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Senate majority leader stepping down

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — State Sen. Amy Koch says she is stepping down as Senate majority leader and won't seek reelection next year.

Koch made the surprise announcement Thursday in a letter to fellow Republican senators and GOP staff.

Koch didn't directly give a reason, but in the letter she called the past year "challenging, exciting and exhausting."

Koch was one of the faces of the GOP during a budget standoff with Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton that led to a government shutdown.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

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