After nearly a quarter-century of serving in St. Paul, Rep. Bud Nornes (R-Fergus Falls) plans to spend more time with his family.
Elected in 1996, Nornes has announced the 2020 session will be his last.
"It has been a difficult decision but, the more we talked about it, we agreed it is the right time to step aside," Nornes said in a statement. "Our family is scattered all over the country, so Joyce and I are ready to gas up the RV and hit the road on our own schedule.
"I am forever grateful for the opportunity to represent the people of our region at the Capitol and cherish the relationships I have developed through my legislative work. It’s a humbling experience to serve in the House of Representatives and I cannot thank my constituents enough for the endless support they’ve shown me over the years."
Nornes, who served 12 years on the school board in Fergus Falls and lost his first two bids for a legislative seat, chaired the House Higher Education Committee for eight of his years at the Capitol, and served on numerous education committees during his tenure. He also served on agriculture, capital investment, commerce, energy, environment and health committees.
"Bud will be remembered as a passionate advocate for higher education in Minnesota, and one of the kindest people to ever serve at the Legislature," House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) said in a statement. "His voice was a staple for years on the radio in Fergus Falls and here in the House for the past 23 years serving the people of Otter Tail County. We wish Bud, Joyce, and their children and grandchildren all the best in retirement and thank them for Bud’s many years of service."
Nornes is the second member of his family to serve in the Legislature. His great grandfather, Ole Opdahl, served from 1903-06.
"The broader, statewide issues speak for themselves, but I’m most proud of the achievements we have made in St. Paul to support our district," Nornes said. "From enhancing the Glendalough State Park facilities, to combating high water problems in Perham, laying out the regional trail from Perham to Pelican Rapids, and constructing the Bigwoods Event Center and the new library in Fergus Falls, we’ve gotten a lot done.
"The repurposing of the former state hospital in Fergus Falls is one project that remains a work in progress. The state closed that facility in the early 1990s and, through a laborious process, we have been able to bring new development to various parts of that property. What happens with the main structure remains to be seen."