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SAINT PAUL, MN—Today, State Representative JoAnn Ward (DFL-Woodbury, S. Maplewood, S. Oakdale, and Landfall) announced she will retire from the Legislature after completion of the 2018 session, and will not be seeking re-election. Rep. Ward, who is serving her third term in the Minnesota House of Representatives, has lived in Woodbury for over 40 years, and has represented these areas of the east metro since 2013.
“Serving in the Minnesota Legislature is an honor and a privilege, and I am grateful for this opportunity to work for my communities and my state. I am humbled by this unique connection to my neighbors, as well as to my colleagues in the Legislature. With that in my heart and mind, I announce that I will not be seeking reelection,” remarked Rep. Ward. “It has been a joy for me to represent these caring, compassionate, and engaged communities; I have met and worked with so many neighbors who actively seek a positive future for everyone in the East Metro and the state of Minnesota.”
“Thank you for trusting me to be your voice at the Capitol, to represent our shared values. During these three terms, I have supported success in our schools, made our communities safer and more livable, and protected our environment,” Rep. Ward continued. “I have advocated for life-skills education, for vocational education opportunities, for early childhood and parent education (accessible to all families), for public safety, and for government accountability. My touchstone has been my experience in Restorative Justice, conflict management, and organizational development; I am most proud of the slow-but-sure return of civility to the Legislature. Changing the legislative culture in these politically divisive times has been my personal mission, and I see the change happening! Minnesotans expect and deserve a legislature that is cooperative and respectful, where people of all experiences and points of view work together to build a better Minnesota.”
Rep. Ward has served on the following committees: Environment and Natural Resources, Health and Human Services, Veterans Affairs, Government Operations, Education Policy, Public Safety, and State Government Finance. Rep. Ward added, “I am grateful for the collaborations and friendships that have grown over these years. With the help of other Representatives, Senators, advocacy groups, and citizens, we have made progress across a wide range of issues.”
Ward and her husband, Joe, have three grown children (Jennie, Dan, and Chris) three in-law children (Todd, Emily, and Stephanie), and six grandchildren, all of whom live in the Twin Cities. “My whole family, down to the grand babies, have served as my support team, and I thank them for their service – that work generally goes unrecognized,” commented Rep. Ward.
“Reaching this decision has been challenging, because I love serving my community and making a real difference in the lives of people all over the state. I am ready to spend more time with my growing family, and to explore other ways of working in service of our community. I will continue my work in Civil Discourse: as a volunteer for NICD (https://nicd.arizona.edu) and – as a private citizen – supporting the expansion of the Bipartisan and Bicameral Caucus in the Minnesota Legislature. I am looking forward to working with my neighbors and legislators in new ways to ensure that we see continued progress for every Minnesotan.”