MARSHALL - With head bowed from time to time and tears flowing, outgoing Sen. Doug Magnus of Slayton delivered an emotional retirement speech following adjournment of the 2012 Legislature on Thursday.
Through those tears, Magnus thanked his family, his colleagues - current and former - as well as the staff members he has worked with in his stints in the House and Senate.
"When I first came here 10 years ago, I didn't realize what a great asset the state has in the staff that works here," he said. "They put in countless hours. The staff is really the backbone for us. We come and go, they stay here and work hard. Really dedicated."
Magnus told his colleagues on the Senate floor that to be a good legislator means having strength and respect for others. To be effective, he said, legislators need to draw out the desire that they all have to do what's best for the state.
"We need to draw that out in each of us, whether you're in the majority or the minority," he said.
Magnus served in the Legislature for 10 years - eight in the Minnesota House and two in the Senate. He was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2002 and was re-elected for three more terms after that.
He made the switch to the Senate in 2010.
As chairman of the Agriculture and Rural Economies Committee, Magnus captured immediate clout in St. Paul in his first term as a senator and also worked close with Sen, Julie Rosen, who authored the Vikings stadium bill in the Senate.
A fourth-generation farmer, Magnus grew to become a well-known advocate for agriculture issues at the Capitol and was also been a strong supporter of the state's servicemen and women. He also served on the Capital Investment, Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications, and Finance committees.
"I don't know what the next stage of Doug Magnus' life will be, but that's part of life," he said. "This has been a great stage of my life. I don't know what the future's going to hold, none of us do, but I know I will try to live it as I have."
"I knew it would be hard," Magnus said of delivering his speech. "I'm a heartfelt person. One of the long-time people here came up to me today and said, 'You don't know how much you are loved here by so many people;' I've heard a lot of that the last several days. It's hard to leave, but the timing for me is right."
After a decade in the Legislature, Magnus signed off Thursday by saying to his colleagues: "Adios, vaya con dios, God bless you."