House Majority Leader Lynn Kessler is retiring after 18 years in the House.
As No. 2 to House Speaker Frank Chopp, Kessler is the political leader and often the public face of House Democrats.
House members lauded Kessler after she announced on the floor just before midnight Monday that she won’t return for a 10th term. Republican Leader Richard DeBolt praised her “elegance and grace” and suggested plenty of House members have crushes on her.
Chopp said Kessler stands in for him in areas that aren’t his strong suit, which he allowed might include talking to the press and reaching across the aisle.
Kessler, 69, said her legacy in the Legislature included trying to “tear down the urban-rural divide.” She thanked her friends and got a little emotional as she talked about leaving the House. But make no mistake: “I’m really, actually, glad,” she said.
She added: “I’m almost 70, for God’s sake. It’s time.”