2 billion deficit as the new chair of the Finance Committee, I considered not seeking re-election," she said.
At the time, however, she said she believed with the current surplus that they had turned a corner.
“We’ve turned a $5.2 billion projected budget deficit at the beginning of this biennium into nearly a $1 billion surplus," she said. "The cash flow account and budget reserve fund have been restored, and we’ve already paid back nearly half of the school shift we used last year to help balance the budget. We are definitely heading in the right direction as we hold the line on government spending and tax increases. I’m proud of the work we did to put Minnesota on a more sustainable financial path.”
Senate Majority Leader David Senjem (R-Rochester) said Robling’s retirement will be “a significant loss to the Senate and all the people she has served in such an outstanding manner. She is and has been the consummate common-sense legislator. She always stood strong for what she believed in. At the same time she had a special ability to reach out and work with people who thought differently. She spoke often of her affection for her constituency and her dedication to public service was remarkable.”
Robling is completing her fifth term for a seat she originally won in 1996. She said she has no immediate plans but is looking forward to new opportunities and will also enjoy the ability to spend more time with her family.
“I look forward to helping my daughter and her family as my husband, Tony, and I welcome our second grandchild due in September, and my parents are elderly and I’d like to be available to help them more as well," she said.