Minnesota lost a legislator with a kind and passionate heart when Sen. Gary Kubly died Friday. He was both a friend of and a fighter for Granite Falls and rural Minnesota.
Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem was most profound Monday when he said of Kubly simply "We will really miss him."
Raised on a farm near Fort Dodge, Iowa, Kubly stayed true to his rural roots. The majority of his ministerial career, he served at small rural churches in southwest Minnesota and raised his family there with his wife.
Following the tornadoes and flood years in Granite Falls, Kubly stayed focused on getting the state to help the community's recovery.
For the past decade, Kubly has served as senator for District 20, the fifth largest rural district in the state. His Senate constituency was primarily rural prairie farmland, spread across seven counties of west central Minnesota.
In his legislative career, first for six years in a House seat and then in the Senate, Kubly was both an advocate for as well as a defender of rural Minnesota. He knew the rural issues of importance: education, transportation, agriculture and economic development.
Kubly was also a legislator who knew how to put Minnesota and his rural constituents first, before the partisan politics of today. That is an example that more legislators should learn and follow.
Since 2010, Kubly battled the horrible disease amyotropic lateral sclerosis, known as Lou Gehrig's disease. He refused to let it stand in his way, focusing on what he could do to fulfill his legislative duties. He used tools he needed to get the job done -- first a cane and then a walker or first a microphone and then an iPad with a voice app.
His goal remained the same -- to serve his constituency and rural Minnesota.
To his wife and partner, Pat; his three children and his grandchildren, we are sorry for your loss.
West central Minnesota and the rest of the state have been fortunate to have known Gary Kubly, as a legislator, an Air Force veteran, a minister, a friend, a counselor, an adviser, a leader, a teacher, and, most importantly, as a good man.
Sen. Kubly, you served Minnesota well.