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Legislator called up for Guard duty is granted early release

ST. PAUL -- State Rep. John Lesch, who was called up for Minnesota National Guard duty Tuesday, won’t miss the rest of the legislative session after all.

Lesch, DFL-St. Paul, was ordered to report to Camp Ripley immediately for training that was scheduled to run through Sunday. But he was granted an early release and will return to the Legislature today, a House Democratic-Farmer-Labor spokesman said.

House Speaker Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, said Lesch’s absence could have made it more difficult for DFLers to pass an $846 million bonding bill for public works projects around the state. DFLers need at least eight Republican votes for the supermajority required to pass borrowing bills in the House, and without Lesch they would have needed nine.

Lesch enlisted in the National Guard during fall 2009. He also missed part of the 2010 legislative session while training at Fort Benning in Georgia.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
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