After 22 Years Of Service, Rep. Frank Hornstein Won’t Run For Re-Election in 2024

Minnesota State House Representative Frank Hornstein (DFL-Minneapolis), a 22-year veteran of the Minnesota Legislature and a key Jewish political voice in the state, announced on Feb. 16 that he will not run for re-election.

“It was a tough decision, one I’ve thought about for a long time,” Hornstein said. “But we had a great legislative session last year, and it’s important to leave on a high note. My background is in community organizing, and part of that is making way for new leadership.”

In 2023, Minnesota Democrats held the state trifecta – control of the Minnesota House, Senate, and the governor’s office – and with a record budget surplus of $17.5 billion, passed a “bonkers” amount of historic legislation that ranged from codifying abortion access to free school meals for students. Hornstein is especially proud of helping to pass an $8.8 billion transportation bill.

Many Jewish community priorities were also enacted as part of the DFL push, including a bill to mandate Holocaust and genocide education supported by Hornstein, who is the son of Holocaust survivors.

Representing the Jewish community at the Capitol is “a big part of me,” Hornstein said. “I bring that to the work.”

But he emphasized that much of the Jewish legislative voice was also supported by community organizers like Jewish Community Action, which Hornstein co-founded, and the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas.

“The community has a real presence here, and hopefully we’ll be able to continue to have Jewish voices that show up at the Capitol,” he said. “That’s really what matters the most. Whether it’s for senior citizens or feeding programs, people need to continue to show up. Because, in the end, that’s really the most important thing: people participating in the civic process.”

Hornstein isn’t retiring quite yet – he still has another year as a legislator before his replacement takes the oath of office in 2025. In the meantime, he’s focused on 2024, and has no intention of checking out from work just because he doesn’t have to deal with election pressures.

“That is not my style,” Hornstein said. “We have several retirements and, you know, we’re here, we’re elected, we’re here to serve, and we will continue to do that.”

Minnesota Democrats are being less ambitious about their priorities in this year’s legislative session, but there’s still plenty to do. And with yet another high-stakes election in November, Hornstein’s responsibilities also mean supporting other DFL legislators running for office – and helping President Joe Biden remain in office.

“We want to make sure that what we’ve passed [in 2023] is starting to get implemented,” Hornstein said. Later in the year, “we’ve got to make sure that Joe Biden is re-elected president and we keep our [Minnesota House] majority.”

For the moment, Hornstein isn’t talking much about post-retirement plans. Asked what moving on from his 22-year legislative career will look like, he said, “I’ve many interests.”

In some way, shape, or form, Hornstein expects to continue working on issues like transportation, environmental sustainability, and civil rights, even as he prepares to let go of the legislature.

“The great thing about our House DFL caucus is that we have such strong leadership,” Hornstein said. “I know that some of my priorities will continue to be addressed through that… there are always things one can do. But in the end, [leaving] is the right decision.”

Still, he’ll miss the legislative sessions once he retires.

“There’s no question about it, it’s been such a big part of my life,” Hornstein said. “Obviously, I’ll miss it. But there’s also other things besides legislative service.”