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Sat Dec 19, 2020, 05:29 AM

Minn. Senator Jerry Relph (R-St. Cloud) dies of COVID-19 complications

Jerry Relph, a first-term state senator from St. Cloud, died Friday of complications of COVID-19, his family and the Senate majority leader confirmed.

Relph is the first Minnesota lawmaker whose death is linked to COVID-19.

The 76-year-old Relph, a Vietnam veteran and attorney who specialized in tax law, recently lost his bid for a second term to DFLer Aric Putnam ... [by just 315 votes]. He was one of several Republican state senators who tested positive for the coronavirus after attending a post-election party.

In mid-November, a spokesperson for the Minnesota Senate Republican caucus said Relph went to the emergency room twice with COVID-19 symptoms after testing positive, but was not hospitalized.

Since then, Relphs family had asked for privacy, and little had been known publicly about his condition.

... Relph expressed worry early in the year about the potential impacts of COVID-19. He was the lead Senate author of a bill that the Legislature unanimously passed in March, earmarking nearly $21 million to reinforce the states response to the coronavirus outbreak.

We now think its going to come here, its just how bad and whats going to happen, he told MPR News then. Im very concerned that were not prepared. Im very concerned that we would be delayed in getting money to cover the problems if it does come.

More: https://www.mprnews.org/story/2020/12/18/minn-sen-jerry-relph-dies-of-covid19-complications

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