The upcoming Minnesota Legislature session will be her last: State Senator Linda Higgins, DFL-Minneapolis, announced Nov. 14 she will not seek re-election in 2012. “I’ve been honored to serve the residents of North and Downtown Minneapolis for 15 years. I’m proud of what we have accomplished, and I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to serve our community,” she said in a news release.
The next day, State Representative Bobby Joe Champion (DFL- North Minneapolis, District 58B) announced his intention to seek the Senate District 58 Seat
Higgins was first elected to the Minnesota Senate in 1996. During her 15 years of service in the Senate, Higgins held many leadership roles. She chaired the Senate’s Public Safety Budget Division from 2006 to 2010 and the State and Local Government Operations Committee from 2003 to 2006. She served as Majority Whip from 2001 to 2006. She currently is the DFL lead on the Senate’s Environment and Natural Resources Committee.
Higgins wrote Minnesota’s recent predatory lending and foreclosure prevention laws; sponsored “e-waste” recycling legislation to encourage recycling of electronic equipment, which is the largest source of lead found in Minnesota’s municipal waste; sponsored a first-in-the-nation ban on toxic metals such as lead and cadmium in children’s toys and jewelry; sponsored legislation that banned environmentally hazardous phosphorus from lawn fertilizers; and sponsored legislation creating a special sentencing program for veterans facing criminal prosecution who suffer from combat-related mental health disorders.
Senate DFL Caucus Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, said Higgins’ leadership and experience would be sorely missed at the State Capitol, as she worked “across party lines to build consensus, remove barriers and deliver results for her constituents and our state.”
Champion said, “I am inspired by my Senator, and I wish her all the best as she continues to advocate for the people of Minnesota. I can only hope to continue her work and represent the needs and values of our district in the State Senate.”
“We cannot continue to take out loans on our children’s futures to pay for the services we need today,” Champion said. “We need an education system that gives all kids the opportunity to succeed; budget policies that ask the wealthiest Minnesotans to pay their fair share; equal access to quality health care; improvements in our affordable housing; and smart investments in economic development and jobs. I look forward to bringing my voice to the Senate just as I’ve done in the House.”
Champion was first elected to the Minnesota House in 2008, and said he is eager to continue fighting for a better Minnesota, with a priority on using balanced budget approaches.
Champion is an attorney with a focus on family law and juvenile justice. He lives in the Lyn Park neighborhood with his wife Dr. Angela Champion and their children.
Higgins lives in the Old Highland neighborhood with husband Brian Bushay and their two dogs. In the off-season from the Legislature, she has worked in the City of Minneapolis Problem Properties Unit. She told NorthNews she’s “ready for the next adventure,” whatever it may be.
—compiled by Margo Ashmore