Former U.S. Sen. Rod Grams, battling cancer, is in hospice care

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  • September 4, 2013 - 5:21 PM

Former U.S. Sen. Rod Grams, who switched from broadcasting and home construction to politics in the 1990s with great success, is in hospice care following a battle with cancer, a family spokesman said.

Grams, 65, was diagnosed with cancer last spring and had gone through chemotherapy treatments, said Kent Kaiser, a longtime friend and supporter. Grams stopped the treatments when they appeared not to be helping stop the spread of the disease, Kaiser said.

He is receiving hospice services at his home in Crown  "He'll say, his destiny is in God's hands -- that's how he puts it," said Kaiser.

Grams was known as an anchorman for KMSP-TV in the Twin Cities when he entered politics as a Republican candidate, winning a congressional race in 1992 and a U.S. Senate seat in 1994. He lost the seat to Mark Dayton in 2000, and in recent years he and his wife owned and ran three radio stations in the Little Falls area.

It was his work as a home-builder and his conflicts with government agencies that convinced him to run, Kaiser recalled. "He ran into these regulatory barriers," Kaiser said. "At some point, he decided he had enough. He called up the Republican Party and asked, 'What can I do?"

He unseated Democratic congressman Gerry Sikorski in 1992 in Minnesota's 6th Congressional District. Two years later, he ran for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Republican Dave Durenberger. He defeated Democrat Ann Wynia and Independence Party candidate Dean Barkley in the Senate race.

He attempted a comeback in 2006 but was defeated by U.S.Rep. James Oberstar in the 8th Congressional district. When Republican Chip Cravaack won the seat in 2010, Cravaack tapped Grams to help him set up his office in Washington.

Kaiser said Grams was proud of his work on a per-child tax credit that remains in law.


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