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County Board says 'thanks' to Slawik, Kriesel for service

Rep. John Kriesel, R-Cottage Grove, and Washington County Commissioner Autumn Lehrke, of Cottage Grove, after the County Board on Tuesday recognized Kriesel and fellow retiring state Rep. Nora Slawik of Oakdale. Washington County photo

Washington County Board members honored a pair of retiring state lawmakers on Tuesday, thanking them for their service days after a long and often-contentious legislative session adjourned.

Rep. Nora Slawik, DFL-Maplewood, whose district includes a portion of Oakdale, and Rep. John Kriesel, R-Cottage Grove, who represents south Washington County, both declined to seek another term in this November's elections.

Resolutions passed by the Board thanked the legislators for their service to the county at Tuesday's meeting and declared it Nora Slawik and John Kriesel Day in Washington County.

Commissioner Autumn Lehrke, whose District 5 overlaps with much of Kriesel's constituency, honored the one-term lawmaker and former Minnesota National Guardsman as a "true public servant" and said he was uninterested in partisanship.

"He went and represented his district," Lehrke said. "It wasn't about Republicans or Democrats."

For his part, Kriesel -- who first won election to the House in 2010 and said he is retiring to spend more time with his wife and two sons -- responded with humor he often displayed in his short stint at the State Capitol.

"I guess I don't know much what to say," Kriesel joked to the Board Tuesday in Stillwater. "I"m still pretty new at the job."

Lehrke's husband, Cottage Grove City Council member Derrick Lehrke, is seeking to succeed Kriesel and earned his backing at an endorsing convention this spring.

Slawik spent more time in St. Paul -- she was first elected to her seat in 1996. And though Commissioner Bill Pulkrabek, whose District 2 includes Oakdale, said he "learned quickly we don't agree on many things on public policy," he thanked Slawik for her more than decade of representation in St. Paul.

"She's been a great legislator, a great representative," Pulkrabek said. "It's been truly a pleasure representing some of the same areas, same constituents."