Out of the public eye for a number of weeks after scandal forced her to surrender her top Senate leadership post, Republican Sen. Amy Koch of Buffalo insists she can effectively serve out her term representing Senate District 19, which includes the Otsego area.
“If I didn’t think that I wouldn’t be back,” said Koch, speaking on Monday, Jan. 23 during a brief interview at the State Capitol.
Koch, the first woman in Minnesota history to hold the post, resigned as Senate majority leader after it became public that she had been engaging in an inappropriate relationship with a Senate staffer.
“I stepped aside as majority leader because I didn’t want to become a distraction (to the Senate),” Koch said.
Koch down played the idea — an idea a recent television interview suggested — that she has not ruled out possibly running for public office again.
“At this point my Dec. 15 statement stands when I said that I was not going to run again,” Koch said, referring to a letter she sent to supporters shortly before a group of Republican Senate leaders revealed the allegations of an inappropriate relationship.
Koch later confirmed the allegations were true.
“I regret more than words can express the hurt that I have caused to the people that I love, and to those who have worked and served with me over the past years,” she said in a statement issued a few days before Christmas.
Koch says little about the circumstances surrounding the inappropriate relationship, styling the matter “a personal and private issue.”
“There’s a lot of things to think about and a lot of things to be considered,” she said. “There’s all kinds of things you learn from.”
“You have to keep telling yourself failure is not falling down but refusing to get up,” she said. “And I very much mean that. You come to a point where you have to make a conscious decision on that.”
People have been kind and supportive over the past weeks, Koch explained.
“There’s a long road ahead of me on the personal stuff. And I’m going to keep traveling that road,” she said. “I think it’s important to serve out the term people elected me for.”
So far, no ethics complaint has been filed against Koch in the Senate.
Sen. Barb Goodwin, DFL-Columbia Heights, expressed little interest in seeing one filed.
“I think Amy Koch was a pretty decent majority leader,” Goodwin said recently. “She’s not a malicious person at all.”
Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, speaking at an ECM-Sun/Forum Communications session preview last week, suggested Senate Democrats would not pursue an ethics complaint. “I don’t do piling on,” he said.
Still, Bakk argued that Koch had “tarnished” the reputation of the Senate and he asked for an apology.
Senate Majority Leader David Senjem, R-Rochester, said as far as he was concerned the matter was over.
Senjem replaced Koch as leader in late December.