Former Republican Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch is considering a run for governor of Minnesota in 2018.
The former state senator from Buffalo served from January 2006 to January 2013, winning one special election and then two full terms in her own right. She quickly rose through the ranks, becoming an assistant minority leader in the 2009-2010 session, before becoming the first woman to hold the position of Senate Majority Leader starting in January 2011, as Republicans took control of the chamber for the first time since 1971.
In her time at the top of the Senate food chain, Koch oversaw a difficult budget process. The state entered the 2011 session facing a $5.2 billion budget deficit. Koch and her fellow Senators were able to turn that into a $1 billion surplus, without raising taxes.
“I’m a conservative who believes that conservative values around lower taxes, less regulation, empowering parents and families are the ways to ensure that happens,” Koch told Alpha News in an email. “Sometimes it’s what government CAN do, but often it’s what government DOESN’T do that is important.”
An air force veteran, small business owner, talk show host, mother, and legislative leader, Koch has a wide variety of experiences to draw from. She does not have a timeline laid out on her decision making process as of yet, merely saying her family, friends, and the concerns of Minnesotans across the state will help her make that decision.
One experience she might want to leave behind was a fall from grace even swifter than her rise to the top.
In December 2011 Koch abruptly resigned her position as Senate majority leader, and later decided not to seek reelection in 2012 to her Senate seat. The Republican backed constitutional amendments to define marriage as between a man and a woman, and to require a photo ID to vote both also failed. Her tenure was the shortest for a Senate majority leader in Minnesota’s history.
After her initial announcement it was revealed that other Republican members of the Senate pressured Koch to resign due to an affair she was having with her subordinate, then Senate Communications Director Michael Brodkorb. Both Koch and Brodkorb were each married to other people at the time, and the rest of the Republican leadership made the decisions to demand Koch’s resignation, and to fire Brodkorb outright.
“The good and bad of my time in office make up the person and leader I am. I am grateful for all the kindness and forgiveness I’ve received. This was a deeply personal and difficult time for me,” Koch said. “I am an open book on it.”
Brodkorb went on to sue the Senate for wrongful termination, eventually settling for $30,000 of the $500,000 he initially sued for. The legal fees for the Senate far exceeded the settlement.
After that, Republicans went into the 2012 election, where they were blown out, losing nine seats in the Senate and 12 seats in the House.
Koch says that experience too makes up a part of who she is now, and if she decides to run, she will not allow herself to be deterred by people who seek to make it an issue.
“I have never won an election by tearing my opponent down personally and I won’t allow attacks to deter me from a message that builds up Minnesota businesses, communities and families,” Koch said.