Henry Kalis, legislator, will hang up his hat

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 28, 2002

A long-serving legislator from Walters will leave public office this year.

Rep. Henry Kalis (DFL-Walters) announced Friday that he would not run in the

November election, ending his service in St. Paul with his 14th term.

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&uot;It has been a true honor and privilege to serve on behalf of the people of my district in Southern Minnesota,&uot; said Kalis. &uot;I am proud of the many things we accomplished over these many years. And I leave with a much greater respect for our state, our form of government, and our state’s Legislature.&uot;

Kalis was especially thankful to former constituents in Freeborn County, who always showed a great support. Part of the county was once within his district.

Since his debut on the state political scene in 1974, Kalis helped to shape programs to assist farmers during the farm crisis in the 1980s. Recently, he played a key role in establishing Minnesota’s ethanol industry and promoting bio-diesel legislation.

In the early ’90s, Kalis chaired the Capital Investment Committee and helped restore the state’s AAA bond rating. He was also instrumental in securing a number of funds for area projects, such as the Sakata Trail, FarmAmerica, the Waseca Swine Research Facility and the Blue Earth School.

Kalis listed his commitment to the Minnesota Groundwater Protection Act as one of the things he remembers most. The law, established in 1989, was among the first in the nation and has become a model for other states.

&uot;Without him, I would not have run for a public office,&uot; said former U.S. Rep. Tim Penny, whose political career started in Kalis’ first campaign in 1974.

&uot;I would be dishonest if I told you I don’t have a certain amount of trepidation in telling you that I will not be seeking re-lection,&uot; said Kalis in a letter to his supporters. &uot;I feel I had the privilege to stand on others’ shoulders for lots of years. It is now my turn to prop someone else up to meet that challenge.&uot;

Kalis said he would continue working on his farm north of Walters with his wife Violet.