ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) —Minnesota Lt. Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon is calling it quits. After only one term as Gov. Mark Dayton’s running mate, Prettner Solon is not running for re-election.
The longtime public figure from Duluth was thought to have helped Dayton secure important votes from northern Minnesota and the Iron Range, but once elected, Prettner Solon faded from public view.
“I have made the decision after more than two decades of service in public office to step aside,” she said at a Capitol news conference, “and let someone else take the reins of the work that lay ahead.”
Prettner Solon stayed mostly out of the public eye as Lieutenant Governor, but cited her work with seniors and health care as the most fulfilling part of her job.
“Bringing value to our senior population, which has not had much attention, and we as a culture have not valued seniors very much,” she said.
At the same time, Prettner Solon candidly admitted she’s had little contact with Gov. Dayton, and little influence on public policy.
“The governor and I talk when we need to,” she said. “I think I expected to be more involved in policy initiatives.”
Republicans pounced on what they described as dissension in the Democratic Governor’s office. One GOP candidate calling it “mismanagement.”
“Yvonne Prettner Solon could have brought an important skill set to Minnesota,” said Republican gubernatorial candidate Marty Seifert, of Marshall, “if Governor Dayton had listened to her in the last three years.”
Leaving public office, Prettner Solon says she’ll focus on her family.
“I’d like to spend more time with the people I love,” she said.
Prettner Solon said she told the Governor about her decision during a 40-minute meeting Monday, and that he did not ask her to remain on the ticket.
Gov. Dayton did not attend Prettner Solon’s press conference because he was in Washington for a meeting with President Obama, but he issued a written statement.
“Throughout her 25 years of devoted public service – as Duluth City Council Member and Council President, State Senator, and Lieutenant Governor – Yvonne Prettner Solon has been a courageous champion for the people of Minnesota. Lieutenant Governor Prettner Solon’s tireless leadership on behalf of Minnesota’s senior citizens and people with disabilities has greatly improved many lives. She has been key to achieving our administration’s primary mission: building a better Minnesota for all our citizens. I thank Yvonne for her invaluable service to our state, and I pledge my continuing support for the important initiatives she has championed as Minnesota’s Lieutenant Governor.”