The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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March 23, 2014

Rep. Kathy Brynaert to retire

Mankato Democrat wants to spend more time with family

MANKATO — Mankato Rep. Kathy Brynaert will retire from the Legislature after her term ends this year, she announced Sunday surrounded by some of the family members she wants to spend more time with.

Her husband, Tony Filipovitch, will be retiring in May after a 36-year career at Minnesota State University. She called retirement “a journey we want to share, from the beginning, together.”

No one was ready to commit publicly to running for her seat, and Brynaert isn’t ready to support a candidate.

“It’s not my job to recommend a successor,” said Brynaert, who turns 70 this summer. She plans to assist at some level, and predicts the open seat will provoke a flurry of activity.

“What I would say is there will be a lot of foment in the next few weeks,” she said.

Those considering a run include two Democrats, Jack Considine and Karen Foreman; one Republican, Thad Shunkwiler; and two people who aren’t sure what party they would run under, Abdi Sabrie and Mike Laven.

Democrats are planning to endorse a candidate at the May 17 District 19 convention, district chairman Jim Fleming said.

Had any Republicans been seeking an endorsement for this House seat, the party’s delegates would have made their choice during the county convention on March 8, Blue Earth County Republican chairman John Hollerich said. But no one was ready to announce at that point, he said.

But that doesn’t mean Republicans weren’t contesting the seat, even before the retirement was announced, he said.

“I think we were excited to put somebody up against Kathy Brynaert …” he said, adding that Mankatoans are concerned about Democrats raising taxes and problems with MNsure.

The party will likely schedule another convention in mid-to-late May and the 30 or so delegates will settle on a candidate then, he said.

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