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Anderson to retire from Minnesota House

Mark Anderson

Rep. Mark Anderson, R-Lake Shore, announced Monday he will retire from the Minnesota House of Representatives.

He will not run again following the expiration of his second term at the end of this year, making him the latest in a swath of 18 legislators who won't be returning for the 2017 legislative session.

First elected in 2012, Anderson represents House District 9A which includes parts of Wadena, Todd, and Cass counties.

In a phone interview Monday, Anderson said he felt it was time to let someone else represent the district, and focus on his day jobs.

"I've given it my best for four years but I'm still a business guy by profession, and I have business to attend to," he said. "I believe every legislator reaches a point in their life where they should pass the baton."

Anderson said the decision came down to wanting to spend more time with family and give more attention to the three companies he is running with his wife, Barb. Anderson owns Gull Dam Brewing in Nisswa and a professional pilot service, MTA Enterprises. He cited privacy concerns in declining to name the third company.

The Minnesota House Republican Caucus announced Anderson's retirement in a news release. "Anderson's niche in the House has been as an advocate for responsible spending, business growth to expand the workforce and taxpayer protection," the announcement release said.

The release highlighted Anderson's support of the Second Amendment, in particular his authorship of a bill allowing Minnesotans to have firearm sound suppressors, commonly known as silencers.

"The suppressor bill created some waves, but it was gratifying to see good government prevail once we cut through the misinformation and Hollywood sensationalism," Anderson said in the release. "The fact is it is a good law and people now have a tool to protect their hearing. I guess you could say I had the public's ear on that one."

When asked which bill he was most proud of from his time in the Legislature, Anderson named two: the suppressor bill, which successfully became law, and a bill he introduced for the upcoming legislative session that would repeal MNsure, the state-run health insurance exchange.

Anderson acknowledged that if it passed the House, the GOP initiative still faced a DFL-controlled Senate and DFL governor, but said it was still worthwhile to introduce since it would hold accountable those legislators who initially voted for MNsure.

"Everybody that voted to put (MNsure) through two years ago, I want to see them defend this on the House floor two years later," he said.

Anderson plans on remaining involved at the Capitol as an activist, saying politics runs in his family. His father Don served in the Minnesota Senate from 1982-1990.

The release closed with Anderson stating representing the area was a true honor and he was humbled by the support he received.

"If I learned anything from my dad, it was to stay true to my principles and to the people who sent me to St. Paul," Anderson said in the news release. "I can walk away with peace of mind knowing I did exactly that." He also noted he did not rule out "future political aspirations."

ZACH KAYSER may be reached at 218-855-5860 or Zach.Kayser@brainerddispatch.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ZWKayser.

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