Minnesota Rep. Ben Lien won't seek reelection

Moorhead DFLer has served since 2012.

Ben Lien.jpg
Ben Lien

MOORHEAD — Minnesota state Rep. Ben Lien will not seek reelection this year.

Lien, a DFLer from Moorhead, made the announcement Thursday morning, Jan. 30, in a news release.

"It’s been an incredible honor and opportunity of a lifetime to represent my hometown in the Minnesota House. I thank my family and friends who were behind me from day one when I decided to run for this seat," Lien said. "I thank my supporters and the people of Moorhead for putting their trust in me to get the job done these last 8 years."

Lien listed his proudest accomplishments as work he's done for businesses, schools, infrastructure and mental-health parity.

"I’m also proud of the work my caucus did to get the state’s budget on track, pass marriage equality, and fund early childhood education. I look forward to spending my final session working on bonding projects that will make Moorhead, Clay County and Minnesota better for all," Lien said.


Lien was first elected in 2012. He represents House District 4A, which includes Moorhead and rural areas north and east of the city.

Reached later Thursday, Lien said he didn't want to expand his comments much beyond the news release.

"It's time to move on," Lien said. "I've done some good things for Moorhead. I'm proud of what we've done with border cities legislation and infrastructure, but it's just time to move on."

Paul Marquart, a veteran legislator from Dilworth who represents District 4B, said Lien accomplished a lot for Moorhead.

"He's really an impressive legislator, one of the most well-prepared and hardest-working ones we have in St. Paul," Marquart said. "I always thought Ben was one of the brightest legislators we have. It'll be a loss for Moorhead when he's gone."

Lien said he doesn't have immediate political or personal plans, other than to find a job as quickly as possible after the upcoming legislative session.

Lien currently serves on the Higher Education, Tax and Greater Minnesota Jobs Committees, and the Local Government Subcommittee. He served on the Property Tax Committee from 2013 to 2018.

After defeating Republican Travis Reimche in 2012 by a 55 percent to 45 percent margin, Lien increased his margin of victory in the next three elections. He defeated Brian Gramer 58-42 percent in 2014, Jordan Idso 62-38 percent in 2016 and Idso again 65-35 percent in 2018.

Mike McFeely is a columnist for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. He began working for The Forum in the 1980s while he was a student studying journalism at Minnesota State University Moorhead. He's been with The Forum full time since 1990, minus a six-year hiatus when he hosted a local radio talk-show.
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