Republican Rep. John Kriesel, a war veteran who has won admiration from both sides of the aisle, said on KFAN radio Thursday morning that he will finish out his term but will not run for re-election.
"I'm going to finish 2012 strong," he said, just after the station played Guns & Roses "Welcome to the Jungle" and talked up basketball office pools. But he said his family has suffered with his absence when he was deployed and then when he returned and ran for the Legislature.
"At this time, this is the best decision for my family," he said. "It is my time to just step up at home."
Kriesel, R-Cottage Grove, won notice for his active social media presence, on which he chats about his frequent trips to Las Vegas and his love of beer, and for being one of the few Republicans to vote against the constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.
"You can be just a regular dude...and be able come in here and make a difference," he said. "I will look back at this time in my life very fondly."
He has been an ardent supporter of the push for a new Minnesota Vikings stadium and expanding gambling. He said on the radio that after Wednesday's non-vote on the stadium, "I'm not so optimistic at this point," that it will be approved this year.
Kriesel won his 2010 election with a margin of just three percentage points over his Democratic opponent.
Shortly after he got off the air, he sent out a statement about his decision. That statement is below.