Minnesota State Senator Dies From COVID-19 Complications

William Bornhoft

MINNESOTA — Minnesota State Sen. Jerry Relph died from complications related to COVID-19 Friday. Relph, 76, a Republican, was elected in 2016 and represented the St. Cloud area.

"Senator Jerry Relph was a true friend and colleague loved by so many," Senate Majority leader Paul Gazelka said in a statement. "For four years, he rolled up his sleeves and tackled tough issues for our state. Senator Relph will always be remembered as a dedicated public servant."

Relph was a graduate of Carleton College and William Mitchell College of Law. He lost in the 2020 election to DFL challenger Aric Putnam by just over 300 votes.

He is the first Minnesota lawmaker to die after contracting the virus, reports the Star Tribune.

"Terrible news," Gov. Tim Walz said Friday. "As a Vietnam veteran, small business owner, and State Senator, Jerry lived his entire life in service to his community. Gwen and I are keeping his family in our prayers."

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This article originally appeared on the Across Minnesota Patch