Moe will step down; Bye endorsed at Senate Dist. 4 convention Saturday
A tearful Frank Moe announced Saturday he will step down after two terms in the House.
"The whole district has become my home...it's hard being away from home," Moe told delegates attending the DFL Senate Dist. 4 endorsing convention in Walker.
Moe, who lives between Bemidji and Cass Lake and teaches at Bemidji State University, represents Dist. 4A, which includes parts of Beltrami, Itasca and Cass counties.
For the past year and a half, Moe served the DFL Caucus as an assistant majority leader.
Moe said the reason for his decision was to keep his marriage strong. "My parents were divorced four times," Moe said, talking about how difficult it has been to leave his wife, Sherri, every week and drive to St. Paul.
"It's time to allow another person to step in," Moe said.
Sen. Mary Olson, also of Bemidji and in the second year of her first term, said Moe's announcement was as much a surprise to her as convention delegates.
"He has put his heart and soul into doing his job (representing the district)," Olson said. "He has been an effective legislator for our area.
"I was frankly shocked," she added. "I would have been less shocked if he'd told me he was running for governor...but I know it was difficult for him."
After the convention adjourned, Olson said she only learned about Moe's intentions five minutes before arriving in Walker.
"I understand and appreciate his decision," she said. "At this stage in his life, his priorities are in the right order."
Olson added Moe has earned such a good reputation and so much respect on both sides of the aisle, that if he ever makes a decision to run for office again, he will be welcomed. "So I'm interested to see what's next in his career."
It's Bye in Dist. 4B
Dan Bye nominated his mother, Meg, for a run against state Rep. Larry Howes, Walker.
She is "warm, wise and compassionate," the 24-year-old said. She is also well informed on the issues, he said, adding some of his early childhood memories are of traveling with her on an airplane when she worked for the League of Minnesota Cities.
"This district needs leadership, a representative who will actively listen and represent us," Meg Bye told delegates.
She spoke about the district's changing demographics, which bring an increase in opportunities and challenges, such as providing quality healthcare.
"We need a representative who will vote for all Minnesotans," Bye said.
"Our future depends on preserving our clean air and water. Our school districts are in crisis. We need responsible and fair funding for our schools."
Residents also need quality roads and bridges so they can safely drive to work, Bye said, criticizing Howes' party line vote and failure to join other Republican dissenters in overriding the governor's veto of the gas tax for transportation.
"Finally this year," she added, "the Legislature has broken the gridlock. But our representative stood with his party and was rewarded with leadership of a subcommittee."
After the convention adjourned and Bye's candidacy was formally endorsed, she commented on Moe's announcement. "It's a bittersweet day," she said.
Bye said she understood Moe's decision and experienced similar feelings when she was working in Duluth and coming home to Pequot Lakes on weekends. "I was always glad to be home," she said. Now that the Byes live here year round, she added, "I'm quite happy to be home and to work for the area that I've grown to love so much.
"I have a real concern that our environment is so fragile and that's why people want to be here," Bye continued. In the context of the world, she added, water will be the "new oil and we can't afford for our water resources to be diminished."
Bye also talked about the economy and cited Hunt Utilities in Pine River as the kind of entrepreneurial enterprise that's needed. "There's that kind of spirit in our district that we need to capture," she said.
Bye also spoke about the need to make young people aware "we are stewards and that if we don't take care of the environment, there will be nothing left for their children.
"These are the things I'm really passionate about," Bye said.
Bye, who lives in Loon Lake Township, served on the Duluth City Council for 12 years, the Governor's Crime Commission, the Omni Board of the Economic Development Commission and the Minnesota Housing Finance Board. She was the first woman president of the League of Minnesota Cities as well.