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Prettner Solon will head home to Duluth next year

ST. PAUL -- Yvonne Prettner Solon plans to return home to Duluth a year from now after announcing today that she will not be Gov. Mark Dayton's running mate again.

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The psychologist and former state senator said she will leave state government when her term expires because of family reasons, saying her father died last year and her mother's health is not good.

Last summer, Prettner Solon hinted at discontent with how little Dayton used her in the three years they have been in office, but today she said she is proud of education, senior citizen and other initiatives she has forwarded while in office. She once hinted today that she could have been underutilized.

“I think I expected to be more involved in policy initiatives,” Prettner Solon said.

Last summer, she complained that she and Dayton seldom talked, but today she said: “The governor and I talk when we need to.”

Prettner Solon's announcement came as no surprise in the Capitol.

The buzz since summer has featured several names as her replacement, most prominently state Sen. Katie Sieben of Cottage Grove, Dayton Chief of Staff Tina Smith and Commissioner Tony Sertich of the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board.

Dayton is meeting with President Barack Obama in Washington today, but a spokesman said he would be available to answer questions Wednesday about a Prettner Solon successor.

Prettner Solon said she did not rule out running for office again, but said she needs a break after 25 years of public service. She said that she had fielded requests that she serve on corporate and other organizations' boards; she would not say what organizations are courting her.

She announced the decision today after a 40-mintue late Monday afternoon meeting with Dayton. She said he was not surprised at her decision and did not ask her to stay on.

Connie Perpich of Hibbing, a long-time lobbyist, called Prettner Solon a "class act."

“She's a star,” Perpich said. “She's a role model for women that is not surpassed.”