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Stepping Down: New house means leaving the House

Published (3/28/2008)
By Brian Hogenson
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Rep. Scott Kranz is joined at his desk in the House Chamber by his wife, Kristi, and sons, Ryan, left, and Lucas, center, at the opening of the 2007 session. (Photo by Tom Olmscheid)

As the saying goes, things are not always as they appear to be.

Since first-termer Rep. Scott Kranz (DFL-Blaine) announced he will not be seeking reelection, there has been speculation that it was due to distaste for the job or the partisan bickering that at times enflames the House.

In actuality, the reason boils down to district maps and moving boxes.

Kranz and his family have moved to a lake home that is located 3 miles out of his district, and into the area represented by Rep. Paul Gardner (DFL-Shoreview).

“Everyone in Minnesota knows the dream of living on a lake or having a cabin,” Kranz said. “My family decided to just live at the cabin.”

For Kranz and his family, much consideration was given as to how the potential move would affect his ability to run and stay in the House, as well as how it affects the district. The district was represented by a Republican for the eight years previous to his election. Kranz has not ruled out another run after redistricting in 2010.

His wife, Kristi, and two boys, Lucas and Ryan, have sacrificed a lot for him during the last two years, Kranz said, and it is his turn to sacrifice for them, saying that the chance to live on a lake is a once in a lifetime opportunity for his family.

Kranz, a social studies teacher at Spring Lake Park High School, said that it has been interesting to see government in action and that he will share that experience with his students.

Saying that he does not vote the party line, and has taken some fiscally conservative votes on issues, Kranz said he has been very lucky to share in this experience and thinks he has represented his district well.

“I was faced with tough decisions and I pictured the neighborhoods in my district and how they would want me to vote,” Kranz said. “My advice to someone running for this seat on either side would be to literally walk the district and get to know the people, whether they agree with you or not.”

Kranz counts two bills he was able to pass during his first year in the House among his legislative accomplishments. One was a bill that allowed nonprofit firefighters to purchase equipment at the same rates as government firefighters. Another bill helped owners of manufactured homes cover the expense of relocating when a park owner decides to sell the property they are living on.

The manufactured homes bill broke a 40-year deadlock among manufactured homeowners and park owners. Kranz said he had senior legislators telling him how historic the legislation was, which surprised him since he felt it was simple, common-sense legislation that helps families.

One of Kranz’s goals for this session was to help pass the transportation funding bill. He said his district has a traffic congestion problem and he is sick of seeing potholes in his district. However, the vote on the bill was not an easy one for Kranz, who said he supported the gas tax portion of the bill, but struggled with the sales tax portions.

While he has no personal goals in mind for the rest of the session, Kranz said that as a group, he would like the Legislature to get done on time, or even early.

Kranz now looks forward to teaching full-time and enjoying his family’s first summer on the lake.

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